“I lay down and slept”
Have you ever been through a rough patch in life, and it got so bad that you did not know whether or not you would make it through the night? Anywhere you turned was a dead end and it seemed as if the whole world was against you? Have you ever prayed for peace in the midst of the storm, but it never arrived? Well, today in this Psalm we will learn how King David received this peace and got through his ordeal.
To start with, the title of the Psalm gives us the setting. King David, his family, his officials, and his inner circle had been forced to flee because a coup d’etat had just taken place in the kingdom. His most trusted advisors turned against him. His soldiers deserted him. The mastermind behind the whole coup d’etat was Ahithophel the Gilonite, who conspired with Absalom, Kind David’s firstborn. David had Ahithophel’s son, Orion, mercilessly murdered to cover for his adulterous affair with his wife Bathsheba which resulted in Bathsheba becoming pregnant. Now it was Ahithophel’s time for revenge. The final blow was that Absalom, his own flesh and blood, his first-born, was the leader of this treason. David was at the lowest point in his life.
King David’s Troubles
David begins in verses 1-2 by stating the condition that he is in. He knows what the enemy is thinking and He lets God know it too. It’s not that God doesn’t know what David is going through, or what the enemy is saying about David’s future, but David is having a discussion with his God, and pouring out his heart to him. “Lord,” says David, “They are saying that You will not help me.” The questions, I believe, that are lingering in David’s heart are “Has God deserted me?” and “Will he not come through for me?”
King David clearly shows that he has humbled himself before God as he tells Zadok the priest to return with the Ark back to the Temple. He tells Zadok that if God finds favor with him, he will allow him to return to the city and worship him in the temple. But if God is not pleased with him, then he will graciously accept whatever punishment God gives him, including death, because God is good, and just, and merciful too. (2 Samuel 15:25-26).
It is onto that mercy that David throws himself. He makes no presumptions, but he throws himself entirely on the goodness and mercy of God. He prayed to God to spare the child born out of the adulterous affair with Bathsheba. God answered his pleas with an emphatic “No”. When the child died, he made his peace with God. In Psalm 51, David outlines the process of repentance and restoration, and what he resolved to do upon being restored to God. Here he is again ready to accept any more punishment from God. Even though he is surrounded by numerous foes, both visible and invisible, he still has his confidence in God.
In Verses 3-4 David shows his confidence in the Lord and his complete and utter dependence upon Him. Even though David is vastly outnumbered, He calls God his shield and he calls out to God. And the God who hears the cry of His people responds. David knew that God heard his pleas. Things were still bleak, he was still on the run, it was dark and cold. He had been walking barefoot with his head covered because of the depth of his sorrow. The devil most probably had let his hell hounds loose on David’s conscious too. But David was confident that God heard his cries. The Bible says that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. God commands us to humble ourselves in his sight and he will lift us up. (James 4:7-10). David humbled himself before God, and God lifted him up.
Peace in the Storm
In verses 5-6 we can now understand why David was able to sleep peacefully. It was not the removal of the situation or an end to the conflict. The night of his life would still go on for the next few days. But David had repented, and cried out to God, looked nowhere else for help but from God, and humbled himself before Him. Therefore he could sleep in the midst of the storm. Even while he slept, he clearly acknowledges that it is God who sustains him and keeps him through the night. Waking or sleeping, David knows that he is in God’s hands.
When David woke up from his sleep the next day, he was even more confident that God would fight on his behalf. Last night, God had answered his prayer and made Ahitphel’s advice to naught. He had received guidance on how to preserve his life along with all who were with him. They had moved on to safety. The next day they mustered up their strength and organized for battle. David knows, that God is on his side and he asks only one request. “Please”, he says, “for my sake be gentle with the young man Absalom.” (2 Samuel 18:5)
In verse 7 David cries out to God to save him with expectation. He knows that God will come through for him. His enemies are going to be humiliated and utterly destroyed. God is on his side. In verse 8 he finishes off with a statement that shows us how he understands God.
Salvation belongs to the Lord. He alone can save. It is not up to the futile attempts of man. It is only He who can save. Click To Tweet
Salvation belongs to the Lord.
Your blessing is upon Your people. SelahPsalm 3:8
God still hears today
In the New Testament, thousands of years later, with a small band of disciples, Jesus would cross the Brook Kedron and go up to the Garden of Gethsemane, to pray and wrestle on our behalf. Even though it was a mighty battle that night, God got Him through it. Jesus knows what it is like to go through a battle. He can help us get through our battles and gain victory. Let us then take this lesson to heart and apply it to our lives, for God truly resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.
Let me know how God helped you through a storm in the comments below.