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Psalm 3 Worshipping in the Midst of Trouble

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Before we begin … I want give you some Psalm-formation --- Each week I will … also remember to bring your Psalm Chart I gave you last week:

Psalm Headings (also Called Superscriptions)

–Of the 150 have titles

What do you do when faced with life’s troubles?

–Often helpful in seeing Psalm in Context
–Most included after the exile period (probably)
–The scribes addition of these headings demonstrate “devout and serious study”
–The headings contain 5 different types of info:
1.Psalms identified with person or group (i.e. author) – , ,
2.Historical information – , .Musical Information – ,
4.Liturgical Information – , .Type of Psalm – i.e. Hymn, Lament – , ,


•Used 71 times in Psalms (3x in )
•Precise meaning of word is uncertain

What do you do when faced with life’s troubles?

•May mean:
–Mark of strophes or stanzas
–Point in song when congregation bowed to the ground in reverence before God
–A Musical mark of some kind …
•Instrumental Interlude
•Louder ... Crank it up!
•“For ever” (Jerome) – Like an “Amen”
* Point of reflection ... Think about this
Now Psalm 3

What do you do when faced with life’s troubles?

Where do you go/to whom to you go when faced with life’s troubles?

calls us to pray …
There are some who would say that prayer is a believer’s way of escapism.
Prayer is no anemic exercise engaged in by pale - hide their heads in the sand people who can’t cope with challenges.
Prayer is the way we slug through our troubles.
In His book “Answering God” Eugene Peterson states that “Trouble Triggers Prayer.”
Let’s set up - In His great book “The Flow of the Psalms” - O. Palmer Robertson writes:
The Psalter opens with and 2 serving as pillars marking the entrance to the temple of the Psalter.”
God’s Law -
God’s Messiah -
- I spoke on last Christmas - WE read:
Psalm 2:1–2 ESV
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
There is rebellion and rejection:
Robertson goes on to say introducing :
“As it fares with the messianic king, so it fares with each member of the messsianic kingdom.”
Or as Jesus said:
John 15:
John 15:18 ESV
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
Or again:
John 16:33 NIV
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
So we come to … and see trouble
“Trouble triggers Prayer”
Prayer is the way we slug through troubles.

The Setting of the Psalm

One word … Rebellion (Political insurrection)
Primarily the account is found in (Other texts involved … Let me walk you through the setting)
Look at the Psalm title or superscription:


We need to go bak in Israel’s history a bit:
2 Samuel 11:1–5 ESV
In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”
2 Sam 11:1-
David had an adulterous relationship with a married woman … step two
He calls for Uriah to come back from battle and spend time with his wife … to cover up David’s sin … Uriah wouldn't do it out of loyalty to the other soldiers and His country.
Then David got Uriah Drunk and thought that would work () - It didn’t
So David sent Uriah back to the battle with a letter for General Joab …
2 Samuel 11:15 ESV
In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die.”
2 Sam 11:
It Worked …
David thought he was free and clear …
2 Samuel 11:26–27 ESV
When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.
iN David is confronted and rebuked by Nathan the Prophet …
2 Sam 11:26-27
Skip to the judgment on David …
2 Sam. 12:9-
2 Samuel 12:9–12 ESV
Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of 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 and before the sun.’ ”
Pay special note to
2 Samuel 12:10–11 ESV
Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of 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.
2 Sam 12:
The account of David’s Family is sad …
The baby of Bathsheba’s dies
David’s one son Amnon rapes his sister Tamar (2 sam 13)
David’s other son Absalom takes revenge himself and Kills Amnon
Storms on Absalom
More Precious than Gold: 50 Daily Meditations on the Psalms Chapter 3: The Lifter of My Head (Psalm 3:3)

Absalom was David’s third son. His second son, Chileab, is never mentioned after reference to his birth, and the assumption is that he died early on. David’s firstborn son was Amnon. The story of how Amnon died is a sordid one.

Amnon raped his half-sister, Tamar, and Absalom, Tamar’s brother, swore revenge. It took two years but finally Absalom arranged for Amnon to be killed. Fearing punishment, Absalom went into exile for three years. When he finally returned to Jerusalem, David refused to see him. Two more years passed before David and his son were reunited, although even then they weren’t reconciled.

