From time to time growing up I found myself in some amount of trouble, often of my own making.Back in Jr. High when I was in grade 8 I managed to get myself in trouble with most of the school. In one of my classrooms they stored on the shelf behind my desk a special kind of sticker. They were the seals that the placed on students awards at the end of the year. Some were academic, some athletic, and some for other activities. But they were all there.
I am not sure why they caught my eye one day but they did. So I helped myself to a few, then a few more, and a few more still. Over the course of a few weeks I became a bit of a sticker dealer. I would sang a few each class and others wanted them.
Some people stuck them on their lockers, some on their binders, some crafted pogs. I was hardly a criminal mastermind so it didn’t take too long before the staff started seeing all of these stickers everywhere. Once they put two and two together I ended up in a fair amount of trouble with the school and at home.
But the worst came during our end of the year awards. Our little thieving ring managed to use up pretty much all of the stickers and most awards instead of having a nice seal indicating the achievement for the student most had a small handwritten note saying ‘hockey’ or ‘drama club’ I wasn’t overly popular at that award show.
Psalm 3 was written when David was in trouble. He may have been a good king, a god warrior and a good poet, but he was a lousy dad. His oldest son Ammon, lusted after and finally raped his half-sister Tamer. Enraged by his father’s inaction Absalom murdered Ammon, and then fled the country. A few years later he returned and then shortly after that he staged a coup d’etat.
This Psalm was composed while David was still fleeing, and while by all accounts it appeared like Absalom had won and David would be killed.This is not a Psalm that proclaims after the fact that God delivers but it is one that proclaims in the face of real and serious trouble that God will provide. It declares that God is in control.
This Psalm is referred to as the ‘morning hymn’. It gets that name because of this line, ‘I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.’
In David’s case he quite literally had tens of thousands of people against him. Much of his army, and advisors had betrayed him. I don’t think I have ever had even a thousand people after me, and truth be told I would like to keep it that way. I suspect you haven’t either. BUT I also suspect at some point you really did feel like the whole world was stacked against you, that there were less people in your corner then in the other corner. I know there have been times when a really felt like my problems would swallow me whole.
When I feel that way I have a difficult time sleeping. Sleep comes when I am at peace, at rest and feeling safe. It does not come when the whole world seems against me. And yet it came to David. God granted him rest even in the midst of struggle.
David’s foes tried to tell him that God was not with him, but David didn’t buy it. He knew God was with him each day and every night. He raised his voice to God and gave him his troubles and his concerns. And God gave David back rest and peace. This is something that we all can learn to do as well. God will grant us his peace, and his rest even in times of trouble. Even when the deck is stacked against us, and we are not sure how we will make it.
This post is a somewhat edited sermon from our 6pm-6:30pm express evening service. During the month of September we are having a month of Wisdom by studying the book of Proverbs in the morning and the book of Psalms at night.