Let's get some background on Psalm 3.
The writer of the psalm is King David. David had been in power over Israel for many decades. His reputation as a mighty warrior was well known. He was extremely wealthy and lived in a magnificent palace. He had made Israel a mighty nation who had pretty much taken all the land that God had promised them. Things seemed to be going along pretty well for David.
Then David yields to his flesh and commits adultery with Bathsheba. He then has her husband Uriah killed. When confronted with his sin by Nathan, the prophet, David repents, but things still start to unravel.
David's sin set in motion a series of consequences. David's oldest son, Amnon, raped his half-sister, Tamar. Tamar's brother, Absalom, took revenge by murdering Amnon. Absalom fled into exile for several years but later was permitted to return. But after his return, David refused to see his wayward son for two years.
Then Absalom began to court the disgruntled people in the kingdom, offering himself as a more sympathetic leader than his powerful father, David. Absolom would get up early and go stand on the road leading to the city gates. When people would pass by who were going to King David's palace to have him decide a dispute or judge a matter, Absalom would say," where are you from?" They would say, "one of the tribes of Israel." Absalom would then tell them, if I were made a judge, I would see that you received a fair settlement on your issue.
Finally, Absalom pieced together a strong conspiracy. David realized that to survive; he had to flee the capital immediately with all of his supporters and their families. All of his servants and their little ones hastily grabbed what they could and took off towards the wilderness. David followed them, weeping, and walking barefoot with his head covered in shame.
To add insult to injury, a man named Shimei, from the family of David's predecessor King Saul, came out as David passed by. He cursed at David, threw stones at him, and accused him of being a worthless man who had brought about his own downfall by being a man of bloodshed (these events are described in 2 Samuel 15 & 16).
1 O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
David has had those that opposed him for some time, but now they were "many."
David was definitely at one of the lowest points in his life. His own sin created a massive mess. Keep in mind that those opposed David were taking that opposition to a new level.
They were even questioning his standing with God. Look at verse 2,
2 many are saying of my soul,
"There is no salvation for him in God." Selah
It would be very easy for David to get downtrodden. Even though he had repented, things were in chaos. Circumstances can not only steal your joy, but they can rob you of the certainty of Gods Word and promises. But listen to what David says in verse 3
3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
It's interesting that David didn't cry out for God to be his shield, he said you ARE a shield. This was a strong declaration of fact.
David also realized that God was his glory. David certainly had experienced great glory as the King of Israel, but he understood that God was the only thing he could glory in, and in fact, God deserved ALL the glory.
The statement that the Lord was the "lifter of my head." "To lift up the head" is a Hebrew expression for restoring someone who is cast down back to his dignity and position. Joseph told the cupbearer (Gen. 40:13), "Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office." David had confidence in God, that even though he was currently in a horrible situation, God was going to restore him.
4 I cried aloud to the Lord,
and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
Again, David said that after he had "cried aloud to the Lord," God had indeed answered him.
So did God miraculously remove all the terrible circumstances that David was in and immediately set him back in power? No, the circumstances had not changed, but David did something very interesting after he said that God had answered him. Look again at verse 5,
5 I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
First of all, I can tell you that to lay down, and sleep is a blessing. Then to wake up and proclaim that the "Lord sustained me." What an amazing blessing to trust that God will sustain you. Even in the middle of these circumstances. When David woke up, he had been sustained by God. Look at verse 6 again; there were still thousands who had set themselves against David, but David said, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID!
6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. 7 Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God!
David was certainly a man who had committed horrible sin. But he had repented, humbled himself and thrown himself on the mercy of ALMIGHTY GOD. How do we know this? Let's quickly go back to the story of when David and all his servants and their families were fleeing Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 15:23
23 And all the land wept aloud as all the people passed by, and the king crossed the brook Kidron, and all the people passed on toward the wilderness. 24 And Abiathar came up, and behold, Zadok came also with all the Levites, bearing the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God until the people had all passed out of the city. 25 Then the king said to Zadok, "Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me back and let me see both it and his dwelling place. 26 But if he says, 'I have no pleasure in you,' behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him."
7 For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
8 Salvation belongs to the Lord;
your blessing be on your people! Selah
David certainly knew that his only hope was in God. We would do well to grasp this truth in our own lives……our only hope is in the Almighty God, who made Jesus to become sin so that we could become the righteousness of God.
1. Are there circumstances in your life currently that are causing you to despair, and if so, are they the result of sin you have committed?
2. Are others questioning your relationship with God?
3. Are you fully trusting in the Lord for salvation and deliverance?