The context of Psalm 3 deals with David’s great betrayal at the hands of his own son, Absalom, whom he dearly loved (2 Sam. 18:33). Absalom had driven his father from the holy city, Jerusalem, and was seeking to usurp his kingdom and take his life. David’s guilt as a failed father towards his rebellious son must have been unbearable. Adding to that the guilt of his own sin with Bathsheba and the murder of his close friend, and her husband, Uriah the Hittite (2 Sam. 11:15), may have caused David to feel Absalom’s actions were justified, a fitting penalty for the sins of David’s past.
The future looked bleak. There was division within his own family. To regain his kingdom he would have to wage war against his own son, forcing him to repay evil for evil to the one he loved. God was grieved and David was unsure as to what to do.
There is much for us to learn about God and our own problems in this psalm. Note, for example, what happens when we, like David, focus on our problems and what others say about our situation:
Psalm 3:1-2 – LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.”
But now, the focus has shifted from what is before us to our God and all He has promised. You can almost feel David’s faith begin to grow:
Psalm 3:3-4 – But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the LORD with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.
As Corrie ten Boom once said, “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”
David realizes God has not abandoned him. He has cried out to his Lord, our Lord, and his voice had been heard. God was still on His throne and He still loved his son, David, no matter how desperate the circumstances. The same truth applies to each of us when we get our focus off our problems— the immediate, the overwhelming, and focus instead on what lasts— the Eternal, the Lord, the Sovereign One.
And the result of that change in focus? No more fear. Rest and peace in the face of turmoil. Confidence in Him and Him alone. “God’s got this. I’ve nothing to fear.”
Psalm 3:5-6 – I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
After all, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). Great question. Answer, no one. Not even Absalom.
This thought brings great courage to David. God is not finished with him yet. Today and tomorrow are just setbacks. But God’s plan endures to all generations.
Finally, that confidence is expressed in action. David, and each of us, find our prayers going from “Help me, please, for I am dying” to “Arise, O Lord” and do what You promised to do for your children.
Psalm 3:7-8 – Arise, O LORD; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongs to the LORD. Your blessing is upon Your people
Did you get that? “Your (God) blessing is upon Your (God) people.”
The End from the Beginning
One final thought, did you notice all of God’s actions are recorded in the past tense (have struck, have broken)? That’s right. For the child of God, we can rest in faith knowing what God has promised to do has already been done in the eyes of the Lord. His Word never changes. If God promises to do something for us, in faith, it’s already done. It’s finished, established, completed, done. Time is a construct of man, not of God. He sees everything, past, present and future, in real time. Scripture calls that seeing “the end from the beginning” (Isa, 46:10). We simply have to rest, by faith, in the completed work of the Lord even though our eyes may see, for a time, something quite different.
David saw Absalom’s rebellion and his kingdom, the one promised to David by the Lord, ripped from his hands. But not God. None of that surprised Him. God knew how all of that was going to turn out and His knowledge of the future was not based on changing circumstances, but on what He had promised David in the past. What was currently happening, in God’s eyes, were merely details.
So we should also live our lives with the same focus on Him, with eyes of faith, seeing the truth of what God sees and not what our circumstances cause us to fear. The promises our faithful God has made to each of us are true, and will come to pass, regardless of how dark and bleak our circumstances may seem today. And living in the reality of this faith, to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7), will give us the peace and assurance in Him that will help us know our Lord sustains us and gives us the confidence to proclaim, even in the midst of the battle, “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around” (Ps. 3:6).
Psalm 3:8 – Salvation belongs to the Lord, Your blessing is upon Your people.
The “Your people” also include you and me, those chosen in Him “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). And His blessing is upon His people. Take a moment, stop fretting, and rest in that.
Pray for the Lord to open your eyes today to see the wonder of His grace and sovereignty in all things (Ps. 115:3) and to teach you how to live like children of the Most High God (Rom. 8:17). Which, as incredible as it sounds, you are.
Praise be His Name!