"O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
2 many are saying of my soul,
“There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah
3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
4 I cried aloud to the Lord,
and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
5 I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
7 Arise, O Lord!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
8 Salvation belongs to the Lord;
your blessing be on your people!" Selah
The title given to this Psalm indicates that the circumstances it describes are associ- ated with David's flight to Jerusalem at the time of Absalom's rebellion (2 Samuel 15). This enables us the more fully to appreciate the heart cries it contains. In the first stanza (1, 2) David exclaims about the increase of his enemies, as he feels the overwhelming weight of the adverse circumstances around him. This is a morning Psalm (5), and these are his first thoughts on awakening. This is so true to experience: after the respite that sleep gives, we wake and for a moment or two our minds and hearts are calm, then the sudden inrush of remembered circumstances of distress sweeps upon our consciousness with the fierceness almost of a physical blow. David's distress was all the more acute because he felt the force of what his enemies were saying and could see the probability of its being true. 2 Samuel 11 shows us that the great blot on David's life story, the sin with Bathsheba, was to dog his footsteps to the end of his days and that there was a direct connection between that sin and the rebellion of Absalom. When Shimei cursed David in his flight, the king said to his followers, 'Let him alone, the Lord hath bidden him' (2 Samuel 16:11). There is no desolation quite like this in the human spirit, it is a dark night indeed for a man when such an overwhelming comes upon him. The important thing for us to see here, however, is what David does in such a predicament: he re- fuses to allow himself to be overwhelmed, and with a definite act and attitude of faith he pushes back the oppressive thoughts over the frontiers of his mind to regain his peace and composure. How he succeeds in doing this is by turning his mind to a contemplation of the Lord and what He is to those who trust in Him. The dark pressures are dis- placed by something grander and greater. This is the great testimony of this Psalm.