Psalm 3: David’s Great Sadness
Psalm 3 A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom. (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 lift 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.
My friends, have you felt abandoned by someone you love? Do you have a wayward child? Have you felt so alone it’s as if God has abandoned you, too?
This psalm is for you. This psalm is for me.
In the second book of Samuel, king David was betrayed by his son, Absalom. This was not just the refusal to clean his room or to stop dating a girl the family did not like.
This was a grown man set on destroying his father. Absalom was turning David’s advisers against him, preparing to forcefully take his father’s thrown, and murder him. The ultimate betrayal.
And the ultimate heartbreak.
Read 2 Samuel 15 to catch a glimpse of David’s heartache.
King David is remembered as a “man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). God loved David and blessed him greatly. But David was a sinner and, unfortunately for him, his sins are listed in the Bible for all generations to read and learn from. He was not perfect. But God was with him and loved him.
Other psalms will talk of David’s heartbreak, of his losses, and his misdeeds- and then of how God redeemed him. However, when it comes to Absalom and David’s family dynamics, part of the problem is in David’s choices. David took many wives- eight of them. God’s plan for marriage is good and right and set in the Bible from the very beginning when God created Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:27; 2:21-24). And then when the people asked God for an earthly king over them, God agreed but gave stern warnings:
He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. Deuteronomy 17:17
Polygamy is not of God. And He clearly did not want His kings to have more than one wife. The Lord knew what would happen; He knows the hearts of men. Polygamy is not God’s plan and does not make Him happy. Even for the kings of old, even for the beloved king David. And polygamy does not make for a happy household, nor well-adjusted children. History records that David had nineteen sons. A recipe for disaster?
However, if you read Samuel and the accounts of this story, David loved Absalom. And Absalom broke his heart.
Have your children broken your heart? Read David’s words again.
I lie down and sleep, I wake again because the LORD sustains me. Psalm 3:4
Do you fear at night? Does the weight of the world come crashing down upon you? Do trivial things seem to grow fangs and claws in the dark? Why is that?
Hear David’s words from Psalm 139,
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139:11-12
Many of us struggle with sleeping and worrying, tossing and turning. We struggle with what we said or didn’t say. Over the future of our children, their health, their choices . . . their salvation. Over what we did or didn’t finish in the day.
This is not the only psalm that David talks about the Lord sustaining him while he sleeps. David believed it, and he had things to worry about. He had children to worry about. He had a family to provide for. He had a kingdom to run.
But you, LORD are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD and he answers me from his holy mountain. Psalm 3:3-4
In a land and time when shields and swords were the difference between life and death, these verses take on another meaning.
During one of the most difficult time sin David’s life, he says the Lord is a shield around me. He sustains me as I sleep. He is the reason I can lift my head again.
A shield does no good lying on the ground. In fact, a shield is useless without an arm and strength to hold it. What David meant was: he held the shield of the Lord up.
How do we do that? How do we protect ourselves from the attacks of the evil one in our great time of pain? In the times of worry and stress and sleepless nights?
My friends, we hold on to that shield as tight as we can, as if our lives depend upon it. The Apostle Paul tells us to put on the armor of God:
In addition to all of this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16
The shield is faith.
Take up your shield today, wrap yourself in God’s goodness and faithfulness whatever you are going through. Trust that He will sustain you 24 hours a day- day and night. When you are awake and when you sleep, let God be your shield. When flaming arrows assail you, hold fast to that shield.
You are strong enough because the Lord is on your side, and He will see you through.
Even though David feared for his life and the lives of his loved ones, as he fled his home in fear, as he watched friend and family abandon him, as people told him he was getting what he deserved, that God had in fact forgotten him:
David picked up that shield.
David didn’t say, “Lord, be my shield.”
He said, “Lord, you are my shield.”
Paul reminds us,
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:38
David never heard theses wise words, but he believed them
Whatever you are facing today, take up your shield of faith and know that your Father loves you and has your back whatever your foe may be. Not that He will make it all go away, but that He will never leave you. He will equip you, and He will fight for you.
The LORD will fight for you; you need only be still. Exodus 14:14
Heavenly Father, you are good and faithful. We thank you for sustaining us and for walking beside us. Father, sometimes our shields are on the ground, and we do not feel like we have the strength even to pick the thing up. Help us to pick that thing up and believe that you go before us and behind us. That you hear our cries, our tears, our worries for our children and our marriages and our friends and ourselves. We love you, and we trust you. You were, are, and always will be faithful and true. Amen.
One thought on “Psalm 3”
This scripture and your thoughts around it touched me in the tear ducts! I do not understand why I allow my shield sit in the dust. A great reminder to pick it up and allow God to actively fight for me, especially when I am too weak to fight for myself! Thank you for sharing Heidi! Love you! Desi