“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me; my glory and the lifter up of my head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice and He heard me out of His Holy Hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awoke—for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about.”
Truly, in Christ “there is no mattress as firm as the promises of God and no pillow as soft as the arms of Jesus.”
A fugitive. Man-on-the-run. Runnin’ for his life.
That’s what David was that day when he penned the lyrics for today’s Manna. His own son, Absalom, was trying to take the kingdom by force. He was very handsome, with long, flowing hair (II Sam. 14:25-26) and quite charming in personality; consequently, he was very popular with the people.
After having his half-brother, Ammon, murdered by his servants for raping his sister, Tamar (II Sam. 13:1-22), Absalom fled into exile for three years, staying with his grandfather, Talmai (II Sam. 13:37-38). Yet, David loved his son and longed for his return (II Sam. 13:39), which he did. However, instead of showing gratitude to his father, the arrogant Absalom secretly plotted a revolt against the throne. He began sowing discontent among the people, telling them he could rule the kingdom better than his aging father.
So, he went to Hebron under the guise of going to worship and invited those favorable to him to meet him there (II Sam. 15:7-11). And, after gathering potential warriors he enlisted the aid of Ahithophel, a disloyal official of David, as his own aide and advisor (II Sam. 15:12). Soon, David fled Jerusalem (II Sam. 17:24) and his rebellious son entered, took possession of his father’s harem and was formally anointed the new king (II Sam. 19:10).
It was during his time in hiding that David composed this somber psalm unto the Lord. In it he reminded himself (and us) that the God of Abraham will always be our “shield and glory and the one who uplifts our head when we’re cast down.” Even though there may be many who “rise up against us and say ‘There is no help for him/her in God’” (vv.1-2), our all-seeing God always hears our cry and will come to our aid.
Even in the midst of adversity, He will still enable us to “lie down at night and sleep because He will sustain (Heb. ‘camak’—‘to prop up, lean upon, take hold of, establish, hold fast, etc.’) us.” And, even though we be surrounded by a seemingly insurmountable number of “enemies” (literal or figurative, real or perceived), we still shall not fear—for our Good Shepherd will even there “prepare for us a table in the presence of our enemies as He anoints our head with oil and causes our cup of joy to overflow” (Ps. 23:5). Hallelujah!!
Oh, dear Pilgrim, there’s no better “sedative for a sorrowing soul” than the Presence of the Risen Lord and the security of His unfailing Promises. Truly, He is our firm Rock in the storm (Mt. 7:24-27) and “sure and steadfast Anchor” (Heb. 6:17-20) that will hold us steady when it seems like everything and everyone is against us. Why not spend a few minutes right now resting in Him and rejoicing over this Blessed Assurance?
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated July 5, 2010