Text: Psalm 3
Observe: Today, I’d like to share with you my thoughts on Psalm 3. King David wrote it as he was fleeing Jerusalem ahead of a rebellion lead by his own son, Absalom.
1 Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”
3 But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
4 I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
6 I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.
7 Arise, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.
8 From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.
Interpret: The story of King David and his son Absalom is a tragic one. It’s the story of a father’s love and a son’s rebellion. Psalm 3 was written by David at a particularly stormy time in their relationship which eventually ends very badly. In time, King David comes to the sad realization that his son’s behavior was just a reflection of his own sins. You can read their whole story in 2nd Samuel.
From the time Absalom returned from Hebron to Jerusalem, he quietly plotted against his father, subtly currying favour with the people, biding his time until, in an act of deception and betrayal, Absalom deposed his father, causing David to flee from his kingdom and his throne. Psalm 3 records the desperate cries of a father’s heart pierced by the betrayal of his much loved son.
As David flees with his remaining faithful followers, the magnitude of his loss weighs heavily on his heart and mind. The accusations of his enemies ring in his ears, “There is no salvation for him in God” (Ps 3:2). He has been forced from his throne even though the Lord himself said, “I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill” (Ps 2:6). He began to doubt whether God would still rescue him. Perhaps his accusers were right. Perhaps David had sinned so greatly that he no longer found favor with God. Perhaps he was utterly forsaken and this would be the end of his life, fleeing from his own son, Absalom.
But this wasn’t the first time King David had feared for his life. He had many well-worn paths in his heart for times of distress, and he remembered his only real source of hope, and “cried aloud to the Lord” (Ps 3:4). Emphatically, he pleads, “Arise, O LORD! Save me, O my God!” Wondering if he would ever escape the clutches of his pursuers, David reminds the Lord, “You strike all my enemies on the cheek” (Ps 3:7). Despite his fearfulness over his safety, David was exhausted from fleeing, so he “laid down and slept”, unsure of whether or not the Lord will listen.
When he awakes, David praises God, “for the LORD sustained me” (Ps 3:5). In times of crisis even little things, like sleep, become daily opportunities for us to express our gratitude to the One who sustains us. In the uncertainty of our challenges, the Lord is “a shield about me.” In the shame of rejection, the Lord is “my glory.” In the defeat of despair, the Lord is “the lifter of my head” (Ps 3:3).
Application: Listening to this story in the life of King David, we are reminded of the story of another King. This King, too, was betrayed by one of his most intimate friends. There were many who rose up against him. He was denied his rightful throne and was mockingly portrayed as, “The King of the Jews.” This King, too, felt forsaken because he was utterly forsaken by His own people. However, when He lay down, He slept in the grave and rose triumphantly because His Father sustained Him. So King Jesus can boldly announce to our heavenly Father, “May your blessing be on your people!” (Ps 3:8). Therefore, as His people, looking to the salvation He brought for us, we can defiantly reply to our accusers, “Deliverance comes from the LORD!” (Ps 3.8). In all our tribulations, the Lord is our blessing.
Questions: Have you ever experienced a time when your world came crashing down around you? To whom did you turn in your time of need?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we know that you are our only and ultimate source of help. When events in our lives turn out badly for us, we know that we find our refuge in you. You are our fortress and strong tower against all adversity. On you we rely for all our needs, our comfort, and our salvation. You are more than our Deliverer. You are our ultimate blessing. In the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Song: Song of Deliverance – Zach Williams
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