Short Meditations in Psalms: 3.1 Life can be tough
Psa 3:1 O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!
We return to the psalms. I suspect there is a spectrum of human experience in which ‘other people’ as part of our lives create an ambience or environment or surrounding (I struggle for the right word) that leaves us feeling either good or bad. I observe some families where everything is totally peace and harmony; they are all placid and easy going and the rest of the world treats them accordingly. They seem to sail through a life that is calm and the sun shines down on them and they go into eternity as quietly and placidly as the rest of their life had been. But they are few and far between!
Five hundred years ago you could lead a fairly isolated life but today, with hustle and bustle and comings and goings and expectations on life – and social media – it is a life of interaction. You can try and avoid the unpleasant people and it may only be the threat of the noisy louts on the street corner that upset your general quiet enjoyment of life. You can tolerate the bad manners of the girl on the local store check-out and the people who dash along the pavement giving way to no one. Most of the time you can avoid confrontation and hostility.
Unless you are at school and have to contend with bullies. Or unless you find at the school gates, while you wait to collect your child, an offensive loud mouthed single mum (“she’s bound to be!”) who either makes you embarrassed by her coarseness or even her snide comments that obviously come your way about ‘posh mums with flashy buggies’. Or unless there is competition in the office for promotion and the knives are clearly out and you are a potential victim to gossip, slander and innuendo and the war to demean all other contenders. Or unless there is the noisy neighbour who either looks down on you or sniggers at your religiosity as they see it. Or perhaps you are just good and that seems to attract hostility. Or maybe it is the fact that you have let it be known that you are a Christian and there are those who either feel defensive or just downright hostile about such people.
Or maybe there has been a family row and it has somehow turned bitter. This psalm is attributed to David, “When he fled from his son Absalom.” (Heading). He allowed his family circumstances to get out of hand and the result is that Absalom has got public opinion on his side and is ousting his father from the throne, and so he is on the run.
At such times it feels like everyone is against you – how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! The truth is that it is not everyone, but it feels like that. It calls for a readjusting of your perspective for often it is just one or even a few – and you have God!