An Unwilling Rebel

Psalm 5 was written at the end of 1Samuel 20, and forms an important background for the actions of David in the later chapters of 1Samuel. David did not relish being forced into the role of a rebel. But neither was he willing to embrace a false peace. This Psalm gives the necessary ingredients for maintaining the careful balance needed when the state forces you into civil disobedience.

Introduction: Psalm 5 setting the tone for 1 Samuel 21ff.

We are continuing our studies in the life of David, and I wanted to discuss Psalm 5, because it is one of the Psalms that David wrote at the end of 1Samuel chapter 20. We are going to be getting into some really juicy chapters in the future, but both Psalm 5 and Psalm 133 form a very important context for what is going to happen in the next chapters. It shows how to rebel against tyranny without becoming a real rebel.

This is the first of several treasonous psalms. And by treasonous, I don't mean actually treasonous. He was a Patriot when he wrote this Psalm. But Saul would interpret this Psalm as treason and rebellion. It's always the way it is any time tyranny is resisted. And of course David could respond that it was really Saul who was the traitor because he broke covenant with God and with Israel, he was the one who broke the constitution, and he was the one who ran roughshod over the rights of the people. He was the real rebel. In fact, the last phrase of verse 10 says exactly that about Saul's administration. It says, "for they have rebelled against You."

But Saul didn't see it that way. His desires had become the highest law of the land. And by the time we got to chapter 20 we saw that David was forced to flee from Saul. He had done everything he could to maintain peace. In fact, Psalm 133 is a complement to Psalm 5, because it longs for a God-given peace, but is not willing to settle for a false humanistic peace. And David had done everything in his power to make things work with Saul. He had overlooked numerous evil things Saul had already done. He had petitioned Saul. He had asked Jonathan to petition Saul. He had even been willing to forgive previous attempts on his own life. But now he had no choice. He fled, and by his very fleeing he was considered a rebel.

And I think there are a lot of parents in America who can identify with David. They have had their children taken from them just like David had his wife stripped from his arms. They have had their civil rights removed from them. They are treated as guilty without a court trial, without the right to face their accuser, without the right to be secure in the persons, houses, papers, and effects, and without any ability to sue CPS agents who have been caught breaking the law. Those CPS agents have immunity. Over the past year the Jackson family has been without their children, and despite the fact that CPS has broken their own rules and has not been able to prove a thing (other than that the Jacksons homeshool and are Christians), the Jackson's are assumed guilty until they can prove their innocence to the satisfaction of CPS. It is horrible. These parents' hands have been totally tied. Because of the outrageous laws that have been passed in the last four decades, we have parents going through the grief and anguish that David went through.

And here's the weirdness of it - any who have said, "we aren't going to fight anymore. We are going to leave," and who successfully fled from the tyranny with their family have been treated as kidnappers, felons, and rebels. How can you kidnap your own kids? These kids love their parents. Some of you have been following the incredibly sad story of an unnamed mother and daughter who have had to flee from the country so that her daughter would not be ripped away from the only mother she has known and forced to live with a lesbian who is not her biological mother or adoptive mother. The true mother and daughter are on the run to protect the daughter from sexual and other abuse. And yet this mother is being treated as a criminal – just like David was. You might think that this couldn't happen in the good old US of A. But it is happening too often. And like David, these people are unwilling rebels. They feel like they don't have a choice because we have a CPS that is out of control. We have a court system that is out of control and awards custody to a woman that the Bible would condemn as worthy of death. Everything is becoming upside down in America. And we may very well find more and more situations where Christians will have to engage in civil disobedience and become unwilling rebels. And when I say unwilling, I mean unwilling. Like General Robert E. Lee I believe that we must not relish rebellion but must try to do everything short of rebellion before resorting to disobedience. David was an unwilling rebel when he wrote this Psalm. Yes, he was on the run, but let's look at the godly character of his rebellion.

