Short Meditations in Psalms: 3.7 Yet I need help
Psa 3:7 Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.
We have just seen David’s declaration of faith. Such a declaration of faith is not then annulled by a request for help but the request for help comes out of and is an expression of his confidence in God. That confidence now shows itself as an assurance that he can ask the Lord for things and expect them to come about.
Now for us today, unless we find ourselves in a ‘Just War’ defending ourselves against the literal, physical attacks of the ungodly, we are not going to be praying like David. Jesus taught us, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Mt 5:44).
David however is in a physical war, being hounded by his son, Absalom, and the fighting will be physical and thus his requests are in the same terms. The verse starts with typical Hebrew parallelism. When he first says, “Arise, O LORD!”, he is implying rise up and take action on my behalf Lord. Thus when he says, “Deliver me, O my God!”, He is saying the same thing except using different words. Note also he starts with the covenant name, “I AM” and then uses the more general “my God” There is within these names the implication of first, ‘the Eternal One’ and then the one who is over all things.
The Lord is the one David had known throughout his life, the one who was with him as a shepherd boy and helped him ward off predators, the one who fought with him to bring down Goliath, the one who was with him giving him success in Saul’s army, the one who protected him while he was on the run from Saul, the one who made him king first of Judah and then of all Israel, the one who gave him success as that king, the one who chided him for his failure with Bathsheba, and the one who was disciplining him now.
Oh yes, he was aware of what was happening and why but that doesn’t stop him coming to the Lord in confidence. He knows – as we should – that one failure is not going to keep us from God’s love, protection and provision. Yes, he may have failed the Lord, and he is under the Lord’s disciplining to humble him but that doesn’t debar him from a relationship with the Lord.
Now this is a powerful lesson when we have failed the Lord. He doesn’t write us off and He doesn’t want us to stop acting like His children. For David, even though he knows these things are God’s discipline that doesn’t stop him asking the Lord to act on his behalf in a way that is tantamount to relief from that discipline. He knows this is the righteous course for what Absalom is doing is in fact unrighteous. Therefore, even in the midst of discipline he can ask for change: “Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.” Change this Lord!