A Good Night’s Sleep; How David Experienced Peace in the Storm
Peace is an experience we know that we should have as Christians but sadly so often we fall short. It can be frustrating when we face a problem or encounter a situation and we simply do not have peace. We know we ought to have this experience of contentment, yet it alludes us. Peace becomes like the mirage in the desert; always present but never obtainable.
At the heart of this Psalm is A Good Night’s Sleep:
“I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me”
Yet around David a storm was blowing which threatened his crown and his life. Yet in the midst of this storm he was a man at peace. How did be experience peace in the midst of the storm?
1: DAVID’S PROBLEM
There are two words which describe David’s difficulty:
unprecedented and insurmountable
It was unprecedented because his son Absalom had risen up against him and seized the throne. Absalom had murdered his brother Amnon and had therefore been banished from the kingdom. David, however, brought his son son home after three years and was rewarded with nothing but treachery.
The trouble that Absalom caused, on face value appeared insurmountable. He won the hearts of the people and allies of the king, particularly Ahithophel David’s Advisor. Many had turned against him and David was forced to flee with his most loyal and trusted servants. It looked as though Absalom’s rebellion was both well organised and triumphant. Therefore David wrote:
“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.”
He may well have been referring to Shimei the son of Gera who had the audacity to follow David, throwing stones and accusing him of being a bloody man who was being judged for what he did to the house of Saul. It seems that this feeling was very much alive in the nation. The difficulty that David was in had no human solution.
2: DAVID’S COMPOSURE
The 3rd verse is a remarkable expression of faith in the midst of the most traumatic of circumstance. It is the outworking of the words of another Psalmist:
Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)
When we are faced with the impossible and intractable we must pause and think about God. David meditated upon the person of Jehovah.
His faith was in God’s Person; “But thou O Lord..” This was Jehovah he was addressing. He is the God of the covenant; the God who never changes, who is what he is, always the same, faithful to his word. David had a personal relationship with this God and although the very ground he was standing on was moving God cannot be shifted.
David believed in God’s Protection. In describing God as a shield he used the word sometimes translated buckler. This was the shield which covered the body from head to toe. He knew that the faithful God was big enough and strong enough to protect him.
He depended upon God’s Prestige defining Jehovah as his glory. God’s honour was at stake in this rebellion. Absalom had never been anointed to the throne. He had seized his father’s inheritance. This dishonoured the name of Jehovah. David invoked the glory of God as the reason why Jehovah must intervene.
David had faith in the Power of God stating that God would lift up his head. David’s head was hanging low in dejection and defeat. God , however, would reverse the situation.
Whatever our discouragements or trials are we must stand still and think upon God because he remains the faithful guardian and friend of his people.
3: DAVID’S CRY
David’s faith prompted him to pray unto his God. Faith inevitably leads us into prayer. Faith is the seed which germinates into prayer. As we believe in God we will pray and as our faith grows our dependency upon prayer increases.
The passion of David’s prayer is captured by the verb “cry”. In extremity we do not construct well ordered phrases which make grammatical sense. There is no time for such niceties when our backs are against the wall. At such a time we will cry and plead for God to intervene.
Two words describe the reaction to the prayer:
From the holy hill, from between the cherubim on the mercy seat, from the place where the blood was applied annually God heard. Today God hears on the basis of the shed blood shed for our sins. When we cry he will listen because of Calvary.
4: DAVID’S CONSOLATION
As a consequence of God’s hearing ear David was consoled with the peace of God which passeth all understanding. He was given the ability to sleep through the dark night because God’s sustained him. If God could sustain David in such a dark lonely place there is no circumstance in which he cannot sustain us.
As David had peace in the night he was now prepared for the battle. Therefore as he awoke to the light of a new day which which involve battle and blood shed David simply affirmed:
“I will not be afraid”.
Though the enemy army numbered ten thousands he would not be afraid because he had laid the matter at the feet of his God. He was now prepared for battle. He set himself for the war. His heart was prepared therefore he could face the enemy with bravery.
Prayer is not a sedentary exercise. It is the act of men and women who are prepared to work for God, live for God, sacrifice for God and die for God. As we we face this world with all that Satan and his hosts would throw at us – let us commit our ways unto him with resolve to stand firm.
5: DAVID’S CONFIDENCE
Donning his armour and strapping his sheath to his side, David went out in the early light to face the enemy. He did so with the same peace that sustained him through the night and with which he had awakened to.