For September 2022, I’m trying to read and reflect – briefly – on a Psalm each day. I’ll read the Psalm, pray, and then ponder a few questions:
- What is this Psalm about?
- What does this Psalm teach about God?
- How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
I’ll close the post with a simple prayer, trying to draw the themes together.
Three days into September, here’s Psalm 3:
1 Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”
3 But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
4 I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
6 I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.
7 Arise, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.
8 From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.
What is this Psalm about?
We know from the context that this is a ‘Psalm of David’, when ‘he fled from his son Abasalom’. You can read about this 2 Samuel 15-17. With that in mind – the dual pain of political usurpation and family tension (to put both mildly!) David is remarkably confident. Verse 1 and 2 locate the Psalm as one that could be particularly relevant when we feel overwhelmed – and others are observing that our overwhelmed-ness looks particularly overwhelming. But the Bible, at least in our English translations, often puts a pivot on the word ‘But’, even more so when it’s a ‘But God…’ Where circumstances are, to say the least, challenging, God’s goodness and kingship can give us the words and the hope to stand, and not just to stand, but to sleep. We shouldn’t look anywhere else – but to God alone for deliverance.
What does this Psalm teach about God?
The God this Psalm describes is a God who is there, a God who can be relied on. The God described here is not necessarily obviously active – but God’s trustworthiness looms large. Crucially, this is a God who listens, a God who can be spoken to.
How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
As a parent of young children, who lives with migraines, perhaps the most personal connection here can be seen in verse 5, ‘I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me’. God sustains the world, so we don’t have to. This is immensely comforting, and in that we can see where David’s peace and hope in a hopeless place comes from. Which teaches us something about God, too, that he is the same then, and today.
A Prayer from Psalm 3
Lord, in my overwhelmed state, I come to you as David did. Help me sleep, trusting that you are there and that you are good. Thank you, Lord, that you are stronger than what feels like armies arrayed against me. Help me to know your blessing, in the midst of these overwhelming days, Amen.