Psalm 3 includes a subtitle “A psalm of David. When he fled from Absalom his son”. The event that lead to the writing of this psalm may have come from the time when Absalom was trying to take the throne away from his father David. When Absalom began his revolt, many people followed him and rejected David’s rule. Verse 1 described what was happening to David, “O LORD, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me. Many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no deliverance for him in God.’” The reasons for the writing of Psalm 3 was simple – betrayal, rejection and humiliation.
Probably no one today can specifically understand what David faced, but most people, most Christians, have faced betrayal and rejection. The actions may have come from a “good” friend, a “close” associate, or a loved one. But the results still lead to pain, shock, disbelief, and anger. Suddenly, an apparently well-ordered life is thrown into turmoil. What was supposed to be the truth turns out to be a lie. So, how does a person deal with this? What is an appropriate response? The world says to strike back, seek revenge, dwell on what happened, feed and nurture the anger and bitterness. But verses 3-6 show that David’s response was different. “But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the LORD with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me round about.”
Was there an obvious solution to the problems when David wrote this Psalm? No. But in spite of the situation he was facing, David’s faith never wavered. What incredible faith! His words were not a man complaining to God in a petulant manner. In fact, in verses 5-6, he declared that he was still able to sleep in spite of the trials he was facing!
Some people sleep soundly out of ignorance or arrogance. Other people’s spirit has been so seared by sin, that they feel nothing and sleep. But then there are others who sleep because of their confidence in the Lord. How many today can make that claim? How many Christians, upon experiencing even a small amount of what David was describing, could echo his words?
James wrote in verses 2-4, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” How many Christians intellectually understand what the words say, but do not believe that they really work? Yet, the foundation of a Christian’s spiritual strength is faith in the Father and His Son – Jesus Christ. And that faith grows and matures through prayer.
David’s words were inspired, but he had no magic tricks for his faith. In fact, he had less information than people have today. Today, the “Good News” has been proclaimed. The “mystery of the ages” has been revealed in Jesus Christ. Sins
CAN be forgiven. Eternal life IS obtainable through Jesus Christ. How much greater should be the faith of a Christian today?
Verse 8 is a fitting conclusion. “Salvation belongs to the LORD; Your blessing be upon Your people!” Like Jesus, Christians can face physical suffering and adversity, but nothing in this world can separate a Christian from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus. Christians live in the world, and things will happen that will cause pain, sorrow, and anxiety. But life is NOT this world. Life is not things, position, or health. Life is the sanctified relationship that can exist with the Eternal God and Creator of the Universes through the love, courage and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Indeed, God’s blessings are upon His people!
– Jim Shelburn