“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3, ESV
There will come a time in your life when there will be no one there to contend for you. Whether it is personal failure, loss of status, or loss of employment you will come to a spot where you realize that there is nothing there to define for you who you are other than God. It is at those points that you will have one thing left to remember: God contends for you. He defends you. He is your refuge.
At this point in his life David has heard and done great things but experienced horror after horror. Samuel had anointed him king and he had killed Goliath. He had married the daughter of the king and his career path was set. He was ready to ascend to the thrown. This is not what the Lord had planned for him. Just as David got to the top of his professional career he had to flee. He left his wife, his home, and his path.
He had nothing left except God. Depression probably plagued him. His mood swings are evident through the Psalms. He had gotten it all taken away from him. Now David was not perfect, but he did not necessarily deserve what he got. King Saul grew jealous and tried to have him killed. He simply had to run away from everything.
In our lives we run into ruts, problems, devastation and carnage. Some of us bear the wounds of going to war, some of us bear the wounds of abuse, some of us bear the scars of continued sin. Let the scripture offer you a cool drink and a place to rest. Let scripture minister to you with Psalm 3:5 “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.” Again with Psalm 3:8 “Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people.” Sit under the ministry of Psalm 3:4 “I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill.”
God acknowledged David’s foes. The Lord led David in the wilderness. The Lord did not abandon David and David grew threw his experience in the wilderness. If you are a Christian and you are reading this know this: the Lord is contending for you. He is defending you. He is providing for you. He is with you. If you are not a Christian know that your despair is no longer warranted. Repent of your sin and humbly come to Christ and you will be saved. The blood of Christ leads us to God who does not abandon, give up, or give in. The Lord is steadfast in defending his children.
May you find peace in Christ,
The enemies of the Lord rage and they do so in vain. David was probably writing about a literal enemy, however the enemies of the Lord include all of those who would want to distort God’s gospel. These people are not necessarily held in derision by the Lord, they just labor in vain. The Lord laughs at their feeble efforts to crush him. Imagine a single electron who got the idea to kill an elephant. Such an effort would be in vain. That electron could do no more to injure the elephant than you or I could do to injure or hurt God. Let this be a warning to those of us who are headed into stations of leadership and responsibility: the Lord holds in derision those who try to destroy him or his church and he pours his wrath out on them.
When David wrote Psalm 2 chances are that he was talking about a specific enemy. Whether it be the house of Saul, the nations around Israel, or even in his own house there were many people who wanted to see the mission of the Lord stopped. God laughs at them according to verse four. The will of the Lord is accomplished no matter what. Those who try to thwart his will ultimately become a part of it by giving him glory in feeling his wrath over sin. God has made his decision, his will is set, his king is decided.
David was the king referenced in verse six, but there was a greater king who came. Jesus came in the line of David to fulfill what the house of David could not do. This was achieving glory for the nation of Israel. Such glory was given to the son from the Father after the Son lived the perfect life, was crucified, and rose on the third day. Now those who try to stop the mission of Christ are laughed at by God. The early church was persecuted, and because they were persecuted they dispersed, and because they dispersed more people heard the word and were saved. God got the last laugh.
Psalm 2 ends in a warning:
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
(Psalm 2:10-12 ESV)
Those of you who are young and are deciding what to do with your life understand this: those who try to attack the mission of God are laughed at, held in derision, and then put under wrath. Come to God in humility, repent of sin, and take refuge in him.
The authority of scripture goes beyond other religious texts. It’s not just that the Bible is more authoritative than the Quran or book of Mormon. Rather the law of God, as revealed in scripture, is more authoritative than those we talk to, associate with, and go to for advice. The law of God is a standard of grace which offers us a greater way of understanding. It also offers us something you can’t mine from anywhere else in the world: righteousness. For all the great things that the world has it cannot offer us righteousness.
Let me ask you something: under what circumstances have people come back to life? Has it been because of their great wealth? Has it been because of their scientific knowledge? Has it been because of their great families? What brings men from death to life? Truly there is only one man who has walked this earth who has controlled the realm of life and death. This man is Jesus Christ. He followed the law of God in every way and was counted as righteous and he was given righteousness.
Psalm 1 is a celebration of this fact:
(The righteous man) is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
(Psalm 1:3-4 ESV)
The wicked cannot face the judgment of God and in the end their ways lead to death. Consider today what kind of sins we are allowing to control our lives. In what ways do we listen to the wicked counsel of the world? How do we neglect the law in pursuit of the ways of this world. This is the greatest part about Christianity: you will not be able to keep up constantly with the law (which leads to life). Christ already did that. The life of the Christian is spent keeping the law out of love for Christ, repenting of sin, and rejoicing in the glory of the completed work of Jesus on the cross.