This ‘rebel' was in total submission to God, not in rebellion to God (vv. 1-3)

First, this so-called rebel was in total submission to God. Some modern Patriots seem to be in rebellion against everything and everybody (including God), and they certainly are not rebelling in a Biblical fashion. But David's conscience was clean and clear before God. He was in fellowship with God. Let's read verses 1-3:

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I will pray. My voice you will hear in the morning, O LORD; In the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.

God-centered vision

I see David's submission manifested in three ways. First, as David was on the run, his vision remained God-centered. He directed His thoughts to God and says, "I will look up." If we would do that when tyrants consider us rebels, God would consider us faithful. But the moment we step out from under God's authority, we have no authority to resist evil righteously. Paine was an atheist in the First American War for Independence, and most of the founding fathers didn't trust him and found him scary because he didn't see himself as being under God's authority. They didn't want to have anything to do with the Jacobins of the French Revolution. They knew that any rebellion outside the authority of God would lead to worse forms of tyranny. For them, King George was throwing off the Lordship of Christ, and resistance to tyranny had become obedience to God. Even Thomas Jefferson used that phrase. Why? Because America was pervasively God-centered. So the first characteristic of David's resistance was that it was God-centered.

A chain of command that saw God as king

But there is not just an issue of vision. There is also the practical issue of the chain of command for rebels. Notice that David calls God "my King." Saul was not his only king. There was a king above Saul. A country is in a pretty sad state of affairs when it says, "We have no king but Caesar." But let me tell you something – the country is in an even worse state of affairs when the people rebel against Caesar but don't have any higher authority to appeal to. God is not interested in a "Don't tread on me" autonomous rebellion. He wants our rebellion to be a "Don't treat on God's law" rebellion. At every point David shows himself to be one who is under authority.

When we see a King above all kings, we see a chain of authority. That's why in verse 10 David could say that the people opposing him were rebelling against God. He's got moral ground to stand on in his rebellion. Just as a sergeant who directly countermands the lieutenant or captain has no authority to do so, a state that bucks its chain of command, which includes the Constitution and God's law, has no authority to command what it commands. If God is my King, I cannot give absolute, implicit, and blind obedience to the state without insulting King Jesus. All authority must be seen as delegated in a chain of command. When we see that God is God it keeps us from making the state into a God-substitute.

Even though our politicians ignore the national motto – one nation under God, we can keep that perspective constantly in mind when we oppose the tyranny of the state as David did. Some people criticize the mother and the daughter from fleeing from the state. The Bible would command it. Jesus didn't say "turn yourself in to all tyrants." He said, "when they persecute you in this city, flee to the next"(Matt. 10:43). Fleeing is one of many forms of resistance that we will see David modeling. So seeing God as his king kept David from making too much of the state, but it also kept him from getting hot headed and seeing the contest as between them and us. The contest for David was always between them and God, and he sought to serve God faithfully. So first, David was in submission to God. Second, David saw God as truly being his king and Israel's king. There is a chain of command that begins with God.

A heart submission manifested in worship and prayer

The third thing about this submission to God was that it manifested itself in worship and prayer. This was not just a theoretical concept. Verses 1-3 are so clear on that. God cannot bless a prayerless resistance to tyranny. God is not in the business of overthrowing tyranny and replacing it with autonomy. Both are a stench in His nostrils. In fact, He uses tyrants to wake His autonomous people up to a sense of dependence and to make them cry out to Him once again as David was doing. Then He punishes tyrants as well. But when rebels are characterized as prayer warriors, you will know that it is a rebel movement that is not in rebellion against God. As David fled from Saul this Psalm gave him a proper perspective.

This "rebel" was siding with God, not siding with rebellion (vv. 4-6)

This so-called ‘rebel' was siding with God, not siding with rebellion. We have already touched on that, but it bears emphasizing. Let's read verses 4-6.

Psalms 5:4 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,

Nor shall evil dwell with You.

Psalms 5:5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;

You hate all workers of iniquity.

