The Book of Psalms Chapter Three Commentary by
Pastor Ron Beckham
He Will Save You
Verse 1: "O Lord, how my adversaries have increased!
Many are rising up against me." Have you ever felt like everyone is against you? Is that possibly the way you feel right now? Do the circumstances against you seem like waves that are washing your life away? You may or may not feel like that right now, but at some point you might, and so let's remember this Psalm, which may be useful in the future. As the superscript of this Psalm indicates in many translations, the words of Psalm 3 were written by "David, When he fled from Absalom his son." David had been on the run several times, he had often feared for his life, he had regrets and he mourned the loss of many loved ones. If your son became your enemy, instigated an armed rebellion against you, like his son Absalom did, as seen in 2 Samuel 15, the pain would be very great. As David knew, even more than his immediate family was involved here, because the Lord had revealed to him that he (King David) was God's man to lead God's nation. It was a great responsibility, greater than the human abilities of anyone, and David was deeply troubled that so many of his countrymen had turned against him, under the leadership of his beloved son.
Verse 2: "Many are saying of my soul, 'There is no deliverance for him in God.' Selah." The sad reality about adverse circumstances is this: Many assume that if things don't go well in your life, something must be wrong with you. If you get into difficulties, it may be whispered that all is not well in your relationship with the Lord. Sometimes that is true, for God uses corrective measures to bring us back on track when we're out of His will. Other times you remain close to Him, but another factor comes into the mix—you may be about to embark on another direction within God's call, and spiritual growth must occur to get you ready for it. If things are not going well for you and others decide you are the problem, keep praying, keep loving the Lord, look to Him, and remember David who suffered in a similar manner. And for that matter, think of Isaiah 53:3, which prophesied about Jesus Christ: "He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised and we did not esteem Him" (NKJV). People often are betrayed by others, just when we need them the most. A classic example is Joseph, son of Jacob, who was terribly betrayed by his brothers, and later, when he had become a powerful man, able to destroy his brothers, he spoke to them in the wisdom of Genesis 50:10—"But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive." Whatever people may say about us or do, God intends ultimate good in your life and mine. Jan Karon said, "Love is an act of endless forgiveness," a truth that is seen perfectly in Jesus Christ.
Verse 3: "But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head." There was a song years ago based on this verse, and the imagery for me is this: A soldier has been struck down on the battlefield. His Commander-In-Chief sees him, runs to him and covers the man with his own shield. He gently lifts the head of the wounded one, who is too hurt to lift his own head. Has the Lord run to you in this manner? He has done that for me and I praise Him. He, the Lord, is a shield about us; He is our glory and He gently lifts our head from the stony ground, touching us with the healing power of God. This verse is a reminder of Ephesians 6:11-18, where the spiritual uniform issued to those in Christ is compared to the uniform of a Roman soldier, seen everywhere in Judea. I like the less detailed version in Galatians 3:27, where we are urged to simply "put on Christ." Our battle uniform is Him, issued to you and me. We belong to our Protector who is our Shield, and He saves us through His cross, His grace, His love.
Verse 4: "I was crying to the Lord with my voice,
and He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah." If you were never in trouble, you would need nothing and would not require answered prayer. In a healthy home, the father is the protector of that home. He is typically larger, stronger, watchful, and when you cry out to him, he hears you, picks you up into his arms and protects you, speaking comforting words until you feel safe. When we are afraid we cry out to the Lord as David did, who loved his beloved son, Absalom, the one who swayed many to his side in Israel, and caused the civil war that swept the land. How can the king, charged with protecting his nation, counter-attack to defeat and very likely kill his beloved son? And so David did what we all should do when encountering impossible situations—he prayed, and he received what we are to find—answered prayer... "He answered me from His holy mountain." Almighty God, the One who loves us and died in our place, has been answering us all of our lives. Our problem is that we were, as humans are, born blind and deaf to the things of the Spirit who offers understanding. Look backwards in time, see your life and the lives of those around you, and begin to note His Hand of deliverance. When you learn to correctly perceive the past, you will find similar rescues within Holy Scripture, in your life right now, and you may even glimpse things that are to come.
Verse 5: "I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me." When you are truly afraid and grief-stricken, as David had been, it interferes with your sleep. David was exhausted from fear and weeping. He rolled from side-to-side through the night and his effectiveness as king of the land became limited. And then he really prayed as we all need to do. Most of us have been taught all of our lives, that if you can't see it, touch it, hear it or taste it... it doesn't exist. David knew better because he found faith in the Lord. He said "Yes, Lord," when a larger understanding of life was offered to him. He prayed and now he could sleep, truly RESTED, able to awaken and face the problem, "for the Lord sustains me." Faith is much more, but it can be compared to a muscle that needs to be exercised. It's small at first, gradually becoming larger and able to accomplish more. Give faith a try—you'll be everlastingly glad you did.
Verse 6: "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
who have set themselves against me round about." David learned as a shepherd boy that the Lord was there for him, and Paul the Apostle, who initially resisted simple Christian faith with everything he had, learned it also, expressing our need and solution in Philippians 4:6-7—"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." David was afraid, Paul was anxious, and such discomfort has damaged our lives like it did theirs. Here's what needs to happen when we are afraid: Pray, trust, receive, thank Him, and notice His answer—peace. And don't forget to read Holy Scripture. The outward answer to prayer may not always be what we expected, but inwardly, we will have peace. Thousands of people wanted to kill David, Paul killed Christians until the Lord confronted the man and Paul himself became a Christian. Then Paul's former "friends" wanted to kill HIM, but he prayed and found peace. Trust in the Lord and he will be with you. Things may or may not turn out like you thought, but you will find and know His peace—forever.
Verse 7: "Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God!
For You have smitten all my enemies on the cheek; You have shattered the teeth of the wicked." Being a child in this world is not easy. And being an adult is troublesome also. There are always other kids, often bigger than you, and you are sometimes outnumbered in situations you wish weren't happening. For a small person, a weak one, someone who isn't skilled at fighting; a recurring fantasy is that a much bigger person will come alongside you, hit the bullies in the face and smash their teeth. It's not nice, but being bullied isn't nice, either. Larger, more aggressive nations bully smaller, more peace-loving countries. David had become good at fighting, but it was God who delivered him and the nation. It was God who dealt with the problem of what to do with his beloved son, Absalom. It was God who had delivered Jacob's son, Joseph, and later delivered the Apostle Paul on many occasions. It is God who delivers you and me.
Verse 8: "Salvation belongs to the Lord;
Your blessing be upon Your people! Selah." Salvation does not belong to you. No matter how creative the religion you might create may be, it will not satisfy God, for salvation belongs to Him. He has chosen grace, operative through faith in the Lord, as the mechanism of His deliverance. Human religion, by itself, will not make you sufficiently righteous in the sight of God. You need the Lord, and so do the rest of us. Timeless words were uttered in Habakkuk 2:4, which include—"The just shall live by his faith." Those words are so important they were quoted in Romans 1:17 and in Hebrews 10:38, or we might miss them. Do you want justice? Do you see the problems in this world and want things to be made right? Then place your faith in the Lord like Joseph, David, Paul and so many have done. Faith in us is a wonderfully contagious "blessing" that will be yours and then spread to those you love and even reach your enemies, who may become valued friends. Trust in the Lord. He will save you.
Father, I have been afraid. I turn to You, Lord, for You are the One who will save me. Please forgive my bad judgment and what I have done wrong. I am Yours, Lord. I trust in You. Thank You for saving me. In Jesus Name. Amen.