O LORD, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
 many are saying of my soul,
“There is no salvation for him in God.”
 But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
 I cried aloud to the LORD,
and he answered me from his holy hill.
 I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
 Arise, O LORD!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
 Salvation belongs to the LORD;
your blessing be on your people!
Have you ever read the words of David and thought how out of touch with reality he is? I have. And today is one of those days that I especially think that David’s words are ridiculous. I feel like I woke up this morning only to be accosted by the light of day despite being severely tired and in desperate need of an amount of coffee that would probably kill a horse. Not to mention the fact that my children didn’t care that I was tired and my one wish was that they would somehow not want to talk to me for at least the first three hours of the day. But that didn’t happen.
Needless to say I woke up on that side of the bed or in that mood. I woke up with the dreaded feeling that everything is wrong in the world and all of that wrongness is conspiring against me in the wee morning hours of a day that I wished had never existed in the first place. My only wish was to crawl back into bed and just skip the entirety of a day that was bound to be full of badness.
So yes, I feel like David’s words are foolishness today.
Of all the people in the world that have a right to complain David is at the top of the list. He spent so much of his life not only fighting battles against ruthless nations, but also fighting battles within his own house and even within his own heart. The foes are always rising against him, trying to take his life, and in Psalm 3 it is his own son who has run him out of the palace and is trying to kill him. HIS OWN SON!
To make matters worse, his son, Absalom, and his surrounding enemies are taunting him by saying that God won’t help him. Yet, in the continual litany of stress, persecution, and battles that he seems to face David doesn’t wallow in self-pity, and he doesn’t despair as a man who has no hope. Instead he does what seemed impossible to me this morning when I endured the seemingly endless persecutions of the morning light.
He cries out to God. I mean, really cries out to God.
And not only does David cry out to God, but he says that God is his shield, and that the LORD sustains him in such a way that he is not going to worry about the thousands of enemies that surround him. David was a man who believed God in a way that doesn’t make sense to me this morning. He believed that despite all the enemies, all the wars, all the family struggles, and all the sinful passions and turmoil that existed within himself, that God was with him and would answer him. EVEN WHEN HIS OWN SON WAS TRYING TO KILL HIM!
It is safe to say that this isn’t my existence.
I can so easily curse God or loss my faith when the sun hits my eyes wrong in the morning light and disturbs my otherwise copacetic slumber. I can live as if the everyday, run of the mill, situations of life are really evils from the pit of hell that are some how conspiring against my very existence. Am I really being persecuted? No. Am I really enduring hardship? No. Do I have thousands of enemies surrounding me every day? In my saner states I would of course say, no.
So why does David respond so differently to adversity than I do? Why does David so trust God in the really hard when I can’t even trust God in the trite?
I think the answer is found in verse 4 of this Psalm where David says, “I cried aloud to the LORD…” David had endured and continued to endure the kind of hardship that brought him to a place where all he had was the LORD. He had nothing else to turn to, nothing that could relieve his situation, and nothing that could make him feel better in the midst of such crushing circumstances and sorrows. God had brought David to the end of himself; to a place where he couldn’t trust in himself or some other earthly savior. No. David’s only hope was in the God of the universe moving proverbial mountains on his behalf.
David in turn cries out to God in faith, and in the midst of his trouble, God answers him.
For many believers today, including me, we don’t cry out to God and trust him like this because we are too easily entangled by lesser things. When I wake up in a funk I can turn to coffee, Facebook, or television to make myself feel better. When my kids are being crazy and are seemingly out to ruin my life I can set them in front of a screen because that 15-20 minutes of quiet is going to be my savior instead of Jesus.
You see, more often than not, my problems, struggles, and persecutions (I am using that term in a sarcastic manner) are so small, but very often my solutions and comforts are also small.
Because I have traded the immortal glory, majesty, power, and even pleasure of our God for lesser pleasures and lesser powers that I think will fulfill me or make my life better. And the hard truth is that this is not just normal for me, but it is also normal for a vast majority of people who call themselves Christians. We are clinging to mud pies and are asking them to be our savior’s.
Where do we go from here? How can I not just write this, but actually move from a place of trusting in smaller things to a place of trusting and rejoicing in the God of the universe who moved cosmic mountains to save me and call me his child? How can the vast majority of Christians regain a robust view of who God is? How can we begin to cry out to God in faith, like David, believing that he hears us and will answer?
I think we find the answer in 2 Corinthians 3:17-18:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Did you catch it? Did you see how we move from lesser god’s and small irritations to a robust faith and love for God that can endure the greatest trials and tribulations that this world throws at us?
The answer is to behold.
We as Christians are called to look at, observe, examine, and cherish who God is, his glory. And as we behold or stare at who he is, as we daily examine all the promises of God that are ours in Christ, and as we begin to see him as someone who is remarkable, lovely, precious, and powerful, we will begin to be transformed, little by little, from one degree of glory to another. Adoration will lead to transformation.
Now you might be annoyed by this solution because you probably think it is no solution at all. Your probably saying to yourself, “where is my five point action plan for trusting Jesus in the hard times?” Instead I have given you what barely feels like a one step plan, but it is the only plan that matters, and it is the only plan that can produce real life change within us.
We need to be in a place where we are cherishing, loving, and standing in awe of who our God is before we will ever see any change in our daily lives. We need to be like the woman who against all odds pushed through the crowd to touch Jesus’ robe because she believed that he could heal her from a bleeding issue that she had. She was beholding Jesus as the powerful Lord and God of the universe and she was healed just by touching him. This is a type of awe and trust that is escaping my personhood this morning.
So my exhortation and challenge for you and me this morning is to continually look to Jesus. Look into his amazing and perfect word and be confronted with who he is, his power, majesty, beauty, holiness, and sovereignty. Daily behold him as the one who exists from everlasting to everlasting. As we do this he will begin to transform us from one degree of glory to another. He will begin to make us into his image, the image of Christ. And all the troubles and worries will eventually seem trite and fleeting in comparison with the weight of who Christ is and the weight of the eternal glory that is our in him.
Do I believe what I am writing this morning? On an intellectual level, but I know that my only solution is to begin to look at Jesus and behold him. I don’t know how long it will take, and I imagine that there will be other days just like this one, but I need to start today. I need to stare at Jesus every day and pray that God will slowly reignite my awe for him. And my prayer is that little by little I will stop clinging to mud pies, and instead will stand in awe of Jesus and cling to him as my only joy, my only hope, and my only Savior.