Psalms 5:6 You shall destroy those who speak falsehood;

The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

Wow! Talk about words that would be offensive to king Saul. But notice whose offense David is most concerned about – God's. David is not angry because his rights have been taken away. David is angry because God's glory, God's name, God's law, and God's purposes are being opposed. He doesn't exclude his own feelings in this Psalm. But when he gives his reason as to why God should overthrow this tyranny, he gives exclusively God-centered reasons. If the resistance to tyranny in our nation were characterized by the reasons given in this Psalm, I believe we would have tremendous blessing and success. But if the only reason we are angry against the state is because the state has hurt our pocket book, or inconvenienced us with its bureaucracy, or indebted our children, or made life difficult for our business, we will not have the fortitude to resist for the long haul. A government can buy off those kinds of attitudes. But you cannot buy off a religious fanatic like David who is consumed with the glory of God. Let's go through each of these phrases. I think they are important.

David is siding with God's happiness, not His own (v. 4a)

His first reason for why God should bring Saul down is not that his pursuit of happiness is being robbed. David's first reason is that He is siding with God's happiness. Look at verse 4 again. "For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness." What a wonderful truth that is! God takes no pleasure in the evil that is dominating our culture! And if David is consumed with fulfilling God's pleasure, He is going to be consumed with pushing back the evil in his nation. He is siding with God's pleasures.

But this in turn gives David incredible zeal. Think about that phrase. It means that God hates what is going on in America. Don't ever fall into the trap of thinking that things are the way they are because God wants them to stay that way. That is a faulty reading of divine sovereignty. Yes God controls history, but Genesis 6:6 says that God was grieved in His heart over the wickedness of man. And this verse says He takes no pleasure in wickedness. The Scripture declares that God's pleasure is to see righteousness fill the earth; God's pleasure is to see Satan vanquished; Luke 12:32 says, "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

God's pleasure is already committed to righteousness filling the earth and He calls for the church to agree with Him through its prayers and through its actions. It is the church, not God, which is holding back reformation according to Isaiah 62. If our rebellion is siding with rebellion for rebellion's sake we will get nowhere. But if our resistance is because we are passionate for God's cause, we will have what it takes to last for the longhaul.

David is siding with God's intolerance, not his own (v. 4b)

He goes on to say, "nor shall evil dwell with You." That indicates that it is not God's desire for evil to stick around for a long time. God has not given settlers rights to evil. We can appeal to God's intolerance and His reluctance to let evil camp out. Since God has claimed the world and the fullness thereof, then evil must abandon its claim to the world. We are praying that God's will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. In heaven evil cannot and does not dwell with God. We are praying that the same would be true on earth.

As long as Christians look to secular solutions to America's problems, we will not have long-term success. There is a whole long lineup of rebels who have discovered that it is a good thing to act as rebels against the "system." Some of these critics of the system are running for president, some are running for congress, and some are running for themselves. But as they are running you might ask yourself if they could passionately pray the words of verses 4-6. If not, be a little bit skeptical if they have what it takes to overthrow tyranny.

David is siding with God's glory, not his own pride (v. 5a)

David then appeals to God's Holy Presence. "The boastful shall not stand in Your sight." Wow! That rules out a whole lot of candidates, doesn't it? The boastful shall not stand in your sight. Should we just pack up our bags and give up on politics since boastfulness seems to be such a part of American politics? And I would say "No." You might have to patiently wait and patiently build a foundation of like-minded people like David did. But you can't fight prideful arrogance with prideful arrogance. And that is what many conservatives are doing. So many wanna-be rebels just don't fit the description of David. Though he was called a rebel, he was really a humble man with a passion for the Lord.

