The Darkest Night
King David wrote this Psalm when he fled from Absalom his son. Absalom was a proud Prince of Israel, blessed with dashing good looks. He boasted hair that flowed like the river and was cut only once every year when it became too heavy for him (2 Samuel 14:25-26). Absalom was also a man of action who did not hesitate to murder his half-brother Amnon (2 Samuel 13:28-29). Absalom hated Amnon for he had raped his sister Tamar and gotten away scot-free (2 Samuel 13:22). In Absalom’s eyes, he was only carrying out due justice. However, in the eyes of his father David, Absalom was the murderer who killed the heir to the throne of Israel. This tumultuous relationship between father and son would plunge the kingdom into civil war.
Absalom cunningly “stole the hearts of the men of Israel” (2 Samuel 15:6) and had himself proclaimed as king in Hebron (2 Samuel 15:10). His revolt against David was sudden. The news was a shock to the aged King David in Jerusalem. His own son had risen against him as a foe. Absalom gathered more and more followers, with men from all across Israel joining him. Even David’s old friend and trusted counsellor, Ahithophel, joined the usurper (2 Samuel 15:12). Everywhere people deserted the old regime of David and joined Absalom. Every passing moment, Absalom’s conspiracy grew stronger, and the number of people with Absalom kept increasing. Thus, David ordered his retinue in Jerusalem to evacuate and flee the city before Absalom reached them (2 Samuel 15:14). The great warrior King was forced to abandon his capital without a fight lest he perish. He knew that he was powerless to stand against Absalom’s rebellion.
David’s cry that many are his foes, reveals his desperate condition. His own Kingdom had turned against him. His friends deserted him, and his own son sought to kill him. David was overwhelmed and faced innumerable opponents. His world was crashing around him. Thus, he turned to God in heaven and cried out his complaint! When we face troubles and trials which overwhelm us, we too are to turn our face to God. Though the devil and the world are against you, remember that God is by your side! As the Presbyterian theologian John Knox said, "A man with God is always in the majority." In your darkest night, seek the light of Christ.