263 – Psalm 3 – Verse by Verse

Psalm 3 is only eight verses long. You should read through it before continuing here. In a very real sense, reading this Psalm feels like we just picked up someone’s personal journal and read a very intimate communication between that person and God.

The superscription gives us a general idea of when it was penned and tells us precisely the occasion. “A psalm of David at his fleeing from the presence of Absalom, his son.”

Psalm 3:1(LEB)

1 Yahweh, how many are my enemies; many are rising against me. 

Verse one is written using the Hebrew poetic form of synonymous parallelism. The first thought is repeated by the next using different words that mean the same thing. In verse one David seems to be drawing Yahweh’s attention to his plight either because he is unable, or unwilling to stand against his enemies. How many times do we find ourselves in conflict, and of those times how many of them did we turn over to God allowing Him to fight on our behalf?

Psalm 3:2 (LEB)

2 Many are saying about my soul, “There is no deliverance for him from God. Selah 

David communicates his position to be perceived by “many” as quite dismal. Many or probably most people aware of the king’s situation don’t believe Yahweh will come to his aid. Maybe because they knew David had been anointed (selected by God) as the king, but now he has been unseated by a military coup. Their probable conclusion: Yahweh’s hand of blessing and protection had been lifted. You might say David had nowhere to look but up and he openly admits as much to God.

Incidentally, we are introduced to the word selah for the first time right here in Psalm three. It appears some 71 times in the book of Psalms. We know that it means “to lift up”, but no one knows for sure how it is to be understood when it appears. Many have suggested it may mean a musical rest or one is to pause and reflect on what has been said (or more accurately sung) up to this point.

Psalm 3:3 (LEB)

3 But you, Yahweh, are a shield around me, my glory and the one who lifts up my head. 

David knows some things about Yahweh. God protects him by being his shield – not just in front of him but all around him! If we recognize “glory” to be the recognition or praise others give for our actions, then David is saying I can’t deliver myself you are my glory or the one worthy of praise for my situation because it is your actions Yahweh that shine in my life. I believe the one who lifts up my head is referring to God lifting him out of depression and giving him hope.

Psalm 3:4 (LEB)

With my voice I call to Yahweh and he answers me from ⌊his holy hill⌋. Selah 

Knowing that God “can” deliver is not the same as actually asking Him to deliver. David doesn’t just think about asking God for help, he actually verbalized. He called to Yahweh. Did Yahweh ignore David? No. The remainder of verse four informs, “and He answers me….”.

Psalm 3:5 (LEB)

5 I lay down and slept; I woke up because Yahweh sustains me. 

There have been a few times in my life when I was so sick that I was actually surprised when I woke up the next morning. My first thought was “wow I’m still here” followed by “thanks, God!” 

Psalm 3:6 (LEB)

6 I am not afraid of the ten thousands of people who all around have set themselves against me. 

When I read verse six I know David is telling the truth because he’s talking to God and knows that you can’t lie to Him. But wow! I’ve never had ten thousand people all around who were determined to do me harm and I can pretty much guarantee that if I did I couldn’t say I’m not afraid!

Psalm 3:7 (LEB)

7 Rise up, O Yahweh; deliver me, O my God; for you strike all my enemies on the cheek. The teeth of the wicked you break. 

In the first six verses of this Psalm David demonstrates a correct assessment of his trouble and acknowledges Yahweh is the only one capable of getting him out of it. It is not until verse seven that David actually petitions Yahweh for help. This may indicate the strong faith David had in Yahweh’s ability and willingness to help him. I’m pretty sure my first words would be “Please God, HELP!’

Psalm 3:8 (LEB)

8 To Yahweh belongs deliverance; may your blessing be over your people. Selah

The last verse of this short yet powerful Psalm reflects the fact that David has completely backed away from his situation. Hands off, Yahweh owns deliverance and it’s totally up to Him if I am to be free.

Unexpectedly David ends by thinking about and even praying for Yahweh’s people, which I think is further evidence David truly had entered into a place of rest and confidence that God was in control.

What if we adjusted our hearts in the midst of hopeless situations as David had done? What if we refused to enter into battle no matter how justified we may be and simply allow Yahweh to decide the outcome?

Yahweh truly is worthy, oh so worthy of all praise, worship, and adoration.

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