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Quick to Trust . . . Quick to Confess

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Psalms 3–6

The example of David in Psalms 3–6 encourages us to pray in times of trouble, gain perspective on our circumstances, not delay confession of sin, and look beyond our own troubles to become channels of God’s grace to others.


We begin this study in Psalm 3, where David is having one of the worst days of his life. He is running for his life from his son, Absalom. Absalom has masterminded a coup, and David is now hunted by his own son. He didn’t have time to even pack a suitcase as he fled from Jerusalem.

He is looking over his shoulder, so to speak, as he writes this psalm. He begins this way:

O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah. (verses 1-2)

Even though David is in the crosshairs of the hunter, he is calling on the Lord with complete confidence that God is listening.

Now this little word “selah” is going to show up throughout the Psalms, and we’re not exactly sure what it means. It might signal a musical interlude, a pause to reflect or meditate; but what it does is obvious—it makes you slow down. It effectively says, “Slow down, and think about what you just read.”

And that is exactly what David does here, as he slows down and takes a deep breath and then composes verses 3-4:

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill.

David is now so confident in the Lord that he says in verse 5, “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.” David is leaving the outcome entirely in the Lord’s hands. And here is how you and I can know we have really left something in the Lord’s hands: if we don’t come back around and worry whether He’s got it covered. Instead, we can rest in Him.

Listen to the change in David’s perspective in verse 6: “I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.” Is David confident because he just came across a wagon load of weapons? No, just one weapon has given him full assurance. Note verses 7-8:

Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. Salvation belongs to the Lord.

David’s one weapon is confident prayer in his powerful Lord.

Do you ever feel like a target—like you are being hunted and harassed? Let me recommend that you personalize this psalm. Join with David in his song of confidence, “O Lord, you are a shield about me … Salvation belongs to the Lord.”

Now here in the Fourth Psalm, David is still running from Absalom. This time the theme of grace is added to David’s confidence.

Verse 1 says:

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

Where is the grace in that statement? It’s in the words “God of my righteousness.” David is claiming righteousness, but he realizes it comes from God, just as the Bible tells us that Abraham was counted as righteous because of his faith in God (James 2:23).

With confidence in God’s grace, David now extends grace to his enemies. He writes here in verse 4, “Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah.” There’s another selah. David is telling his enemies they had better slow down and think through where their sin is taking them. They need to put their trust in the Lord.

Did David’s enemies deserve the grace of God? No! But neither did David—or you or me. Now here in verse 6, David intercedes for others. And by the way, when we began this psalm, David was praying for himself; now he’s praying for others.

David’s circumstances have not changed, but his heart has. He is still on the run, but he says here in verse 8, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Let me tell you, beloved, there is no softer pillow than trusting in the power and plan of God.

Now in Psalm 5, David composes an honest prayer request. He begins by approaching God through the atoning sacrificial system of the Old Testament. In verse 3 he writes, “O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.”

Through the sacrificial system, David looked forward to the final sacrifice of Jesus. Today we look back at the final sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God.

Now here is David’s prayer request in verse 8: “Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.” Then down in verse 10 he adds this:

Let them fall by their own counsels; because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you.

Is David being vindictive? No. I think the rest of the psalm bears out the truth that he wants even his enemies to be at peace with God. He says in verse 11:

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.

Now with that I want to turn to Psalm 6, which we can call a reality check. A friend shared with me the thought that procrastination is a choice that delays God’s grace in your life. That is a good summary of this psalm; David is procrastinating confessing his sin to God.

David begins: 

O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled. (verses 1-2)

David has sinned—that’s why God is angry. And David has delayed his confession of sin. We know that from the description of his suffering—“languishing” takes time. He is now eaten up with a guilty conscience.

And let me tell you, procrastinating in confessing your sin is harmful in so many ways. We don’t know how long David delayed, but he says in verse 2 that he has troubled bones. Even his bones ache.

So, what is he waiting for? We don’t know. But the better question is this: What are you and I waiting for? Why does anybody put off repentance? It leads us to the same lonely place where we find David here.

David prays, “How long? Turn, O Lord” (verses 3-4). He feels disconnected, but he is also deceived by his sin. God has not turned His back on David; David has turned his back on God!

Delaying confession makes no sense, and David finally admits it here in verse 6: “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.”

Now, can we agree that moaning and weeping all over your furniture is not a good idea? There is no good reason to live like that. And David now stops waiting as well. Having confessed his sin, he says in verse 9, “The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer.”

Let me tell you, this psalm warns us of the self-inflicted wounds that come from unconfessed sin—loneliness, despair, even aching bones. But it also encourages us that it is never too late to confess. If you are procrastinating right now, God is patiently waiting with open arms, listening ears, and a heart that is ready to forgive.

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