Updated: Aug 1, 2018
Have you ever been #betrayed by someone you loved? Have you ever faced seemingly insurmountable odds? Has it ever seemed as though there was no way out of your particular dilemma?
If so, then you have a good idea of how David felt when he penned the words of Psalm 5. David had made a number of mistakes in his life. He committed many sins that haunted him in his later years. Because of his multiple marriages, he had children who were partially related to each another. But it wasn’t the Brady Bunch. There was a great deal of conflict and problems in his household as a result.
One of David’s sons was named Absalom, whose full sister was Tamar. David had another son named #Amnon, who took advantage of his half-sister Tamar and raped her. Absalom, her full brother, was outraged by what Amnon had done. He also was angry that David hadn’t taken stronger measures to deal with his son.
So #Absalom arranged to have Amnon killed. The result was that Absalom was banished from the kingdom. But after a period of time, Absalom was allowed to return. In the process, however, he turned the hearts of the people away from his father, the king. The chickens were coming home to roost, as the old saying goes.
David was reaping the consequences of what he had sowed many years earlier. After David’s sin of adultery with #Bathsheba, the prophet Nathan told him, “Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own” (2 Samuel 12:10 NIV).
Out of his own household, David was reaping the results of his sin. But that shouldn’t surprise us too much. In reality, David simply was seeing his own behavior reflected in his children. Amnon treated Tamar as David treated Bathsheba. He forced himself upon Tamar sexually, just as David misused his position as king to sexually take advantage of Bathsheba.
And Absalom, in murdering Amnon, was only treating his half-brother the way David treated Uriah in sending him to the front lines with the full intention of having him killed. Then David took Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, to be his wife. Like father, like son.
It’s sad when we see our own character reflected in our children – that is, when they reflect the bad aspects of our character. We want to say to them, “Listen to me! Do as I say, not do as I do.” But our children are going to watch us, and they will emulate our behavior.
So there was David, in his older years, fleeing for his life because Absalom had devised a plot to overthrow him. He actually was leading a coup, causing a very aged King David to desert his throne and escape into the wilderness. If ever there was a time David needed to be sure that God was listening to his prayers, it was this time.
David had traversed that rugged terrain before. As a young man he had been an outlaw, hunted by the paranoid King Saul. The prophet Samuel had anointed David and said he would be the next king of Israel. And then he killed Goliath in the Valley of Elah.
Everyone loved David. But Saul, paranoid and angry that someone would try to take his position, drove David into exile. But David no longer was the sprightly young boy who could leap from rock to rock with no real effort. He moved more slowly. And he wasn’t being sought by a paranoid king but by his own son, who wanted to hunt him down and put him to death.
David really needed to know that God was with him. It was during this time he penned three psalms, including Psalm 5, where he wrote, “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I will #pray. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up” (verses 1–3 NKJV).
What stands out to me about David’s prayer is there was a holy boldness: “Give ear to my words, O Lord. …” In the original #Hebrew, “give ear” literally means “to broaden the ear, as with the hand.” It’s the idea of someone who is a bit hard of hearing cupping their hand around his or her ear to hear. David was saying, “Lord, I want you to cup your hand around your ear and listen to what I am about to say.”
Where did David get the audacity to speak to God this way? How did he dare to stand before #God and say, “Cup your hand around your ear and really listen carefully”? It was because David had a relationship with God. The reason David could say, “Give ear to my words, O Lord” is because he went on to say, “My #King and my God.” David had a relationship with God that gave him the freedom of access.
That is why #David could speak that way to the Lord. It gave him a boldness. And we can have that boldness, too. We can have that same relationship. The writer of Hebrews said, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, #Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place” (10:19–20 NLT).
Another passage in Hebrews says, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (4:16 NLT). We can have open access to the throne of God.
How did things turn out for old King David? I would say quite well. Things started out pretty bleak, with David as an aged man who lost his throne. The hearts of the people were turned against him, and Absalom was on the rise. But through a quick chain of events,
David was returned to his throne, and Absalom ended up hanging by a tree as he fled for his life. God turned things around and put David back where he belonged. And it all happened through prayer as David cast his problems upon the Lord.
What a difference prayer can make. But let’s not wait until the last minute to do it. Let’s take our problems and burdens and cast them upon the Lord, and he ultimately will have his way.