David was God’s anointed king. He had many enemies. Even his own son Absalom wanted to kill him. You can find the history in 2 Samuel. Absalom was the second born of all David’s sons. His older brother Ammon had raped his sister Tamar and Absalom got his revenge by inviting all his brothers to a feast then killing Ammon once he was drunk. After a three year exile to his mother’s family, he returned to Jerusalem but as unable to see his father. After repeated attempts though Absalom regained access to David the king, whom he now bitterly hated. Absalom decided he was going to be king, regardless of the fact that Solomon had been prophesied and chosen to be the next king. Absalom’s revolt was successful, the people turned to him, even though David was still alive. And David and his entire household, his servants and those still devoted to him fled, in grief and mourning to save their lives. This Psalm was written about that time. Verses 1-4 read,
“O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
2 many are saying of my soul,
there is no salvation for him in God. Selah
3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
4 I cried aloud to the Lord,
and he answered me from his holy hill.”
David, the rightful king of Israel had about 500 men with him, but Absalom had the rest of the army, about 12,000 men and many people who had been duped into believing him and following him. But David didn’t need a vast army, he had God, The Lord of Hosts. David called out to The Lord and knew without doubt that his Lord The Almighty heard him.
We too have many enemies in this world. Some hate us for no real reason, others hate us because they blame us for all the perceived wrongs of the church and Christendom. Some hate us because we wronged them. But most have been duped by the prince of the power of the air, Satan. They follow him as king and lord instead of The King of kings, The LORD.
But we have nothing to fear. We don’t have to fight them. They are not our enemy. The Lord our God has us in His protection. He is a shield surrounding us. He is our triumph. All we ever have to do is ask Him and in our faith, He is our Succor, our Strong Tower, our Rock, and our Peace. We do’t even have to ask, just trust that He is I Am.
David fled from Absalom rather than fight him. He trusted God. He knew God’s promises regarding himself and Solomon. He trusted His Lord so much that he could lay down and sleep in a cave while an army led by his vengeful acrimonious son sought to murder him. Verses 5-7 describe it.
“I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
7 Arise, O Lord!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.”
We have nothing to fear from the enemy or any of his subjects. The children of wrath may hate us and may strike out to harm us. The minions of the devil may try to ensnare us, but they can’t touch us. We’ve already won the war. We are still in the battle. The battle is not for ourselves but to free the prisoners of war who are ignorantly in bondage to our enemy. We are invulnerable to him and his attacks. 1 John 5:1-19 reminds us,
“We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.
19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
David knew this. He exhibited the humility of the Lord in his submission to The Lord’s authority, while his son consistently showed his pride in himself, his charm and his good looks. Eventually Absalom’s huge army and David’s small one came to battle in the forest at Ephraim. Although it should have been an easy win for Absalom’s men, he fled in terror on a donkey. His long hair, the symbol of his arrogance got caught up in the branches of a tree. He remained stuck in the tree until Joab, the leader of David’s army had him executed. The battle ended and soon after David was restored to his throne.
David mourned his son, prayed for his soul and forgave the armies and Amasa their leader for their treason. He even gave Amasa, Joab’s position. It was David’s faith in God, his heart for God that allowed him to forgive so completely. Even his once enemies now swore their allegiance to him. He could have been vindictive. He could have put Amasa to death and not punished Joab. If he had done that, none of the once devoted to Absalom would have sworn allegiance to David. Because of David’s mercy they devoted themselves to him. But Joab knew his king’s heart and killed Absalom anyway. He followed his will rather than the king’s. He had to be disciplined for his wrongdoing. Amasa on the other hand didn’t know the king’s heart and in his ignorance followed his leader faithfully. The king forgave him and gave him an honored place in his army.
Remember The Lord’s heart for His creation. He doesn’t want us to avenge Him. He wants them to come to Him. He wants them to know Him and be with Him. God longs for them to know His salvation. How can they know it if we don’t tell them? How can they experience the love of God if we don’t show them? We can live out the joy and love of grace and make disciples for our Father. Verse 8 reads,
“Salvation belongs to the Lord;
your blessing be on your people!”