Daniel Bartlam from the UK killed his mother while she slept in her bedroom. He now serves a life sentence for this malicious crime. In 2006 Jasmine Richardson of Canada brutally murdered her parents in what was described as “one of the most shocking and bizarre murders of all time.” The Menendez brothers, Lyle and Erik, are serving life sentences for the murder of their parents in 1989. Such events are not new. However, due to modern media news travels much more rapid then centuries or a millennia ago. Family murders occur for a variety of reasons: greed, hatred, or deviant delight.
One such attempt of a child trying to kill his father was Absalom. Psalm 3 gives David’s response to Absalom’s attempts to kill him. David comes to God with a heavy heart. He cries out for God’s help in his distress and disappointments. His son turned out to be a monster who would do anything to usurp his father’s throne and rise up on it himself. Absalom ridiculed his father and pursued him. However, David escaped each time although he and his men had greater power and strength than those with his son.
David’s entire family exhibited one tragedy after another, yet this psalm gives no details of these tragedies. It focuses on David’s deep distress. It gives the reader a portrait of the kind of relationship David had with God. In spite of the tragic circumstances in his life and all of his own sins that led to them, David never shied away from coming to God in prayer. He cried out to God,
But You, O LORD, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the LORD with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah”
What an example for us when we engage tragedy or sin! It is easy to hide from God and turn away from Him when we commit sin. Sin can become so compelling that we remain in it for awhile and place the memory of God into the deep recesses of our minds. Yet, in all of such circumstances, the Spirit continues to prompt us to turn to the Father to seek His face. Like David, we find that God never forsakes us but continually draws near to us in spite of waywardness. Such compelling grace!
Read David’s words. They reveal God acting in the face of sheer helplessness. He protects and lifts David up. He hears David. David finds comfort. The psalm builds to a crescendo until the final two lines:
Salvation belongs to the LORD.
Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah.”
These lines are an appropriate closing, because at the conclusion of all tragedy, disappointment, and tears, the one truth the Bible emphasizes throughout is “Salvation belongs to the LORD.” We can take comfort in God acting and being near to us. Such grace in abundance!