Psalm Series Number 3
Scholars believe that when David begins this Psalm by speaking to his widespread trouble, he actually was referring to Absalom who rose up against his father, and who tried to wrest the kingdom from him. Pitiful are these opening words when David wails,
“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me,”
and then continues in verse 2 by noting that his enemies harshly castigate him by saying that not even God can help him.
“There is no help for him in God.”
So much is contained in these two short verses. The deplorable thought of a son who would speak and act against a godly father is a subject that is filled with much pathos and tragedy, and though in the end Absalom came to a bitter death, the hurt expressed here is wrenching. Discouraged and bruised, David moans aloud his rebuke of the troops that have gathered against him.
Are not family hurts and schisms the most grievous of all. Can not our children or our parents or our close friends gash our minds and cause excruciating heart wounds such as can no one else. They who are so dear and precious wield dreadful power of extraordinary injury.
And so David laments.
And then, interestingly, is introduced the word Selah, an expression that is not totally or clearly understood. In the main–though the term probably has to do with a rest in a musical score–the term calls for a break from reading, a space to contemplate what has just been read, a respite, a moment of cogitation, of reflection. The word is used only in the Psalms, and once in the book of Habakkuk.
Verse 3, through the concluding one, note a drastic change in tone, one in which David remembers that God is a “lifter of mine head.” What a tremendous word-picture is that of our Jesus bending over one of us–defeated, enemies around us, maybe bleeding, perhaps mortally wounded–BUT Jesus lifts our head! He restores us, soothes our hurts, wipes our tears, mends the broken places in our hearts.
David snatched himself out of his gloom, and reports being able to sleep, even though the enemy was all about him, having courage restored, and knowing that God had torn apart his enemies, even to the breaking of their teeth!
Love this Psalm, although its early verses are painful.
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