“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.’ SELAH
“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. SELAH
“I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me (protected me). I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. 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. SELAH”
David is literally running from his enemies (his son, Absalom to be exact, who led a rebellious revolt of thousands against his father’s leadership). So, in my mind, not only is David physically overwhelmed by his enemies’ pursuit, but the emotions of the battle must have consumed him.
Sometimes our enemies have two legs and two arms, but most of the time our enemies come in the form of fear, anxiety, anger, despair…The enemy of our soul casts his forces of evil upon us and does everything he can to overwhelm us.
But God is the victor and God is with us.
This psalm is one of the first praise songs I learned as a young Christian. I can remember how faith would rise up within me as I began to understand who my God is! I felt like I could face anything and it would be okay because the Lord my God was and is a shield about me. He is faithful! He surrounds us with a hedge of protection. He fights the battle for us – IF we’ll let Him. IF we will completely rely upon Him, trust Him and place our hope in Him.
Sounds easy enough, but we both know how hard this can be. It takes a conscious decision of the will to hide behind the shield of the Lord and let Him fight our enemies.
I want you to read Psalm 3 from The Message. I have to admit that I am old enough to think that sometimes The Message is a little too loosey-goosey for me, but every once in awhile, its words can make a passage sing. This is one of those times. As I read the translation of Psalm 3 from The Message I could almost hear myself wrestling with my own faith during the heat of battle:
“GOD! Look! Enemies past counting! Enemies sprouting up like mushrooms, mobs of them all around me, roaring their mockery: ‘Hah! No help for him from God!’
“But You, GOD, shield me on all sides; You ground my feet, you lift my head high; With all my might I shout up to GOD, His answers thunder from the holy mountain.
“I stretch myself out. I sleep. Then I’m up again – rested, tall and steady, fearless before the enemy mobs coming at me from all sides.
“Up, GOD! My God, help me! Slap their faces, first this cheek, then the other, Your fist hard in their teeth! Real help comes from GOD. Your blessing clothes Your people!”
Did you catch yourself taking a few swings?! I sure did!
I leave you with an observation by Matthew Henry, “In Psalm 3 David wept and prayed, wept and sung, wept and believed; this was sowing in tears. Is any afflicted? Let him pray.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible).
SELAH. Pause and calmly think about it.
Praise you Father! Thank you for the victory You offer us. Thank You for hearing our cries for help. You are awesome, God, full of power and mercy for Your children. Teach us to run to You and hide behind Your shield of glory when the enemy seeks to destroy us. Help us see that image in our minds. Thank You, Lord. We love You.