A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son.
LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah Psalm 3:1-2 (NKJV)
When you read through the Psalms you notice that Psalm 3 is the first psalm that gives us a historical reference. We are told at the top that this is a psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son. This tells us quite a bit about the situation in which this psalm was written. The story of Absalom’s rebellion is starts in 2 Samuel 15. If you remember the story Absalom slowly but surely steals away the hearts of the people of Israel until he finally feels bold enough to go to Hebron and have himself declared as king. When David hears about it he hastily escapes from Jerusalem. This rebellion goes on for a couple of chapters until finally Absalom is killed and the rebellion is crushed.
It was at some point during this rebellion that this psalm was written. We aren’t told at what exact point the psalm was written but because of the way it ends I tend to believe it was written early on in the rebellion. As we read this psalm there are two things we immediately recognize. One is that David is going through a trial. The other is that David says that God is a shield for him. Here we see the tension I mentioned yesterday. If God is my shield, shouldn’t that mean that He will protect me from trials, tribulations and conflict? The answer to that question is no.
Absolutely nowhere in Scripture are we promised that God will protect us from trials. Instead what we find in this passage that is the consistent testimony of Scripture is that God protects us in the trials.
With that thought in our minds, we have to understand that trials, tribulations and conflicts are absolutely an inevitable part of life for each and every person on the earth. Trials, tribulations and conflicts are inevitable for those who life wholeheartedly for Jesus and they are inevitable for those who wholeheartedly rebel against Jesus.
David says that those who troubled him were increasing. The rebellion that had started with Absalom had gained followers. By the time Absalom had the courage to have himself declared king there were already a fair number of people who had decided to follow him. Once David fled the city even more decided to follow him. Among this number were David’s advisor Ahithophel and apparently a large number of the army. Then there were the common people who had decided to harass David. Remember that when David fled Jerusalem he was met by a man of the house of Saul who cursed at David as he rode by. The longer the rebellion went on the more people turned on David. Have you noticed that people like to kick others when they are down? Yeah, that’s what we see here.
We also see that they are basically saying that God had abandoned David and wouldn’t help him any longer. They were basically saying that David’s trial was proof that he wasn’t in God’s will. They were saying that that obviously if David had been doing what he was supposed to be doing and living as he was supposed to be living these things wouldn’t be going on. They were saying that God had given up on David and wouldn’t help him this time. In a way they were saying that God had taken His hand of blessing off of David’s kingship and David might as well move on and let Absalom take over.
Were these statements true?
Was this trial God’s way of telling David He wasn’t pleased with David?
Was this trial God’s way of saying He’d given up on David?
Was this trial God’s way of telling David it was time to quit?
Absolutely not! I believe it is critically important for us to understand that trials, hardships and conflict WILL come into our lives. There are no exceptions to this truth. You can be right in the center of God’s will, doing exactly what He wants you to do, in exactly the way you want it done and living exactly the way He wants you to live and trials will still come into your life.
Think about the story of Job.
Was Job living the way God wanted him to live? According to Job 1:8 and 2:3, the answer to that question is yes.
Did Job suffer through a trial, hardship or conflict? If you consider suffering the loss of your all your wealth and the death of your 10 children in one day and then a couple of days later coming down with a disease that causes you to have oozing boils from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet a trial, hardship or conflict, then yeah he did.
Why did these sorts of things happen to David, Job, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Paul and pretty much everyone else in Scripture? It’s because trials, tribulations and conflicts are absolutely an inevitable part of life for each and every person on the earth. That God is our shield does not mean that God will protect us from trials, tribulations and conflicts. It means that God will protect us in trials, tribulations and conflicts.
For further study read Acts 16:6-24.
Where did Paul want to go?
Why couldn’t he go there?
Why did Paul end up in Philippi?
What happened to Paul in Philippi?
Is there any legitimate way to say that Paul was out of God’s will?
What can you learn from this about trials, tribulations and conflicts?