David is siding with God's hatred, not his own (v. 5b)

You will notice that David is also siding with God's hatred, not his own. In fact, there is nothing of David in these reasons. David says, "You hate all workers of iniquity." Them's shocking words, aren't they? There are Christians that don't like to think about God's hatred of wicked men, but it is that hatred that causes God to do something against Satan's kingdom; that causes His wrath to burn against rebels. It was God's hatred that cast Lucifer and the other rebellious angels out of heaven. It was God's hatred of wicked men that caused God to pour out His wrath on Christ as a substitute for sinners (otherwise he would have to hate you and me). And it is God's hatred of the wicked that guarantees that the church will triumph. If you are not convinced that God hates evil, you will not have a godly hatred for evil. Modern politicians hate certain evils and compromise with other evils – which shows to me that they don't have David's vision – "You hate all workers of iniquity." Again this shows that God is a God who cares about the state of America and has every motivation needed to change things. The only thing God is waiting for is the church to care as much and to begin to pray in earnest that the wicked would be destroyed either through conversion or through other means and the kingdom established.

David is siding with God's judgment, not his own (v. 6a)

Verse 6 appeals to the many prophecies that God will judge evil men. "You shall destroy those who speak falsehood." Try saying those words on the floor of Congress. You will be labeled a rebel right quick. But if you don't believe in historical judgments by God Himself, why even pray to Him? The fact is that Jesus commanded us in Luke 18 to pray day and night for vengeance against the atrocities and evils happening in our world. If you want to be a rebel with a cause, get on your knees with God and start praying like the importunate widow of Luke 18. Listen to Christ's promise to the church if the whole church would do that (and I'm reading from the NASB): "…now shall not God bring about justice for His elect, who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them speedily." Do you long for justice to come out of DC, Des Moines, Lincoln, and other capitols? Then pray imprecations like the Southern Baptist preacher I have pictured for you. The problem in America is not that God won't come through for us. It is not that there are not enough rebels. It's that the rebels are rebelling against God's way of doing things themselves. They aren't willing to use God's tools. They aren't willing to ask God to destroy abortionists.

David is siding with God's revulsion, not his own (v. 6b)

And finally, David appeals to God's feelings of revulsion. "The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man." He didn't just abhor them back then. He abhors them right now. This is why I cannot vote for a person God abhors even if he is the lesser of two evils. We've got to get it into our bones that God abhors so much of what is happening in America. Now God will call some people to work within the system like Jonathan, and he will call other people like David and his cohorts to work outside the system. But both David and Jonathan were in rebellion against Satan's kingdom because they were in submission to God's. That's why Jonathan snuck away in 1Samuel 23 and encouraged David. They were on the same side even though they had different political strategies. But both were God-centered and both abhorred what God abhorred. With attitudes like that it was only a matter of time before David got on the throne.

Those three verses remove any doubt in my mind as to whether God cares about the triumph of good over evil in America. Of course He cares. In our prayers we do not come with an "I hope so" or wishful thinking. We pray according to the will of God; we pray God's desires. When we base our prayers on the character and the promises of God we can come with the absolute assurance of faith. Our prayers can be as sure as the character of God.

This morning I would urge you to measure the character of your rebellion against the rebellion of David. Are you in submission to God's law? If not, your rebellion is a lawless rebellion and will not be blessed. Is your rebellion more concerned with your own feelings than God's? If it is, I would urge you to ask God to make you a submissive rebel, a righteous rebel, and a God-centered rebel.

This "rebel" sought God's ongoing guidance, not doing what was right in his own eyes (vv. 7-8)

The third thing that I see in this Psalm is that this so-called rebel sought God's ongoing guidance. He was not doing what was right in his own eyes. Let's read verses 7-8.

Psalms 5:7 But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;

In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.

Psalms 5:8 Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies;

Make Your way straight before my face.

He was seeking God's will, God's leading, and God's call upon His life. When you know God is calling you to do something, you will do it no matter what the cost. If you doubt God's call, you may question whether it is worth it when times get tough. David was not an autonomous hothead. He was a man of God who sought God's guidance on everything. And because He knew He was following God's calling, he did not despair when things went bad; he did not give up when progress was slow. Instead he was sustained with the knowledge that if God be for us, who can be against us? It is my prayer that the tea party movement would have such an infusion of God-centered perspective that it would not be a flash-in-the-pan rebellion, but would be a rebellion against evil that is characterized by submission to God's will.

