The Gospel for Real Life

Christ in Psalms – 3

So far, we have seen that Jesus really is the Blessed Man and also that those who trust in the Anointed One are truly blessed.  As we approach Psalm 3, we find David communicating truth to our everyday situations when people turn against us and accuse us of not being blessed by God.

The situation surrounding this psalm is bleak.  Absalom has staged a coup, and David (along with some individuals) has left Jerusalem to hide for safety.  By the writing of this Psalm, Absalom probably has an army of somewhere between 12,000 to 20,000 individuals (2 Sam. 17:1, 11, 18:7).  People consider him a man of blood (2 Sam. 16:7-8).  People think Absalom is their answer – although Absalom stole their hearts (2 Sam. 15:6).  This psalm reveals another accusation that people make, “There is no help for him in God.”  David has heard the accusations.  These are very serious claims, and no matter how “spiritual” you are, this is an intensely difficult situation.  Have you ever found yourself in a situation where family members, church family or friends make false accusations against you?  Where do you turn?

This psalm begins by David calling out to the covenant-keeping God.  “LORD” is the Hebrew word for Yahweh.  This is the personal name of God.  Even though others are claiming that he has no hope in God, David continues to call out to God in personal terms.  Yet, that does not mean that he is not facing difficulty.  People have increased against him to trouble him and breed accusations against him.

Since this is a song for the people of Israel to sing, David is also writing this to allow us to ponder and meditate on similar situations in our own life.  While the meaning of the word “Selah” is not definitely known, many believe it to be a term indicating a musical interlude – calling people to ponder what was just written.  Therefore, David says, “People are rising up against me.  They’re saying I have no hope in you.  Now, people who are singing this, ponder this type of situation.  Ponder what it must be like.”

David then moves his attention away from temporal realities to eternal truth.  This should be a great encouragement to all of us who are reading because many times when we face difficulty, we simply re-direct our attention to something else temporal instead of truly meditating on God.  But God is Who we really need.  Therefore, David meditates and preaches the good news of God’s salvation to his own soul.  We see three things that David brings out:

  1. Yahweh is a shield about him.  The word “about” is a strong Hebrew preposition.  Therefore, David is saying that God’s shield is surrounding him with complete protection.  In God David finds real salvation, real protection.
  2. Yahweh is his glory.  This seems to mean that David finds his glory in the Lord.  He rejoices in God.  From an earthly perspective, there are many things that can bring happiness to our hearts, but in comparison to God, it all pales.  God is His child’s glory and joy!  Even this truth indicates to David that he is one of God’s children and that there is help for him in God.  The Bible says that we love God because He first loved us (1 Jn. 4:19).  If David loves God, then God obviously loves him.
  3. Yahweh lifts up David’s head.  This means that God takes away shame and disgrace and gives him the zeal to move forward.
David then goes on to repeat his time of prayer to the Lord.  He is confident that the Lord heard him from His holy hill.  This could be referencing David’s sorrowful lament in 2 Samuel 15:30.  If so, we know that nothing has changed from outward perceptions yet David is confident that God has heard his plea.  In the same way, we may not see situations change around us, but if we are God’s children.  If God is our shield, our glory and the lifter of our head, then we can be confident that God hears us even today from His holy hill (Heb. 12:22ff)!
Selah.
What is the conclusion for David, and how should we respond if we find ourselves in circumstances like Psalm 3 describes?  David says we ought to be able to sleep.  This is one of the most vulnerable states in which we can put ourselves.  Yet David knows that if God is his shield, he can even sleep.  Even in less turbulent times, the only reason he awakes is because God sustained him.  So, why should he be afraid if literally ten thousands of people are set all around him?  God’s shield is stronger than his enemies.
Now David calls upon the Lord to make visible what he knows to be true.  And, we Christians today ought to have the same attitude.  Just as Jesus said, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).  We ought to be crying out for God to act on His promises.  We ought to want God to do things that only He can do.  He has promised.  Now ask!
David’s confidence rises as he meditates on the defeat of the enemies.  They have been shamed (“struck on the cheekbone”) and have lost their control (“broken the teeth”).  While God’s enemies can kill, they do not have the power to eternally destroy.  Therefore, all of God’s enemies have been put to shame.  And, if we fast forward to the cross and resurrection, we see that most clearly (Col. 2:15).
David concludes all of this by saying, “Salvation belongs to the LORD.”  He again addresses Yahweh.  He is the God of salvation.  This phrase is also used in Revelation 7:10: “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”  The Scriptures are clear that God does not share His glory with any other yet the Bible makes clear that Jesus is also Yahweh (Joel 2:32, Rom. 10:13, Rev. 7:10).  Now, from our perspective, we clearly see that Jesus (the Christ) is the One from whom salvation flows, and since He grants salvation, we must run to Him for our comfort!
If anyone has really experienced this great salvation from the Messiah, they will pray like David, “Let your blessing be upon Your people.”  David still prays for the other Jewish people who have revolted against him.  He knows that God’s salvation is rich towards him, and God delights in rescuing others.  We must have the same attitude of humility.  We must revel in God and then pray that His power is evident in more majestic ways in circumstances of life and through saving others around us.
Selah.
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