David is in danger, again, and he asks for the Lord to save him. David also asks for punishment for those who are plotting against him.
Something I find very interesting about this psalm is that David is not asking God to strengthen his hand in battle but to dish out judgment Himself on those who oppress David. To me, this speaks of the ‘violent men’ being Saul and his forces. David ran from Saul’s armies instead of fighting them. He let God be his rear guard and turn Saul’s armies where He would.
He could also be talking about Absalom and his forces. David retreated again in this situation. Only when he was safely away from Jerusalem did his forces stand and fight those who pursued him. We are not told how long it took before Absalom pursued David. It had to be at least a little bit of time because Absalom was busy for a while defiling David’s concubines. Absalom was in the contingent that fought with David’s men, otherwise Joab couldn’t have killed him.
For a man who did not seek out battle, David was sure in a lot of them! From the time of his youth until his failing years, David went to battle. His men had to tell him to stay home when he was getting older and slower. They feared for his life at that point. The only time we know he was at home while his troops were battling was the season when he spied Bathsheba.
David was a man after God’s own heart so I don’t believe that he sought out opportunities for war. I could be wrong here because David’s kingdom DID grow through conquest. But I’m inclined to believe that David responded to threats instead of becoming one himself.
David asked God to take care of his enemies. “As for the head of those who surround me, let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them? Let burning coals fall upon them! Let them be cast into fire, into miry pits, no more to rise! Let no the slander be established in the land; let evil hunt down the violent man speedily!” (verses 9-11). He never asked for swiftness and surety in battle. He didn’t pray for strength or stamina for his troops. He left God to do the fighting for him.
I believe the reason he left the results to the Lord is because he was asking God to judge the hearts of even his enemies. David asked for the downfall of the ‘violent men’ only. He trusted God to sort out who was who, and to care for the needy. This request also implies that David maintain himself as one of the upright whom God would help.
One lesson from David is to make sure which side you are on. Are the battles you are in ones where you are truly in the right, according to God? Are you relying on your own strength to prevail or did you hand over control of the outcome to the Lord?
God knows our hearts and where we walk every day. We can trust Him to sort it all out IF we let Him. He won’t force us to turn lose but He will certainly encourage it. He may even allow us to see our own weaknesses to entice us to put it in His hands. He knows the BEST strategy in every circumstance and can bring it about. He also knows what it is going to take to reach even the ‘violent’ hearts. Who knows what He has in store when we let HIM take the lead.
Father God, I have few comparisons in my life that mimic David’s, and that’s a GOOD thing. What I do have is a burning desire to learn to trust You more every day. I give YOU full control in ALL my encounters, battle or peaceful. You know how to bring about the right result. Lead me because I can’t do this alone!