“I cry aloud to the LORD and He answers me from His holy mountain.”Psalm 3:4
It’s going to get better. How many times have you heard this? How many times have you believed it? One of the most beautiful things about one of the most beautiful books in Scripture, the Psalms, is that they add lingo and language to our emotions and feelings. They say things that we are all trying to say but can’t seem to muster up. One theologian puts it this way: “Most of the scripture speaks to us, the Psalms speak for us.”
As has been said before in the Psalms, we see not a rule book telling us what to do, but a snapshot of players playing the game. In this particular instance, a camera lens is focused on the prayer and song of a familiar friend, King David. David, although a king, is someone who spends most of his life running as opposed to reigning. Absalom, his own seed, has betrayed him. His very own son. He cries out to God about how his foes increase! (3:1). It is evident that he feels forgotten. His hope is shrinking because his problems are growing.
Can you resonate? Are you feeling anxious? Do you feel lost? Do you feel like God has left you? Imagine David. He feels forgotten because he is constantly fighting for his life. The thing about feelings is that they don’t tell the whole story. They tell half-truths. Feelings are not always the best communicators of facts. David, because he felt forgotten, is forward. He demonstrates faith for us. His faith is loud, bold, and genuine. He literally cries aloud to the Lord and is confident in His answer. He shows us that when we feel forgotten, if our faith is forward, then we can fall back (3:5). David knows that if his prayers reach God’s ears, then he can fall asleep in his arms. The same is true for us. We can have faith in God because we have the favor of God.
But this Psalm isn’t merely about us. And it isn’t merely about David. It’s about the One who will sit on His throne forever—Jesus. Jesus Christ, like David, was mocked about his relationship with and to God (Psalm 3:2, Luke 23:35). While being crucified on a rugged cross, He didn’t pray, “I cry aloud to the Lord and He answers me.” He said something totally different. He utters, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”— one of the most striking statements in the history of time.
And because of what the cross accomplished, Jesus is the last of God’s children who will ever have to pray that. God’s only begotten Son, His only child, is abandoned by the Father. His forsakenness forsakes ours. Jesus takes the total abandonment of God in a way that is beyond human comprehension so that we can experience a love that is beyond human comprehension (Eph. 3:19). God, in that seemingly defeated moment, was defeating and defanging the crafty serpent with a crucified Savior. The seed of the woman provides protection (3:6) against the seed of the serpent now and forever. We can pray like David when we have faith in the King like David. The One who was so committed to His people that He gave up His life.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, on the cross, the only reason you didn’t save yourself was that you were saving us. Help us to be those that have a forward faith rooted in the favor of God. We honor you because we can have confidence that even when we die we will simply be falling asleep in your arms. Death for us is not a period but an undersized comma. In Your mighty name, we pray. Amen.
1.Eugene H. Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society, 20th Anniversary edition. (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Books, 2000), 61.