A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.
1 O 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 are a shield around me, O LORD;
you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
4 To the LORD I cry aloud,
and he answers me from his holy hill.
5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
6 I will not fear the tens of thousands
drawn up against me on every side.
7 Arise, O LORD!
Deliver me, O 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.
Essay on Psalm 3
Augustine, Theodoret and many of the other early church fathers considered the title part of the inspired text. This is important because it lets us know that the author wants us to relate the Psalm to a specific event in David’s life. This Psalm is divided into four sections with two verses in each section. The first section consisting of v.1-2 state a need to God, v.3-4 state confidence in God, v.5-6 state trust or security in God and v.7-8 are a prayer to God. David states his situation to God in v.1-2. Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him,” parallels with Shimei cursing David and saying “the Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed.” He lets us know in v.3-4 that God is the one who controls his destiny and placed him as King as v.4’s designation as the one who lifts his head is a sign of Divine appointment. “I lay down and slept; I woke again” (v.5) shows that God is his protector and “I will not be afraid” (v.6) shows the comfort he has in God’s protection. In v.7, using a figurative interpretation, we can interpret “You strike all my enemies on the cheek” as the humbling of those who oppose David and “You break the teeth of the wicked as” God making those who oppose David speechless. The Psalm ends stating deliverance belongs to God as the main point in this Psalm.
Thinking of the Author as David as he fled from his son, it is easy to see that this psalm is telling us that no matter what comes our way (v.1) even if it is deserved (v.2, 2 Samuel 12:11), when we call on the Lord we can count on Him protecting (v.5), comforting (v.6) and in the end saving us (v.7, 8). If we forgive those who oppose us and allow God to take vengeance when we are being attacked, then He will humble and quiet those who are against us (v.7.)
We can see in v.3 “a shield” implies that it is God that intervenes in our life to protect us from dangers. “The lifter of my head” implies that it is God that gives us our positions in life. “My glory” tells us that our glory, or the way others perceive us, is under God’s control. This glory looks to the New Testaments honor that comes from the Holy Spirit that dwells inside us.
This Psalm also shows us how in times when we are downhearted we should look at the times in the past when God has been there to help and comfort us. In v.4 David looks back at the times he had cried aloud to the Lord and God answered him. We should always remember that our God is there looking down on His Holy Hill awaiting for us to cry arise, O’Lord and save me, so He can look down upon us as a king surveying his kingdom for the cries that come from below.
Significance. This Psalm applies to believers today, because it lets us know that even if we live by faith, pain and problems will still come. But we can always look back on God and has He has helped us in the past. He will sustain us and restore us. It also restates that vengeance belongs to the lord and that he will take care of our enemies, we must just be still and know that he is God.
C.H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David Volume 1, Old Time Gospel Hour Edition (Thomas Nelson, Nashville TN) 25
Zondervan NIV Study Bible (Fully Revised)(Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan) 1054
2 Samuel 16:8
Peter C. Craige, Psalms 1-50 World Biblical Commentary (Word Books, Waco, Texas, 1983) 74
Peter C. Craige, Psalms 1-50 World Biblical Commentary (Word Books, Waco, Texas, 1983) 75
John Goldingay, Psalms Volume 1 Baker Commentary on the Old Testament (Baker Academic, Grand Rapids Michigan,2006)114
This verse predicts David’s Kingdom being taken from him as a punishment for his sin.
Assuming we have repented and asked forgiveness. see Psalm 51
Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms volume 1 NIVAC (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2002) 137
John Goldingay, Psalms Volume 1 Baker Commentary on the Old Testament (Baker Academic, Grand Rapids Michigan,2006)113