The Lord, My Shield and Hope

Psalm 3

Discouragement something we all experience. Life gangs up – health, hassle, hardships whether financial or otherwise. Seems we have to paddle like crazy just to stay afloat. Then added sting when its family or trusted close friend that turns on us. Without even considering challenges from outside palace, King David had a lot piled up on his shoulders:

affair with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:1-5)

murder of Uriah (2 Sam 11:6-17)

death of infant son (2 Sam 12:15-19)

rape of daughter Tamar (2 Sam 13:1-14)

murder of son Amnon by son Absalom (2 Sam 13:23-29)

Absalom in exile (2 Sam 13:34-39)

Absalom returns, steals people’s loyalty (2 Sam 15:1-6)

David flees for his life (2 Sam 15:14ff) head covered and barefoot up the Mount of Olives (2 Sam 15:30)

David’s concubines left behind in the palace treated shamefully by Absalom (2 Sam 16:21-22)

David perhaps remembers God’s promise of consequences (through Nathan) – 2 Sam 12:11-12Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’ “

the nation, his family, members of King Saul’s family (Shimei), his trusted advisor (Ahithophel) aligned against him

Writes Psalm as reflection of his experience night he prepared for battle with Absalom (2 Sam 18:1ff)

A. The situation v.1-2 looking around – woe is me

snowball effect, critical mass (1)

harsh light of day: confirms reality of previous night’s suspicions – situation appears hopeless

rebellion gaining momentum, taking on life of its own because of size

shouldn’t forget what inspired writer says about Absalom and countrymen

2 Sam 14:25in all Israel there was no one who was praised as much as Absalom for his good looks”.

high priority on appearance: Samuel and Jesse’s sons; desire for king and “choice” of Saul

David should not have been surprised to lose people’s loyalty

skeptics join ranks, those unsure Absalom would succeed

David doesn’t become cynical, untrusting (2 Sam 16:1-4, Ziba)

might have wondered how many more would desert his cause; wasn’t suspicious of everyone, though

maybe they’re right – God won’t help (2)

20+ years gone by since prophecy, however…

even though Nathan promised “you shall not die”, might have implied “immediately”

if this is from God, perhaps there really is no hope

caution: be careful who you listen to, even self

talking to self, saying right things, is good thing; listening to self, not so much

especially when people claim to speak for God

“me” focus is dangerously destructive

“trouble me” “rise up against me” “say of me

horizontal perspective

attention on human resources, temporal circumstances

inward focus – fails to properly account for God, his truth, his purpose

diminishing resources – self runs out eventually

doesn’t take long especially when there has been serious past sin (2 Sam 16:7-8)

leads to downward spiral

I can’t make it right; ones I’ve wronged can’t forgive me; I can’t forgive me; God won’t forgive me; I’m too far gone for prayer even to help

if it is really true, then just cause for genuine despair

Pause and think about soul desperately needing forgiveness, unable to find it

B. The supplication v.3-4 looking up – but you, O Lord

radical shift – from natural to spiritual eyesight – “but You”

important side-note: good worship music has more 2nd & 3rd person than 1st person singular pronouns

attention turned to God

his power – a shield (3)

all-encompassing, completely surrounding

selectively permeable – only that which God permits can penetrate

his provision – my glory

who trusts in his own provision eventually disappointed

God’s provision supplies honor that transcends this life – adoption

basking in God’s glory beats “success” any day, even in middle of affliction

his protection – lifts up (above enemies)

God’s approval and encouragement far more valuable than man’s

if not in this life, when Christ returns and sets everything straight the righteous honored far above all enemies

“What a divine trio of mercies is contained in this verse! – defence for the defenceless, glory for the despised, and joy for the comfortless.” CHS

his past help – I cried, he heard (4)

out loud, very loud, outside voice

directed cries to specific God

not just generic God – anyone can fill in their own choice of name

to Yahweh – faithful God who keeps his promises

confident the unchanging covenant God who heard and answered before will do so again

something the Psalmist did as a habit – ongoing action

his presence – holy hill

God’s special presence then represented by ark of covenant

powerful reminder God does dwell with his people, in a good way

shift doesn’t “happen”

requires conscious effort – thinking about what needs to change

exercise of will – thought without action achieves little

not at the mercy of our minds

cannot at will change content of memory, can change focus of attention

can direct thoughts toward particular object

proof: Phil. 2:5 “think this way” Phil. 4:8 “think on this”

C. Yahweh’s security v.5-6 lying down

calm spirit (5)

rested / slept / awoke

took his burden to the Lord and left it there

confident in his spirit that if God was paying attention to him and circumstances, he didn’t need to

absolutely no risk of God falling down when we lean on him

fearless (6)

numbers don’t matter

God really is an “army of one”

odds don’t count – God will achieve his purpose no matter what the opposition

strategy doesn’t matter

God delivers when in midst of enemies – can be fully surrounded, not problem for God

God knows future plans – will not deliver out of frying pan into fire, extricate from one dilemma only to end up in another

source of confidence: divine sustaining

ongoing action

David’s confidence, based on God’s actions in past, extend to expected action in future

a confidence that is graciously granted and nourished from God by his Spirit

An excellent divine has well remarked “This quietude of a man’s heart by faith in God, is a higher sort of work than the natural resolution of manly courage, for it is the gracious operation of God’s Holy Spirit upholding a man above nature, and therefore the Lord must have all the glory of it.” Treasury of David

no need to be anxious and wakeful when trusting God

Ps. 121:4Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

D. Yahweh’s salvation v.7-8 looking beyond

Lord, you fight the battle (7)

you have necessary power

only you have the power

David still overmatched regardless of how well he rested

true especially in battles that involve spiritual realm – requires trust in God for any possibility of success

Lord, you are only hope for deliverance (8a)

worked for Jonah!

circumstances no obstacle to God

comes on God’s terms (2 Sam 15:25-26)

David understood that; told Zadok to take ark back into city

did not intend to repeat Israel’s past foolishness – attempts to manipulate God

your people can be confident of your good providence (8b)

God will not forsake his own

God has made certain promises to those who trust in him and will surely keep them

see Deut. 28:1-14 – blessing upon blessing promised to those who obey the Lord faithfully

Matters not what sort of deliverance is needed – circumstances, enemies, oppression, hardship. God is only one who can provide true and lasting deliverance. Earthly deliverers only succeed until greater power comes along; not so with God. True, of course, with respect to spiritual enemies also – only one can deliver, Lord Jesus. Two additional texts of vital importance: John 14:6, 1 Tim 2:5 – one way, one mediator. Our only access to the Father is through the Son; God’s gracious blessings distributed to his people through his Son. Thanks be to God for his Son and his great salvation.


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