Psalm 3: A Shield About Me

Psalm 3 is an individual Psalm of Lament and the first Psalm of lament we encounter in the book of Psalms. It is a Psalm of David that pertains to particular situation of historical dilemma in the life of this great King. The circumstances pertaining to the composition of this Psalm deal closely with the events pertaining to Absalom after which the Psalm is titled (cf. 2 Sam. 15-18). This, not surprisingly, comes at a time in David’s life when he is facing multiple scenarios of crises largely due to his sin against God (cf. 2 Sam. 11:9-11). Yet, in the midst of such turmoil and troubling circumstances, David composes this Psalm demonstrating his complete and fervent trust in the Lord.

David commences the Psalm by pouring his heart out to God in lamentation (vv. 1-2). He is overwhelmed by his enemies and those who are seeking his life. This is a very good picture that illustrates the consequences of sin are always overwhelming. David being in the midst of trials and difficulties, devastation and crises, heartache and heartbreak probably had a most difficult time seeing how all this could work itself out or how he could make it back on top. David, who was considered to be the greatest King in Israel’s history, was at this point in his life very humbled and humiliated by what had transpired at the hands of his enemies and his own family. One could read this aspect of David’s story and proclaim that evil seemed to be outweighing the good. But there’s only one thing wrong with that observation: The God of the bible can take any negative situation and turn it into one that is great!

Despite how gloomy, difficult and impossible it seemed to get out of such a pit, David turned to the best source for help: GOD! David does not doubt God’s deliverance and His help for he knows what He can do and what He is capable of because He has seen Him in action before and benefited from that. Such was the case when David fought against Goliath. What seemed impossible was absolutely guaranteed because of the power of God and David remembering this, once again turns to God for deliverance. 

David describes God as a shield that surrounds him. Typically, normal shields could only protect in one direction. But that David described God as a shield all about him indicates that God protects in every direction. David being one of the most powerful kings and military commanders could have easily chosen to rely on his soldiers and his trusted men for help but he chose God instead because He knew that he could not turn his situation around by himself. David acknowledges that God is his glory and He who is able to lift up his head. This is not the only time that David is pictured as being down in the trenches. And like the other situations, he takes hope in the fact that God has delivered Him before and He will do it again. One of the things we remember most about David is His faith and trust and this shows us exactly why. 

David proceeds to cry out to God as recorded in the Psalm and God answers his plea. We serve a God who listens to us and answers our prayers and we ought to be incredibly thankful for that. David acknowledges that because God is his shield, his glory, the one who answers prayers and the one who sustains him, he has nothing to fear. If we have such an attitude like David, though we may be overwhelmed and the odds may seem impossible, our God is much bigger than our problems and if we trust in Him, we too will have nothing to fear.

It would be good for us to take notice that this Psalm portrays one of the greatest Kings of Israel as seeking deliverance from God and not from himself or his trusted allies. As Christians and faithful followers of God, it is precisely our job to seek God and trust God. It’s not our responsibility to both ask and answer our pleas. We do the asking and God does the answering. That is His realm and salvation and deliverance belong to Him.

David knows that God has helped him in the past and He will help him again. God is pictured as completely dominating and annihilating His enemies time and time again in the biblical narrative and we should take courage and joy in such a great fact.The final verse of Psalm 3 places salvation solely and squarely in the control of God. God is the one who can pull anyone and anything out of the most grueling and impossible situations. Salvation is God’s doing and His business. He is capable of saving and delivering far beyond what we can do or imagine (cf. Acts 4:9-12; Rev. 19:1). 

If you are down in the pit and need help, who better is there to turn to than God? We lived in a world full of problems and we all will face trying situations that affect our faith. If you are overwhelmed with any issues and especially sin, know that God wants to help you and save you from that. Let’s do our part to seek God like David and let us trust in Him to save!