This "rebel" rebelled with God's sovereign authority, not with the autonomous "authority" of "we the people" (vv. 9-10)

Fourth, this so-called ‘rebel' rebelled with God's sovereign authority, not with the autonomous ‘authority' of ‘we the people.' In fact, in verses 9-10 David doesn't have too much trust in either those who are in government or in the common man. People are totally depraved and are to be bound down with the chains of the law, not idealized as sources of truth. Polls are meaningless if they are unfaithful to God. Party opinion is meaningless if it is opposed to God.

There are too many Christians who have a supreme trust in man, and what man thinks, and so they opt for democracy. But democracy is the tyranny of the 51%. Verse 9 could just as easily describe a democracy as it could a tyrannical dictatorship. It says, "For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is destruction; their throat is an open tomb; they flatter with their tongue." You may question whether it is appropriate for me to apply this passage to the average citizen or to democracy rather than simply applying it to Saul's administration as David did. But I do have the right to do this because Paul did. Romans 3 quotes that verse to prove that all humans are totally depraved apart from God's grace. And for David, this doctrine of total depravity informed his view of government. He hated centralized government because it was inconsistent with the doctrine of total depravity. He hated no government because it too is naïve about the nature of man. And if there had been anyone advocating democracy in his day, he would have hated that too because it is inconsistent with the doctrine of total depravity. This doctrine of total depravity made him realize that Israel had to once again return to being a republic, which it was under the judges, and which it would become again under him.

America was self-consciously patterned after the Hebrew Republic. I know some of you might be shocked at these words, but America was set up as a Republic, not a democracy. I wouldn't trust any politician further than I can throw him if he referred to America as being established as a democracy. Our founding fathers hated democracy. They had absolutely nothing good to say about democracy. Let me read to you some of their descriptions of democracy:

President Thomas Jefferson said, "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%." President John Quincy Adams said, "The experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived." James Madison said, "Democracy was the right of the people to choose their own tyrant." He knew that democracy would always result in tyranny. We have seen this in country after country around the world. We export democracy and are surprised at the blood bath. John Marshall said, "Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos." John Adams, our second president, said, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." In another place he said, "Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy; such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure." But I love Ben Franklin's description of democracy. He said, "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."

David is going to contest the vote of the people in the upcoming chapters because they were so intimidated by Saul that they won't vote in favor of liberty. And he is going to contest the vote of the king's military officers because they had been neutered and wouldn't stand up to the king. And he is certainly going to contest the ungodly laws that Saul is passing. In the next chapter we will see that David will violate Saul's new sword-confiscation laws because Saul had no authority to make those laws. But David didn't make that decision independently. He was not autonomous. He made his decisions from the Word of God. Every decision of rebellion against king Saul was an act of submission to the authority of God's law. That is the only thing that will prevent the endless and bloody revolutions that happen over and over again in some countries. Only in submission to God can any country have a successful resistance to tyranny that will not be replaced by yet another tyranny. We've got to understand Biblical civics or we will be hoodwinked by smooth-talking politicians.

Let's read verses 9-10 again.

Psalms 5:9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth;

Their inward part is destruction;

Their throat is an open tomb;

They flatter with their tongue.

Psalms 5:10 Pronounce them guilty, O God!

Let them fall by their own counsels;

Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions,

For they have rebelled against You.

David is praying for the complete overthrow of Saul's government because it had become so bad. But he realized that ultimately this is going to require more than votes. This was going to be a spiritual battle involving angels and demons. He had already experienced some of the demonic warfare when he was in the palace with Saul. But let me give you some hints of what is going on here.

