Psalm 3 - A Morning Prayer For God's Protection
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. ” Selah
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. Selah
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. Selah
Psalm 3 - NIV
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS PSALM
1) To note how historical events often served as the impetus for the writing of particular psalms
2) To observe the use and possible meaning of the word "Selah"
3) To consider how David trusted in the Lord to deliver him from his enemies
The heading attributes this psalm to David, composed as he was fleeing from his son Absalom (cf. 2Sa 15-18). It is commonly called "a morning hymn" (cf. v. 5) in which the psalmist prays for God's protection.
David addresses his complaint to the Lord, how there be many who trouble him. They even taunt him by saying there is no help from God for him (cf. the curses of Shimei, 2Sa 16:5-8). In this psalm (and in many others) we find the word "Selah". The exact meaning is unknown, but it may have served the purpose of providing some musical notation. It seems to be inserted where a pause is desirable for the singer or reader of the psalm to reflect upon the thought or statement just made (1-2).
Following his complaint is an expression of comfort received from the Lord in the past. Such consolation prompts him to view the Lord as a shield and his glory, the One who is able to lift up his head. Indeed, the Lord has heard his earlier cry and enabled him to sleep and awake. This gives him renewed courage to face his many enemies (cf. 2 Sam 18:7), even though they numbered in the thousands (3-6).
As he starts the new day, he yet again calls upon the Lord to save him, even as He has done in the past. His "morning hymn" ends with the acknowledgment of God as the source of salvation and blessing for His people (7-8).
I. DAVID'S COMPLAINT (3:1-2)
A. MANY TROUBLE HIM (1)
B. MANY RISE UP AGAINST HIM (2)
C. MANY SAY THERE IS NO HELP FROM GOD FOR HIM (2)
II. DAVID'S COMFORT (3:3-6)
A. WHAT GOD IS TO HIM (3) 1. His shield and glory 2. The One who lifts his head
B. WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR HIM (4-6) 1. Heard his cry from His holy hill 2. Sustained him during sleep 3. Given him courage against ten thousands of men
III. DAVID'S CRY (3:7-8)
A. FOR DELIVERANCE BY GOD (7) 1. To arise and save him 2. As God has done in the past a. Having struck his enemies on the cheekbone b. Having broken the teeth of the ungodly
B. OF PRAISE TO GOD (8) 1. Salvation belongs to God 2. His blessing is upon His people
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE PSALM
1) What are the main points of this psalm? - David's complaint (1-2) - David's comfort (3-6) - David's cry (7-8)
2) Who is the author of this psalm, and what occasion led to its composition? - David - When he was fleeing from Absalom
3) What was David's complaint? (1) - Many have risen against him, to trouble him
4) What were people saying about David? Who in particular said such things? (2) - There is no help for him from God - Shimei, son of Gera, of the house of Saul (cf. 2Sa 16:5-8)
5) What is the meaning of the word "Selah"? (2) - It is likely a musical notation - Perhaps inserted where a pause is desirable for the singer or reader of the psalm to reflect upon the thought or statement just made (Leupold)
6) How did David view God? (3) - As a shield, his glory, the One who lifts up his head
7) What did David do, and what was God's response? (4) - David cried to the Lord with his voice - God heard him from His holy hill
8) What was David able to do because of God's sustaining him? (5) - To lay down and sleep, and then to awake
9) What else did God make possible for David? (6) - Not to be afraid, even when ten thousands of people surrounded against him
10) For what does David pray? (7) - To arise and save him
11) What had God done for David in the past? (7) - Struck his enemies on the cheekbone - Broken the teeth of the ungodly
13) What does David attribute to the Lord? (8) - Salvation and blessing to His people