Pesky neighbors & bickering family

Psalm 3
Have you ever had a family dispute? Chances are, not like this one!

It began when David saw Bathsheeba. You can read the full context of the story beginning in 2 Samuel 11. For now, recall that the prophet Nathan confronted David about his adulterous activity with Bathsheeba. There was also a consequence he must endure as a result of his murder of her husband, Uriah. Nathan told David, “the sword will never depart from your house…(2 Samuel 12:10).

And it didn’t take long for that to take shape. Another dysfunctional family event spurs David’s son, Absalom, to flee. Several years later, he returns to mount an opposition to David’s reign.  It’s son versus father for the crown. Apparently, Absalom has a good number of people with him. This is a situation that burdens David for several reasons.

That’s the context behind Psalm 3. David knows there is a force seeking to end his reign and his life. The only indication of that in the psalm is from the title: A Psalm of David, when he fled from his son Absalom. Otherwise, David’s words bring to mind enemies and adversaries. Again, what a family struggle!

It’s helpful to know the background because most of us don’t think we have enemies or foes. Hyper-politicized people want us to think we’re enemies with each other. Otherwise, most often, enemies are foreign countries that stand against our American values. Enemies of the state.

And while David’s situation is political, it’s also familial. And that’s something we can all understand. Whether it’s our immediate or extended family, a lot of us know what it’s like to feel at odds with them. What about our neighbors? Coworkers? It’s not inappropriate to include our church family in this conversation, too.

What do we do when we’re at each other’s throats? How do you respond when it’s obvious someone has it in for you?

David’s psalm can be an influence.

It sounds trivial to some people, I know. But we must begin with our trust in God. That’s at the heart of Psalm 3. Because David knows God is with him, he can say, “I am not afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.” Not even his family or his enemies.

Your trust in God shapes how you feel, how you respond and how you continue in the turmoil you’re facing. What you believe about God should dictate even what you believe about other people. It’s David’s faith in God’s power that encourages him to even want to face his battles. He has learned to keep calling to God, crying aloud.

Could you use a louder praying voice?

That’s part of what makes our faith journey important. The more we grow in our understanding and experience of God’s grace, we become more able to trust God through our turmoil. Your pesky neighbors and bickering family don’t have to suck the joy out of life. Let your trust in God’s goodness lead how you interact with them.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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