TUESDAY, APRIL 10
The ‘fear’ of God in a secure trusting relationship with Yahweh overcomes the fear of man.
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David.
A lament to God and prayer admonition in a situation of difficulty and opposition.
1 Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
David calls on God in His faithfulness to fulfil His promises. The appeal to “my righteous God” – literally, ‘God of my right’ – is no mere formality, but an appeal to God on the basis of His character. God is the protector of His own and the champion of right, Psalm 5:4–6.
2 How long will you people turn My glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
“You people” or more literally, ‘you men’ – the landowners of wealth and power. They have shown contempt for King David’s God-given authority, and expressing “delusions” have mocked both David and God Himself without counting the cost, in God’s order of things, of doing this.
3 Know that the Lord has set apart His faithful servant for Himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.
“Know” – the first of a list of seven imperatives (emphasis added)
4 Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.
5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord.
The enemies are admonished to respond in a more respectful way, both to God and to His anointed – to recognise that David has been set apart by the Lord and rules under a covenant of His steadfast love (2 Samuel 7:1-15).
6 Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?” Let the light of your face shine on us.
All leadership is subject to the challenge of people’s unfulfilled expectations and David’s rule is no exception. As a considerate ruler, he knows the hearts of his people.
7 Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound.
God’s blessing and therefore better times for the people is David’s joy.
8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
David’s experience through His relationship with God (Yahweh) is a sharp contrast to the negativity of the enemies who want better times by bringing him down. David can go to sleep committing the outcome to God “in safety”, betach, a word related to trust: unafraid.
Any kind of leadership brings a measure of unpopularity and the unjust blame that comes from people’s unfulfilled expectations being piled on the person in authority.
Things don’t appear to be going too well, and two different ways of responding are contrasted here.
In politics, difficult times often result in a opinions becoming factions and a divisive leadership challenge.
Those in leadership have the choice to be reactive to those ganging up against them, or to be proactive in trusting their instincts and supportive advisers. Put faith into the equation, and the ‘instincts’ to trust become God’s guidance and the confidence in His call and higher purpose.
David, Israel’s most renowned king, made mistakes and learned from them, all of which built up his ability to trust in God’s faithfulness and grace, through a lifetime of opposition. His way of dealing with his undermining enemies was to be secure in his call and anointing and call on God to direct them to respect that call, too. David is resolute in making a righteous response. He calls on God to adjure those opposing him to have regard for God’s ways and not just man’s way.
For reflection or discussion
How do you respond to criticism and opposition in a task you have been given responsibility for?