Psalm Chapter 3 – Commentary and Bible Study

Many people would say that the meaning of Psalm 3 in the Old Testament is a prayer of trust to God. I would agree. We see this theme woven throughout this Psalm of David and within the entirety of the Holy Bible.

David wrote Psalm 3 during the time when he was fleeing from his own son, Absalom. You can read more of this story in 2 Samuel 15. Basically, David’s sons had succeeded in rebelling against him and convinced many of David’s trusted friends to join ranks with him against his father.

Enemies of David were multiplying and all hope seemed to be lost. 

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Meaning of Psalm 3

This Psalm conveys David’s grief over his son, but also his unwavering trust in God. These words show that David’s life was completely dependent on God for deliverance and salvation.

Meaning of Psalm 3:1-3

O Lord, how my enemies have increased!
Many are rising up against me.
Many are saying of my soul,
“There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah

But You, Lord, are a shield around me,
My glory, and the lifter of my head. (New American Standard Bible)

Hebrew Word Studies:

  • Increase: to cast together, increase in number, multiply by the thousands
  • Shield: (figuratively) a protector, scaly hide of a crocodile, armor
  • Glory: weight, (figuratively) splendor, honor, riches
  • The word “multiply” is the same root word when God told mankind to “multiply” the earth, and when God promised to “multiply” Abraham’s descendents.

In these verses, the psalmist acknowledges the multitude of enemies surrounding them and the negative words spoken against them, suggesting doubt about God’s deliverance. Even in the midst of his dangers, the psalmist affirms their trust in God as their protector and source of honor, expressing confidence that God will lift them up.

This declaration of the Lord as a shield is common, especially in the Psalms. It symbolizes the protection we have from God during times of trouble.

I also especially loved how David referred to God as his glory! This word was often used to describe the ‘weight’ of a person’s reputation and honor. David believed his significance was directly tied to his relationship with the Lord. 

Are we finding our identity and our value within our relationship with God and in all we have been given through faith in Him?

Psalm 1:1-3 Application

  1. Acknowledging adversity: Like the psalmist, we encounter challenges and opposition in various forms. It’s essential to acknowledge these difficulties rather than deny or ignore them. By honestly confronting our struggles, we can seek God’s help and guidance in overcoming them.
  2. Trusting in God’s protection: Despite the overwhelming odds, the psalmist finds solace in God’s promise to shield and safeguard them. Similarly, we can lean on God’s protection and strength in times of trouble, trusting that He is with us and will provide the support we need.
  3. Finding hope in God’s faithfulness: Even when others doubt or question God’s intervention, the psalmist remains steadfast in their faith, confident in God’s ability to deliver them. Likewise, we can draw hope from God’s past faithfulness and the assurance of His promises, knowing that He is always working for our good.

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Psalm 3:4-6

I was crying out to the Lord with my voice,
And He answered me from His holy hill. Selah
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 all around. NASB

“I lay down and slept” is a poetic way of illustrating confidence in God to provide safety and security. A person who is anxious and fearful usually has a hard time sleeping peacefully.

In these verses, King David recounts his experience of calling out to God in prayer and receiving a response. They find peace and rest in God’s presence, able to sleep without fear because of their trust in God’s sustaining power. Despite facing numerous adversaries, the psalmist remains confident and unafraid, knowing that God is with them.

Psalm 3:4-6 Application

  1. Prayer as a source of comfort: The psalmist’s act of calling out to the Lord reflects a reliance on prayer as a means of finding comfort and solace in difficult times. Similarly, we can turn to prayer as a way to express our concerns and seek God’s guidance and intervention in our lives.
  2. Trusting in God’s provision: The psalmist’s ability to lie down and sleep peacefully demonstrates their trust in God’s sustaining power. Even in the midst of trouble and uncertainty, we can find rest in God’s care, knowing that He is watching over us and providing for our needs.
  3. Overcoming fear through faith: Despite facing overwhelming odds, the psalmist declares their refusal to succumb to fear. Their trust in God’s protection enables them to face their enemies with confidence and courage. Likewise, we can overcome fear by placing our trust in God’s promises and presence, knowing that He is greater than any challenge we may encounter.

Meaning of Psalm 3:7-8

Arise, Lord; save me, my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheek;
You have shattered the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the Lord;
May Your blessing be upon Your people! NASB

We saw in verse 4 that David cried out to the Lord. Now beginning in verse 7, we see what he specifically prayed for. David’s mind was focused on two things. 

Arise and save.

In these verses, he fervently calls upon God to arise and deliver them from their enemies. They express a desire for God to intervene decisively, defeating their adversaries and ensuring their safety. David concludes with a declaration of confidence in God’s deliverance and a prayer for His blessing to be upon His people.

I’m so thankful to serve a God who hears the pleas of His people from His holy mountain. He hears from Heaven. The final verse of this Psalm reminds us of the important truth that our God is a God of salvation. He can be trusted to save and deliver His people.

Psalm 3:7-8 Application

  1. Boldness in prayer: The psalmist’s plea for God to arise and act demonstrates boldness in prayer. They don’t hesitate to ask for divine intervention but instead approach God with confidence, believing in His power to bring about deliverance. Similarly, we can boldly bring our concerns and requests before God, trusting in His ability to answer according to His will. We serve a prayer-hearing God.
  2. Trust in God’s justice: The psalmist’s desire for God to strike their enemies and break the teeth of the wicked reflects a trust in God’s justice. They believe that God will not let the actions of the wicked go unpunished but will ultimately bring about justice and vindication for His people. Likewise, we can trust in God’s righteous judgment and rest assured that He will deal justly with those who oppose His purposes.
  3. Assurance of deliverance: In affirming that deliverance comes from the Lord, the psalmist expresses confidence in God’s ability to rescue them from their troubles. They recognize that ultimate victory rests in God’s hands and trust in His faithfulness to come to their aid. Similarly, we can find assurance in God’s promise of deliverance, knowing that He is always working for the good of His people.
Meaning of Psalm 3

Psalm 3 Devotional

As I was reading this Psalm I was considering David’s enemies. David was facing many physical, tangible enemies. 

Many of the enemies that we face today aren’t just physical. They are also spiritual. Emotional. Mental.

Enemies of fear, doubt, anxiety, hopelessness. There are seasons when these enemies seem to multiply until their joined forces appear to be unconquerable.

These are the moments when we must remember that the Lord is our shield, safe place, and the lifter of our heads. He is our morning song. His love, goodness, and protection do not depend on our circumstances. We can trust Him, fully, with every detail of our hearts. 

We can cry out to Him through Christ Jesus with the confidence that He hears and He will save and deliver us from all our enemies in His time and in His way. 

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