The renowned Hebrew scholar Friedrich Delitzsch, pointed out that there is a play on words that clearly indicates that Satan is involved in what these evil people are doing. Another commentator says, "This description being true, we are practically compelled with Delitzsch to contend that there is something Satanic about their sin." (Leupold) The Hebrew indicates that destruction is more than just an attitude within these men; it was a being that was controlling these men. These men were indwelt with someone who destroys. Delitzsch points out that that phrase has a double meaning and can be translated as "their inward part is a yawning abyss;" another way of saying it is that hell is within these people. Likewise, Their throat is an open tomb. What comes out of their throat is the stench of death itself. Just as James speaks of the tongue being a world of iniquity and set on fire by hell itself, verse 9 is indicating that the smooth flatteries of these people are moved by an inward malevolent evil. But David words it in such a way that he doesn't let those people off the hook. People can never excuse their sin with the words, "The devil made me do it." No, we are free agents and accountable to God. It is our fault when we give a foothold to Satan. When Christ bound the power of Satan in one man's life He commanded the man, "Sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you."

These men may had started out freely engaging in sin, but Satan took advantage and bound them in their sins. That is what David is tackling in this prayer. He is rebelling against Satan. He's wrestling with demons just as Ephesians 6 says commands us to.

The first stronghold that David saw as a terrible problem was lying. In a previous sermon we saw that lying had become a stronghold for Saul. He couldn't seem to break out of the pattern of lying. I hope you can see parallels with our situation in DC, and why we need to be in the rebellion of prayer – intense imprecatory prayer. He says, "For there is no faithfulness in their mouth." You probably know people who grieve over the fact that they continually lie, yet they cannot seem to get a handle on it. Some people lie so continually that I am convinced they don't know what is a lie and what is the truth anymore. It's a stronghold.

The second stronghold is an inward destructive principle, and you have probably met people who are driven to destroy even the relationships that they love. It's demonic. He says, "Their inward part is destruction." Then he repeats the same two strongholds in different language. He says, "Their throat is an open tomb. They flatter with their tongue." So verse 9 is listing the problems and verse 10 tears them down.

Part of our resistance to tyranny must be the tearing down of strongholds and principalities that lie behind the political forces harassing us, and asking God for His verbal judgment. David says, "Pronounce them guilty, O God!" Or as another translation has it, "Judge them, O God!" or "Declare your judgment against them, O God." In spiritual warfare there is the need to invoke God's word of victory against the enemy. We have no power on our own. Even Christ used the Scripture to rebuke Satan and to pronounce him a defeated enemy. Zechariah 3:2 says, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you!" Jude 9 says that even Michael the archangel resisted Satan by saying "The LORD rebuke you!" It is God's rebukes; God's judgments; God's pronouncements that have power. Hebrews tells us that the Word of God is powerful and sharper than any two edged sword. That is not a figure of speech. That is a reality. 2 Corinthians 10 says, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds..." Never neglect this facet of warfare.

The next step that David takes after bringing God's declarations of judgment is to ask God to bind and frustrate their purposes. Verse 10 goes on to say, "Let them fall by their own counsels." God delights in doing just that. At the tower of Babel God caused the enemies camp to be divided against itself. Their own counsels caused them to fight against each other. And we can pray that those powers that are seeking to bring our nation into socialism and every other form of evil would be confused and would fall by their own counsels. When you think about it, the things that the Sodomites, the feminists, the ACLU and others are pushing for could be the very things that defeat them if their strategies could be exposed. They are destructive to the nation if only the people would realize it. Pray that God would confuse, bind, frustrate their purposes; that their counsel would appear foolish, ineffective and impotent. If God cuts off their ability to communicate effectively as at Babel, their power is hindered.

And then David asks God to destroy their power to rebel. "Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against You." Have you noticed that in this psalm everyone is a rebel against something? It is unavoidable. You are either in rebellion against Satan or you are in rebellion against God. Being a rebel is an inescapable concept.

What would it take to cast the fifty or so wicked organizations that have captured Washington D.C. completely out of power? They are not invincible. God could use any number of means to throw them out of power. Let me give you one example - economic collapse. Think of it. The funding for most liberal causes would dry up overnight. Christians don't need to fear an economic collapse if they are not living like the liberals. Its true, we will have to make large sacrifices in our standard of living, but God may very well be answering our prayers in ways we do not want, by allowing further deficit spending. I don't know how God will gain the victory in America, but I have confidence that He will as the church rises up and begins to enter into warfare praying. All of this is rebellion, but it is the rebellion of prayer against the kingdom of Satan.

