I cry out loud to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain. Psalm 3:4 CEB
Before I say anything about what this passage is about, the application here is simple. Talk to God. He talks back. Stop right now and talk to God. Find enough solitude to wait for answer. It may not be an audible voice (dare I say probably won’t). God’s answers are many and varied. Sometimes God fixes our problems; sometimes God fixes us; sometimes God gives us peace or a new direction, and unfortunately, even for a pastor, sometimes God feels silent. However, at the end of the day our life is about knowing and being known by God, so talk to God… a lot.
This Psalm was written by King David. He had been king of Israel for a long time when his son Absalom decided he shouldn’t be king anymore. Absalom first makes headlines when he kills his half-brother for violating his half-sister, so he’s banished. Then Joab, David’s general, helps he return to Israel, but David won’t see him. Joab won’t return Absalom’s calls either, so Absalom sets his yard on fire. Joab says, “why did you set my yard on fire?” Absalom says, “Because I want to see my dad.” (Absalom may have the least chill in the Bible. He’s also apparently extremely pretty and has heavy hair). So David and Absalom are reunited, relationship restored, kingdom at peace. Until…
Absalom decides that he wants to steal David’s throne. First, he catches people going to seek David for justice and hears their case instead, telling them that David doesn’t care. Then, he goes on tour telling everyone he’s king, makes his way back to David’s original capitol and crowns himself.
Long story short, David and his loyal followers (it helps that his “loyal followers” were almost all of his generals and a bunch of foreign mercenaries who only had allegiance to David) go into hiding. David’s spy gives Absalom bad advice. They fight a battle. David wins. Absalom runs away but gets his beautiful, heavy hair stuck in a tree. While he’s hanging there, Joab, still mad about his azaleas, plays darts with his body.
I tell this bizarre story because it ratchets up the stakes in David’s prayer. He’s praying for God’s protection while he’s running for his life from a kingdom that has turned on him. Then he says something we all need to listen to:
5 I lie down, sleep, and wake up
because the Lord helps me.
6 I won’t be afraid of thousands of people
surrounding me on all sides.
Psalm 3:5-6 Common English Bible (CEB)
We’re in an age of unparalleled amounts of anxiety and fear. David is being chased by an angry army. His son has betrayed him. His kingdom has rejected him, and he’s sleeping easy. So back to the beginning, whatever else you are doing to make it through the day, call on the Lord and let him answer you.