Monday, January 10, 2022

Praying with Confidence (Psalm 3)

"But you, O LORD, are a shield for me, my Glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the LORD with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill." (Psalm 3:3–4)

The circumstance that prompted the writing of Psalm 3 was the rebellion of David’s son Absalom. Absalom led a conspiracy to overthrow David and secure the throne for himself. He conspired not only against his father but against God. Power and ambition drove Absalom to rebellion.

As any parent can understand, David grieved over Absalom’s wickedness. Yet his heart was troubled not only by his son’s treachery but because David knew this was the consequence of his own sin. Not all of our troubles are direct consequences of our own sins, but many are. David knew that the division in his household came because of his own rebellion against God when he took another man’s wife and shed innocent blood.

Though David knew he was suffering the consequences of his sin, he did not wallow in self-pity or refrain from approaching God. David humbly accepted responsibility for what happened. After humbling himself before God, he confidently asked God to deliver him from his enemies. David knew Absalom acted wickedly against God, so he prayed for the Lord’s vindication. David had no fear of approaching God, for he had confessed his sin and received forgiveness.

Calvin said: “In like manner, if at any time God makes use of wicked and mischievous men, as scourges to chastise us, it becomes us first diligently to consider the cause, namely, that we suffer nothing which we have not deserved, in order that this reflection may lead us to repentance. But if our enemies, in persecuting us, rather fight against God than against us, let the consideration of their doing so be immediately followed by the confident persuasion of our safety under the protection of him, whose grace, which he hath promised to us, they despise and trample under foot.”

David’s enemies taunted him that God had deserted him, but David knew God remained with him. He knew that true victory and peace only come from the Lord, so he lifted his prayers to heaven. When we look to God for forgiveness, we find peace. No anxiety plagues us, no troubled thoughts disturb our sleep, and no fears drive us to doubt our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

It is not always appropriate to expect deliverance from the temporal consequences of our sins (for example, a prison term for murder). But when you are suffering consequences for your sin, what is your response to God? What points have you learned from today’s lesson that will help you deal with such situations in the future?