This "rebel" longed for peace, not for war (vv. 11-12; cf. Ps. 133)

But the last thing that characterized David's rebellion was that this so-called rebel longed for peace, not for war. Let's read verses 11-12.

Psalms 5:11 But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;

Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;

Let those also who love Your name

Be joyful in You.

Psalms 5:12 For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous;

With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

This parallels a Psalm that some people believe he wrote during this period, Psalm 133. We won't have time to preach on it, but let me at least read it.

Psalms 133:1 ¶ Behold, how good and how pleasant it is

For brethren to dwell together in unity!

Psalms 133:2 It is like the precious oil upon the head,

Running down on the beard,

The beard of Aaron,

Running down on the edge of his garments.

Psalms 133:3 It is like the dew of Hermon,

Descending upon the mountains of Zion;

For there the LORD commanded the blessing—

Life forevermore.

David did not idealize war. He loved peace. But he did not love peace at any cost. He considered that slavery. Instead, he fought for peace. And if there is one thing that the upcoming chapters in 1Samuel will make clear, David had little respect for people who let tyranny come without a fight. On the other hand, David rebuked men like Joab who loved fighting for the sake of fighting.

John Frame wrote an interesting article called Machen's Warrior Children, which takes some of the things I have been applying to civics and applies them to the church*.* It's very interesting. The liberalism of the 50's called for bold resistance from the church, and there were a lot of great warriors that God raised up to defend the ancient doctrines of the faith. They stood up for the inerrancy of Scripture, the sufficiency of the Scripture, the existence of miracles, the resurrection of Jesus, the virgin birth, and many other doctrines that had come under attack. But what happened over time was that some of these people began to like being in constant attack mode. Once they left the liberal denominations or got kicked out, they began fighting on smaller doctrines within their denominations, and when they left those, they began fighting with the eldership over petty things. And I know at least one pastor who left his church and formed a home church, and after kicking out everybody, all he was left with was his own family, and at one point he barred even his wife from communion. That was a rebel who did not long for God's peace. He rebelled for the sake of rebellion. We call that pugnaciousness. And Titus 3:10 tells us to reject such a divisive person after the first or second admonition. He wanted the churches to have nothing to do with such a person. That is a rebel who is all too willing to be rebellious for the wrong reasons and in the wrong ways.


I worry when I see people in churches, in politics, in the military, or in families who love fighting for the sake of fighting. David was as good at fighting as anyone. But he fought for righteousness and he fought for peace. And he knew what made for peace. It wasn't the presence of perfection. Anyone who becomes perfectionist in their approach to family government, church government, or civil government will get himself in trouble. David was willing to put up with a great deal of imperfection. If you are rebelling against your family because it is imperfect, that is not a good enough reason. Rebellion is a last resort, as David illustrates.

What David was looking for was sinners who were humble enough to recognize their own sin, and to fight against it. That's more important than fighting against other people's sins. He was looking for sinners who loved God's grace enough to apply it on a daily basis in their own lives and to give grace to others. He was looking for sinners who were willing to fight when God's grace was getting overturned. He was looking for sinners who distrusted sinners enough that they wanted the restraints of Biblical law imposed upon both the governed and the governors. He would have been shocked at the modern "grace movement" that has little to no place for law. The law prepares us for grace and grace prepares us to rightly appreciate the law. David was looking for sinners who were impatient with tyranny but patient with sinners who confessed their faults. David wasn't always successful in maintaining this balance, but he was the most balanced rebel I know of. And I hope you rebel against Satan's tyranny by taking heed to the cautions in this Psalm. Amen.

Charge: Brothers and sisters, we need rebels against Satan's kingdom. But I would urge you to model your resistance to evil after that of the unwilling rebel, David.

An Unwilling Rebel is part of the Life of David series published on May 1, 2011

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