October 08 2022
Today, Saturday October 08
Preparation for Conflict
Give ear to my words, O LORD, Consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will pray. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up.
For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You. The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple. Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; Make Your way straight before my face.
For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; Their inward part is destruction; Their throat is an open tomb; They flatter with their tongue. Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, For they have rebelled against You.
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.
What has helped me profit from my daily reading in the Psalms over the years has been to take a few minutes to try to find out who wrote the Psalm, what were the circumstances behind it and if possible, to find out what Old Testament passage is the Psalm related to. As we take time to do this in these daily devotions on our Pastor Chats, I trust it will be of great benefit to you also.
We are pretty sure that Psalms 3, 4, and 5 stand together in the Hebrew hymnbook and were written by King David as he was fleeing from the insurrection that his son Absalom had risen against him. The Old Testament passage behind them is 2 Samuel 15-18. Psalm 3 is evidently a morning prayer, Psalm 4 an evening prayer, and Psalm 5 another morning prayer. Possibly they were written in that order, one right after the other.
There seems no doubt that all three relate to the time of Absalom's rebellion. Psalm 3 clearly seems to come first. Psalm 5 seems to have been written later because in Psalm 4 David was pleading, as it were, with the rebels, but in Psalm 5 he is pleading against them, realizing his foes are determined to pursue their rebellion to the bitter end.
The possible sequence of these psalms could be as follows: David, having left Jerusalem under cover of the night, had conveyed his people across the Jordan and had marched hard all day toward the north to put distance between himself and his foes. Then, worn out and exhausted, he had flung himself down and slept for the first time in many hours. He awoke refreshed and wrote Psalm 3.
The next day was spent in crossing the Jabbok and continuing northward to Mahanaim, where David hoped to win to his side his mountain clansmen. David knew only too well what a desperate battle lay ahead. That evening he wrote Psalm 4 acknowledging God's goodness and provision.
The next morning David wrote Psalm 5. He was going forth to face a treacherous and powerful army and he prepared himself for such a day of conflict and battle with prayer (Psalm 5:1-2). The psalm should speak to our own hearts because in a very real sense, we all face temptations, trials, danger, and conflict every day when we wake up. Jesus taught us to pray in the model prayer, “Give us this day….. and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one….” (Matthew 6:11-13).
May the Lord give us wisdom and grace each morning to make preparation for the conflict and challenges that we will face that day. The greatest danger we all face each day is to think that we will not face any danger!