I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. - Psalm 3:5-6
Every night millions of Americans struggle with insomnia. As the minutes stretch into hours, their anxious minds keep them stirred up to a high level of concern… they just lay there and worry: about the election, about the economy, about COVID-19 and the potential of more lock-downs, about their job security, about their possessions, about relationships, about the future, about their sin, about God’s judgment… on and on. Imagination is a wonderful thing, but when anxiety gets hold of it, it can churn out wakeful nightmares. To counter this, some Americans turn to medications, drugging themselves to sleep. Others change their diets or habits. Others wonder if they need a new mattress!
King David turned to the Lord, entrusted his burdens fully to Him, and slept like a baby. This is all the more remarkable given the circumstances of Psalm 3. The Introduction identifies the time and circumstances of his writing: “A Psalm of David—When He Fled from His Son Absalom.” The full account is given in 2 Samuel 15-19. Absalom was David’s favored son, a troubled young man who caused David nothing but grief. He was stunningly handsome with a winsome personality… but he was rebellious to the core. He murdered his half-brother Amnon to avenge Amnon’s violation of Absalom’s sister Tamar. He fled for his life from David, and was estranged from David for a long time. David finally brought him back, but would not see him for two more years. So, to get David’s attention Absalom burned Joab’s fields. David finally was reconciled to Absalom… but then Absalom begin to plot to take David’s throne. He used his good looks and charm to steal the hearts of the Israelites. When the time was right, Absalom called for a revolution and a civil war, seeking to kill David and take his throne.
So, David fled for his life, leaving Jerusalem, perhaps never to return there again. As he fled, he knew that this was all part of God’s judgment on him for his sin with Bathsheba. This is clear from the fact that he humbly accepted a shower of curses, rocks, and dirt from the hateful Shimei. David said to Joab (who wanted to kill Shimei for his disrespect) “The Lord told him to curse, and I will accept it.” So, they went on with this man pelting them every step of the way. Furthermore, when the priests and Levites began to take the ark of the Lord with them from Jerusalem, David humbly replied: "Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again. But if he says, 'I am not pleased with you,' then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him" (2 Samuel 15:25-26).
To me, this was the key to David’s perfect peace: “I am ready—let God do to me whatever seems good to him.” Whether that meant total restoration to the throne or a horrible death at the hands of his enemies, David was ready to accept whatever God ordained. When we are able to entrust every hope and every fear into the wise and loving hands of God, this brings great peace. What is especially amazing is that David could do it even when he knew that he was responsible for bringing this grief on himself through his own sin. That is the hardest time of all to find rest in God’s providence. But David had thoroughly and completely confessed his sins (Psalm 32, Psalm 51), and had found abundant pardon in the Lord’s mercy and Christ’s future sacrifice. If there was some earthly suffering left to endure, even from an army of tens of thousands drawn up on every side led by his rebellious son, David would humbly accept that. He knew he deserved far worse, but he also knew the Lord’s amazing grace. So, he said at another time, “Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for His mercy is great” (2 Samuel 24:14).
"Whether that meant total restoration to the throne or a horrible death at the hands of his enemies, David was ready to accept whatever God ordained."
Long ago I recall when my, at that time, two-year-old son Calvin came to me. He was standing on our bed and started walking. To my amazement, he walked with a happy smile right off the edge of the bed toward me, flinging himself into thin air while obeying my command to come! I recovered quickly enough to catch him and no harm was done. But I reflected on the reckless abandon of Calvin’s total confidence in me. David was the same way, able to throw himself totally into God’s arms and let Him do whatever seemed best to Him. He laid down to sleep, totally vulnerable with an army hotly pursuing him… and he slept like a baby.
What about you? Can you trust God’s wise choice of the outcome of today’s election? Can you trust God to do what is best, even if it means sharp and lasting trials for you? Even if it means severe chastisements for sin? Even if it means disappointment? If so, you will sleep in confidence, just like David.