December 21, 2021
Scripture: Then the king said to Zadok, “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 let me see both it and his dwelling place. But if he says, ‘I have no pleasure in you,’’behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him.” 2 Samuel 15:25-26 ESV
Observation: In the aftermath of David committing adultery with Bathsheba and murdering her husband, Nathan predicted strife would arise within David’s household. Indeed, it did when Absalom, furious with his father for failing to protect his sister, Tamar (when raped by her half-brother, Amnon), sought to overthrow his father’s kingdom—even at the expense of David’s life. So David and his loyal subjects fled Jerusalem to seek refuge across the Jordan. One such loyalist, Zadock, with good intention, removed the ark of God from its rightful place in the tabernacle, thinking that it (and the blessing it brings) should go with his king. But David wisely understood that his salvation comes only from the Lord. Moreover, David remained at peace with the possibility that Yahweh may not rescue him from his enemies.
When he fled from his son, David scribed Psalm 3 to his Lord—his only means of salvation. Disregarding naysayers who contended that God would not save him (verse 2), David declares that the Lord is a shield about him who lifts up his once downtrodden head and answers his cries (verses 3-5). Hence, he soundly sleeps because he is not afraid of his enemies who press in on him (verses 5-6). Finally, David contends that salvation belongs to God and thus seeks his blessings on the people (verse 8).
Takeaway: David’s confidence in the Lord’s salvation does not carry with it an expectation of how Yahweh may choose to act. Salvation had already come to David: God had rescued David’s soul from the ultimate enemy: sin. No doubt, David also remembered Nathan’s prophetic words: “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die” (2 Samuel 12:13). Now, in this life-threatening moment, David finds rest for his soul—knowing that his temporal life on earth is in God’s hands. And he likely recalled how Yahweh had repeatedly delivered him from King Saul’s murderous pursuits.
When others (even family members) seek revenge on us (whether or not we are at fault), we, too, need to remember how God has rescued us in past trouble. We would also do well to seek encouragement and comfort from God’s word, such as Psalm 3, and the community of believers. Moreover, if we solely focus on the present conflict, we will miss the joy of what awaits us for eternity: intimate and ecstatic communion with our Creator and Lover. And when we turn our focus outward and upward, seeking God’s blessings on his people (even those misguided in attacking us), we will find rest for our souls here and now.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your Son who has rescued us from the real enemy: sin. When we face life-threatening situations (whether from others or disease), would you please help us refocus on you and your track record of salvific acts with the aid of your Word and the support of fellow believers? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling