Has anyone else out there ever made a mistake and then later you suffered for it? Worse yet, are you there now and can’t seem to get past it. There is a story in the Bible that just might be what you need to hear. In Psalm three there are several mentions of one word that seemed to change everything concerning the problems of King David.
Before I mention that one word, let me give you some background information. The Bible tells us that King David was a man after God’s own heart. (1 Sam 13:14, Acts 13:22) I am convinced that statement simply means that more than anything else, whatever was important to God was also important to King David. David however, just like us, was not perfect. So there were also times when David did things that were not at all after the heart of God. Perhaps the most significant of those “not like God” occasions happened in 2 Samuel, chapter eleven. David did something that surprises us that he even found forgiveness at all. David had an affair with the wife of one of his key men, Uriah. But the story gets worse, he also tried to cover it up. When that did not work, David had Uriah’s death arranged and then took the woman to be his own wife. It is amazing that this one act wasn’t enough to remove King David from his “heart after God” status. But that is not the end of this story either.
Some years later, one of David’s sons, Amnon, raped his half-sister Tamar. This enraged Tamar’s (full brother), Absalom, who sought revenge and got it by killing Amnon. When David learned about Absalom’s crime, instead of dealing with him in a just manner, he simply allowed him to leave Jerusalem. Why would David do that? I believe it was because David had committed the same crime. He too had committed the crime of murder over a sexual sin. The truth of the matter is, David had lost the moral authority to deal effectively with Absalom. In time, the undisciplined Absalom, (Who thought he was morally superior and a worthier leader than his father) mounted a rebellion. It was a rebellion that caught David by surprise … so much so, that he fled his throne barefoot and weeping. David is now being opposed and hunted down by his own son. I believe it is fair to say that David was reaping the consequences of the bad choices he had made.
NOW … I am not saying that anytime you have a problem, it’s because prior to the problem you did something wrong. THAT’S BAD THEOLOGY! On the other hand, there are times when we do bring problems on ourselves. It is at this point in David’s life that he is hiding in a cave and his son, Absalom, is standing outside the cave with ten thousand soldiers and they are seeking to take David’s life. It is also at this point that David somehow finds the strength to reflect on that one word that changes everything. I am almost ready to tell you what that one word is, but not just yet. Let me first tell you something else.
At some time in our lives we are all going to have problems. Sometimes we just have problems, but if we are honest sometimes, like King David, we are not exactly innocent. I actually could claim to be some kind of an expert when it comes to having problems. A few times they have been the result of a not so good decision, but often problems just also seem to come from out of nowhere. I will only name a few and forgive me but I don’t want to go into deep detail. Here is a general sample:
- I have had car problems, financial problems, health problems, house problems, insurance problems, job problems, kid problems, marriage problems (just to be clear, my wife and I have always been faithful to each other), people problems, strange problems … problems, problems, problems …
- My mother always said I lost most of my hair because of my wife … (I still love you honey!)
- My kids are wonderful … but that’s how my hair that was left turned gray. Thank God my son-in-law and daughter-in-law came along.
- As a pastor you don’t know what a problem is until you have had building program problems.
Enough about me, let’s get back to King David … David’s life was full of contrasts. If you know the Bible stories, you understand. When you take a job from your father, don’t you think this is going to be a piece of cake? David’s first job was to watch over his father’s sheep, how hard can that be? But then one day, David had to wrestle a bear … bare- handed. (Notice the different spelling of those two words, that sound the same, really changes things) One could understand if David had responded, “That is not in my contract!” Not long after that David also had to wrestle with a lion bare handed too. When David was sent by his dad to check on his brothers, nobody said, “Hey … You might want to take along a sling shot, you never know when you might need to kill a nine foot tall giant.” (Especially one that everyone else is afraid of …)
You would NOT … think that all six of your older brothers would be rejected by the prophet Samuel, especially since your Dad didn’t even invite you to the selection process. When David did get invited, he probably would have ran away never to return had he known that for the next 13 years King Saul would try to kill him approximately twenty-seven different times. Once David finally did become king of Israel, he winds up with a front page scandal with this Bathsheeba incident. David did not expect his oldest son would rape his sister, nor did he expect that his third son would kill his oldest son. And now the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back … Your own son has stolen your throne. David is now … dethroned, betrayed, rejected, and ridiculed. The truth is, who would question if God had said … “David, you are reaping what you have sown.” But that is not what happens here … in fact we all need to understand something
… GOD DOES NOT … ONLY HEAR THE PRAYERS OF PERFECT PEOPLE
The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:12-16 … Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
JUST ONE MORE … Psalm 34:19 says … Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers them from them all.
David … responded to this situation by penning the words of Psalm three. Let’s first of all read what David wrote in Psalm 3:1-2 … Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. 2 Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah . (kjv)
And there it is! There is that word that you have been waiting for, SELAH! That word is the one word that suddenly changed everything for David. Let me explain. The word Selah … Is a Hebrew musical note … and it is also a Hebrew punctuation mark. The word Selah … means pause, stop and think about that. The word Selah also has the following connotations … repeat, accent, forever, encore, step it up. It is no wonder the word “Selah” is used seventy-four times in the book of Psalms. Let’s look at how it is being used here in Psalms 3. Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. 2 Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah.
UNDERSTAND … David’s enemies were saying to him … We are increased against you! You think about that David! SELAH. We have got your back against the wall David. Think about that. There isn’t any hope for you David. This is the end! God has forgotten you David, stop and think about that! Selah.
Has the Devil, or some problem, or seeds of doubt ever seemed to talk to you like that? Have you ever felt there is no way out of where you are? And to make things worse there seems to be some voice coming from somewhere, saying, “SELAH! You are out of place, a nothing heading for nowhere!” And about that time we start to think … Oh … it’s true … and it’s never going to get better!
But do you know what? That’s what I love about the Bible. That is why the Bible mentions that David was a man “after God’s own heart!” You see, David had repented … David had wept before the Lord. And David’s heart had been restored. So even though there were those who had come against him, David did not lay down and quit! In fact, David began to answer back in the name of the Lord. David wrote some more …
Psalms 3:3-4 … says … But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. 4 I cried to the Lord with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah (kjv) … there’s that word again … but now something is different!
David responded, the Lord is my shield, my glory and the lifter up of my head! Now Devil YOU THINK ABOUT THAT FOR A WHILE … SELAH to you too! You chew on that old slew-foot. You see what is happening here is that David is standing up for himself by answering in the name of the Lord. See, David needed to change his point of focus. And when he did, things got better. The point here is that if you and I find ourself in the same place we can do that too. We need to understand that prayer and the word of God are powerful weapons. We need to spend some “Selah-time” in God’s word.
- The Bible says in Romans 8:31, “If God be for me, who then can be against me.”
- The Bible says in Psalms 144:15, “Happy is the people whose God is the Lord.”
- The Bible says in Romans 8:16, “His spirit bears witness with my spirit.”
- The Bible says in Romans 8:37, “We are more than conquerors through Him that loves us.”
- The Bible says in Philippians 4:19, “My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory.”
Well, the Psalm doesn’t end just yet. I absolutely love what David goes on to write in Psalms 3:5-6 … “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.” Selah (kjv) … Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in you.’
Understand that as David penned those words, Absalom, and 10,000 soldiers, are still waiting for David outside the cave. But now that David has spent some time with the Lord, he is thinking, (perhaps as he yawns) you know, I feel like taking a nap! David wanted the world to know that even after all he had been through, even after all he had failed in, even after what had not quite gone according to plan, I CRIED UNTO THE LORD WITH MY VOICE … AND HE HEARD ME! And then like the old hymn … Peace, peace, wonderful peace, coming down from the Father above, sweep over my spirit forever I pray, in fathomless billows of love. Because there was so much peace in his heart, David laid down and went to sleep. Because of his “Selah-time” he was now at peace.
I believe that what David did that day can work for us today. The Bible says in Isaiah 9:6-7, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace, 7 Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
Jesus took it from there … John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
We could go on, but let me move to the last two verses that David penned. Psalms 3:7-8 says, “Arise, O Lord; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly. 8 Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah (kjv)
- Malachi 3:6 says, “Behold, I am the Lord and I do not change”
- Hebrews 13:8, says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
I believe that we have the right to be jealous If God does more for David than He will do for us. If we are struggling with some issue today, maybe it’s simply because we haven’t taken the time to pause (Selah) and to stop and think about what our God has done for us. Maybe it’s time for us to pause (Selah) stop and think about, repeat, accent, forever, encore, and step it up!
Maybe it’s time for us to do like David who said, “I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.” And then remember that three times in this Psalm it says … Selah! (Stop and think about that …)
- STEP IT UP
The Bible says in Jeremiah 29:13, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Let me wrap this up with two little stories …
One day a frog fell into a deep rut. He tried to get out but he couldn’t. Mrs. Frog was standing above him. She admonished him, she beckoned him, she belittled him. She said, “Come on! … Get out! … Let’s go! Mr. Frog said … NO WAY … I JUST CAN’T DO IT! So, Mrs Frog just hopped off down to the pond. In a few minutes Mr. Frog appeared right beside her on the lily pad. Mrs. Frog looked and said, “I thought you said you couldn’t get out? Mr frog replied, “A big truck came along and I had to.”
The second story is this …
A fellow was walking through a cemetery one night. He fell into a grave pit that was open and ready for a funeral the next day. He tried and tried for several long minutes to get out. But he just could not do it. What he did not know was that an hour earlier someone else had fallen into the same grave. When he finally stopped trying to climb out, he heard a voice behind him say, “You can’t get out, I have already tried.” It was that exact moment that the second fellow finally succeeded.
I believe that today as you read this article, and at this exact moment, you too can find the peace of God that passes all understanding. I hope you can find it in your heart to “Selah” … stop and think about the fact that if you need forgiveness you can find it. Simply ask God to forgive you, and realize that God’s Son Jesus Christ died on the cross in your place to set you free from your past. Maybe you have already done that but find yourself today in some challenging predicament. Understand that, just like King David did, you can “Selah” … stop and think about the fact that since God is on your side, nothing will ever succeed in coming against you. Go ahead, take a nap, live in His peace, and let God take care of it.