(November 05, 2022) Brian Bell shares about King David’s handling of despair while ‘on the run’…

Since his days as a shepherd the wilderness of Judea was a place known to David because he had spent much time there with his father’s flocks.

If you are familiar with the life of David before and after he became king of Israel, you will remember he also spent time in the wilderness ‘on the run.’

For David this was a literal experience as he first sought to stay away from the murderous intentions of jealous King Saul, and later in his life and reign when he ran from the rebellion of his wayward son Absalom.

Here I share a few encouraging thoughts from Psalm 3 NLT, which I believe give us a look into David’s heart experience as he was on the run from Absalom.

David’s despair
Verses 1-2 tell of David’s concerns – ‘I have so many enemies…so many are against me… so many are saying…’

Recalling David’s attitude as he faced Goliath – running towards the enemy – we may find despair a strange place for him to be and yet it is echoed in these words, particularly the use of the word ‘many.

Despair is a very real emotion for us in our human experience, even for God’s children. It is not a place any of us plan to be, it is not where we would wish to be, and certainly not a place in which we would choose to stay.

I believe despair it is not a lack of faith on our part but rather a reflection of how our natural weaknesses may be exploited by the circumstances of life or the enemy of souls so that we may be brought to a place where we feel overwhelmed.

If we are honest as was David, we may recognise it whether in our past (and I can put my hand up to that) present or even something which may lie in our future experience.

David’s cry
Verse 4 tells David ‘… cried out to the Lord.’

These words tell me that in his despair David knew what to do. Men in particular are not usually particularly good at calling for help… we tend to tough it out! But… while there are times for being tough, perhaps sometimes pride hinders us from acknowledging our weaknesses.

It is however a good thing when we realise we need help and cry out for it –

  • If we need help with an illness we can cry out to the medical profession.
  • If we need help with some practical matter there are those who are suitably qualified.
  • if we need help with a spiritual matter we can cry out to those who can bring us Godly counsel and Spirit enabled wisdom.

David’s confidence
Verse 5 says ‘…the Lord was watching over me…

Notice what David found to his delight – ‘I lay down and slept, I woke up in safety.’ I believe we could say that despite his despair David knew where his confidence lay, and it enabled him to regain perspective.

Some decades ago, in a concert in Belfast I remember hearing the American gospel musician Andrae Crouch singing, ‘I’ve got confidence God is gonna see me through, no matter what the case may be, I know He’s gonna fix it for me’

This confidence in the Lord does not free us from the need to try and conduct our lives in a proper manner, but it does mean He will be undergirding as we do.

It is good for us as God’s children to have our present days and nights resting in our confidence in the Lord, helping us to a less stressful day and a more peaceful sleep as David indicated in this verse (‘I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety’).

As Christians I believe every achievement we enjoy in life is of and from the Lord, whether it be promotion in a workplace setting, or His blessing and use of God-given abilities in our kingdom service and ministry in which He has placed us.

David’s victory  
Verse 8 is a positive declaration: ‘Victory comes from you, O Lord.’

This is something about which we should be careful if the Lord chooses to put us in front of other people perhaps in a role of leadership. It is not about drawing attention to myself or enhancing my reputation – it is always for His glory.

The day in which we are living has the potential to bring us to a place of despair, but we can cry to the Lord, rest ourselves in His confidence and trust Him to help us know His victory in our lives.

To conclude this meditation, I quote the words of J. McKenzie’s late 60’s song If I Tried

If I tried to live for You Lord today,
If I tried to follow Your wonderful way,
Then all of my life would be me and not You
And none of Your glory would ever shine through’

Since I first met You I knew Lord You were the way,
I tried hard to walk in Your footsteps each day,
But somehow my life didn’t glorify Thee,
So make me a channel and You live through me.’

Take each new day Lord, whatever’s in store,
Take my whole being and into me pour,
Your power and Your Spirit, Oh make me anew,
For no one can change me, Lord Jesus, but You.’

Brian Bell is a diaconate member, Christ Church (Congregational) Abbots Cross, Northern Ireland, and a volunteer with Disabled Christians Fellowship Ireland. Brian describes himself as ‘grateful for the privilege and opportunity given me to serve my Lord.’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s