Psalm 3 : When Things Fall Apart

Written by on August 28, 2023

One of my favorite African writers in Chinua Achebe, his book Things Fall Apart follows the story of Okonkwo. Okonkwo’s story is sad, full of one misfortune to another, and things do fall apart for him. Looking at David’s tale in the title of this Psalm, things do indeed fall apart for him. His son Absalom tries to take the throne by force, and David has to run away from him (2 Samuel 15-18). In his distress, David shows us the peace and holy security of the redeemed. David, now being driven out of his palace, from his loyal city, by his rebellious son, complains, confides, and encourages himself in the Lord. Giving God the glory and taking himself the comfort of the divine blessing and salvation that are sure to all people of God.

But you are a shield around me O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. Psalm 3:3

David begins this Psalm by expressing the trouble he faces. His enemies are vast in number and increasing in their power and influence. The situation seems bleak. Other people tell David to give up and accept his doom (Psalm 3:1-2). It is not the first time David has faced dire circumstances. Remember Saul, the first king of Israel? Many times, David trusted God to carry him through danger. This present trouble, for David, is no different. Even though thousands of people were against him, his faith was not shaken (Psalm 3:3-6). Based on that conviction, David prays for God to deliver victory over these adversaries by giving them a devastating blow that will shutter them and leave them incapable of fighting back. Confidence based on experience shines through in David’s prayers over his Dangerous situation (Psalm 3:7-8)

When life falls apart, we can always experience God’s peace by laying hold of him in believing prayer. David’s final exclamation, “Salvation belongs to the Lord,” shows that he did not depend on his troops or the counselors he planted to mislead Absalom or any military strategy. He acknowledges that any victory would come from God alone. When we cast ourselves on God alone for deliverance, all the praise goes to him. David was able to turn his horrible experience of betrayal, emotional pain, and nearly being killed into a song of praise. This Psalm teaches us that God can use our worst trials to deepen our trust in him and produce worship that will encourage his people. When things fall apart, we can experience God’s peace by laying hold of him in believing prayer. Philippians 4:6 tells us not to be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let our requests be known to God. Whom will you run to when things fall apart?

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