Psalm 3

absalom.jpg

Absalom. Son of and conspirator against David. Psalm 3 is credited to David, written as he fled from his favored son Absalom who established himself as king of Israel. As you know, Absalom died as a result of getting his hair caught in a tree and David's general cutting him down by way of his head.

By this point, even three chapters into the Psalms, there is a steady exchange of enemy oppression and the deliverance of God. That might be surprising to our tolerant, modern thoughts. Do you pray, "Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked."? Maybe in our deepest base, we want such revenge. And, who is to carry out the request? Unless more fire descends from heaven, which we know could happen, it's David and his army that will exact such punishment.

Does Jesus change these cries? Skip to Revelation 6:15-17 first.
"Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free person hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?'"

This type of justice is transacted throughout Revelation, almost a culmination of the psalmist's prayer and in an final way. However, as you know, we skipped the words of Jesus and followed by Paul. Matthew 5:44. "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven." And Paul says, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21).

Are these alternate visions? No and yes. God does not change with time, though his revelation has provided the veil to be lifted over time, though we still see things dimly. Our chronological snobbery wants to push back on the Sauls and Davids of yesterday and weight their actions on the basis of Jesus. In some respects, we can do that. Hebrews 11 opens up that possibility with its list of the faithful that are accounted as righteous. However, I think there's a danger into rivaling too much against the Psalms want for God's vengeance, his justice.

If we are believers, we should be longing for God to come. Paul says, "For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life" (2 Corinthians 5:4).

It's this expectation that is the same driver for justice as David and the other writers of the Psalms. There is a holy anxiety of sorts that asks, "When, O God? I see the wicked brooding with no recourse. I thought you said you'd be back. It's been a long time. I know the sun shines on all of us, but throw down some sun fire on these people who won't repent. Maybe?"

It's the same plea. Will the righteous who can't partake in those things the flesh are drawn toward and who believe in a God who hasn't been around for a few too many years, will we be left to see nothing done?

Maybe. The Truth of the Gospel is that Jesus provides no excuses. Right? The incarnate God walked, died, rose from the grave to say, "Follow me." If we don't, there is no gray. Jesus said it. "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know the Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen me."

In the end, David is right: "From the Lord comes deliverance" (3:8).