“Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God.’ But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head” (Psalm 3:1-3).
In the title of Psalm 3 it says, “A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son”. David had experienced many challenges and some failures with regard to his dealings with his son Absalom. One of David’s sons, Amnon, had raped his half-sister Tamar, the daughter of David by a different woman (2 Samuel 13:1-19). Absalom was Tamar’s brother and he eventually avenged his sister and killed Amnon (2 Samuel 13:1, 20-29). Following this, Absalom fled and it was at least 5 years before Absalom was allowed into David’s presence (2 Samuel 13:38, 14:28). This appears to have created a lot of resentment in Absalom who then devised a plan to win the hearts of Israel to himself as he made plans to rebel against his father David (2 Samuel 15:1-6).
After 4 years of making efforts to win the hearts of Israel, Absalom made his move. He had it proclaimed that he was now reigning in the Israelite city of Hebron (2 Samuel 15:7-10). Most of Israel left from following David and began to submit to the reign of Absalom (2 Samuel 15:11-12). Things looked dire for David. David noted what many people were saying: “Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God’" (Psalm 3:2). It is hard to imagine the great pain that weighed on David’s heart as he contemplated his life being threatened by his own son!
In this dark hour, David turned to God as his Light to guide him through this crisis. He said, “But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head” (Psalm 3:3). God had delivered David many times in his life. The Lord had enabled David to defeat the Philistine giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17:40-51). The Almighty had also protected David from the ever-pursuant hand of King Saul who had sought David’s life (1 Samuel 18:9-31:4). God’s deliverance of David over the years had built in David an unshakable faith in God’s power to shield David from harm.
David called on God’s help and God heard him: “I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill” (Psalm 3:4). Because of his unwavering confidence in God’s protection, David would not be afraid even though he was heavily outnumbered by the thousands who were pursuing his life: “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around” (Psalm 3:5-6). Even though this was a terrible crisis, David was able to get a good night’s rest because he looked upon God as his Shield. Through God, David experienced great peace even as he was facing tremendous adversity!
David cried to the Lord for help: “Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly” (Psalm 3:7). God did help David. In the end Absalom was killed in battle and David was restored to the throne (2 Samuel 18:6-17). King David rejoiced in the salvation God had brought to him: “Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people” (Psalm 3:8).
As I think about Psalm 3 and these events from the life of King David, I am reminded of God’s continual watch and care for me. He will protect me from the fiery darts that Satan throws at me (Ephesians 6:16). Today, I rejoice that God is my shield!
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore, my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him” (Psalm 28:7).