This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.
Meditation on Psalm 3: 3-5
But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. I laid me down and slept; I awakened; for the LORD sustained me.
What storms or trials are you going through? This is a Psalm of David when he was forced to flee from Jerusalem for his life. David’s son, Absalom, had raised an army to kill him. David complained of the multitude of his enemies. In II Samuel 15: 12, we read “The conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.” It was not only was his son in rebellion, but even Ahithophel , one of David’s faithful counsellors joined the rebellion along with generals and soldiers of his army.
But, it was not only men that opposed David. Satan was seeking to prevent the house of David to progress to its fulfilment in the throne of Christ. For we know that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Not only was David fleeing from his son, but he was also fleeing into exile from the presence of God. The Levites brought the ark of the covenant out to follow David into exile, but David told the high priest: “Carry the ark of God back into the city: if I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me back and show me both it and his dwelling habitation. But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him” (II Sam. 15:25,26).
In verse 2, David complained, “Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God.” What an attack! These enemies declared that God has forsaken David! Shemei cursed him and swore at him to his face. David knew that his troubles were partly because of his sins with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah. Trouble followed him in his family. Doubtless, all the storms, crosses, and trials of life would be even more bitter if there is no help from God!
How might we respond under similar circumstances? Would we abandon all hope? To whom would we turn? In verses 3-4 we find that David lost neither heart nor faith in his covenant God. David called the Lord his “shield”, the one who surrounded him. He also called God his “glory”, the one who lifted his head. In David’s desperation, he cried out to the Lord and He answered him “from his holy hill”. This is an amazing series of statements. In the OT, God’s people knew and experienced God’s presence by being in close proximity to the tabernacle. To draw near to the Lord meant to draw near the tabernacle. But David could not do this, He was in exile. Yet, while David was in exile from God’s presence in the tabernacle, God continued to make His presence known. He was with David and answered David’s pleas. David was able to lay down and sleep (vs. 5). He was not afraid of ten thousands of people (vs. 6). The Lord would arise and defeat his enemies. The Lord gave him the perfect peace that surpassed all understanding and comforted him with His presence. “Salvation belongeth unto the LORD; thy blessing is upon thy people” (vs. 8).
We must see in King David the type. It was Jesus Christ who was forced into exile. Unlike David, He was exiled not because of His own sin, but as He stood in the place of us and our sins. He left the glory of heaven to come down into our sinful world. Bearing our sins, He cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.” He was crucified outside the camp, exiled from the benevolent presence of His heavenly Father. His enemies taunted him, “He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God” (Matt. 27: 43). Even the thieves who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing. But our Lord Jesus had the confidence that His Father is a shield for him, his glory, and would lift Him out of hell on the third day.
In what way is David’s flight connected to the church? We have many enemies who taunt us and persecute us. When we are in need of rescue, we can only turn to our faithful covenant God, even when it appears as if He has abandoned us and we are surrounded by our foes. Pray this psalm when you feel as though the enemies of God surround you. Pray this psalm for the persecuted church today. Seek shelter in the knowledge that the Christ has lived, suffered, died, and undergone exile from the benevolent presence of God so that we will not know this judgment. Sing this psalm as a song of praise as we celebrate the mercy and love of Christ and His righteous judgment against the wicked. He will smite all our enemies upon the check bone and break the teeth of the ungodly. Do not lose heart. As David had confidence and peace in face of trials, may we also! Pray like David that God will comfort you through Christ and the presence of His Holy Spirit. No matter what storms might swirl around you, you will know peace and rest. Rejoice, for salvation belongs to the Lord and His anointed. Indeed, blessing be upon us, the people of God.
Rev. Audred Spriensma (Wife: Alva)
Ordained: January 1981
Pastorates: Atwood, MI CRC - 1981; Bethany, S.Holland, IL CRC - 1984; Grandville, MI - 1992; Missionary to the Philippines - 2002; Kalamazoo, MI - 2007; Byron Center, MI - 2010; Home missionary (Byron Center PRC), 2017Website: www.prca.org/missions/domestic
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