Absalom’s plot to take the throne from his father probably emerged gradually. He began by currying favor with the people (2 Sam. 15:1–6). He portrayed himself as one who was interested in people by telling them he was far more capable of helping them with their troubles and securing justice for their complaints than was David. According to 2 Samuel 15:6, “Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.”

Once Absalom felt secure in his position, he made his move. He went to Hebron, assembled his followers, and had himself anointed king (2 Sam. 15:7–12). With a considerable army behind him, he marched against his father in Jerusalem and forced David to flee (2 Sam. 15:13–17). Following a shameful period of absence from his throne, the armies of David eventually prevailed. Absalom was killed, contrary to his father’s express wishes, serving only to intensify the latter’s pain.

What an amazing scene: David, driven from his throne, subjected to indescribable humiliation, not by a pagan Gentile king but by his own son! Absalom’s treachery and rebellion must have crushed David’s heart. Here is the important point: it was while David was fleeing the armies of Absalom, broken by the spiteful betrayal of his own child, that he sat down and wrote the words of Psalm 3.

David was pretty passive in the whole event
The David and Absalom rift grew … as did Absalom’s popularity …
Listen to Absalom’s reviews:
2 Samuel 14:25 ESV
Now in all Israel there was no one so much to be praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.
is the account of Absalom’s conspiracy against David and His rule
He was handsome … he was also cunning
2 Samuel 15:6 ESV
Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
2 Samuel 15:12 ESV
And while Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh. And the conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Absalom kept increasing.
2 Samuel 15:13–14 ESV
And a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.” Then David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee, or else there will be no escape for us from Absalom. Go quickly, lest he overtake us quickly and bring down ruin on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”
2 Sam 15:13-
In His lust for power Absalom sought to unseat his father David … the King Yahweh had installed.
Psalm 2:6 ESV
“As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
Absalom’s revolt sounds like
Look at how the placing of the Psalms is important:
tells us to settl;e our Commitment to God’s law
tells us to Get a clear view of His Kingdom
we walk right into trouble
David is in the Midst of Trouble …
“Trouble triggers Prayer”
Prayer is the way we slug through troubles.

Observation 1 - The Reality we Face - 1-2

Lots of ememies
Those who say and do cruel things
They are mean and mouthy and their words sting
David is honest in his prayer … He is crying out to God … and his enemies are saying
There is no Salvation for him in God
Selah … there think about that
This kind of trouble can lead us to despair
The critics … the nay-sayers
It is especially painful for David … It’s his own son (Some of you know this pain)
David … instead of taking matters into his own hands … like in
Instead He pours out his anguish to God
The ONE who the enemies said there was no salvation in …
The reality we face is that there are such people we encounter.
Every day … in almost every place we find ourselves
The reality we face is that trouble we face often comes from people … and they may even rise up against us.
Dont be surprised
1 Peter 4:12 NIV
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
Acts 14:22 ESV
strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
Acts 1422
Same idea in
1 Peter 1:6 ESV
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed. ()
If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed. ()

When it happens … Pour out your hurt and anguish to God

Not others

Now the focus shifts to Observation 2 - The Truth we Confess - 3-4

This is the turning point - Bruce Waltke calls a Morning Prayer After a Dark Night
Morning Prayer After a Dark Night
Waltke, B. K., Houston, J. M., & Moore, E. (2010). The Psalms as Christian Worship: A Historical Commentary (p. 182). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Note in Verses 1-2 … How man, many, many
Grammatical 180 - BUT YOU (Emphatic) Yahweh
Note His focus … not on the MANY … But On the Lord … the Truth of the Lord
He Confesses Three Truths about His God:
He is a Protecting God - Shield
He is a Sufficient God - My Glory
He is a Restoring God - The Lifter of My Head
He is a Protecting God - , , , , ; , .
I have to wonder if David had God’s word to Abraham in Mind
Genesis 15:1 ESV
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
A shield doesn't stop enemies from shooting you … they still do!
Yet such an attack is fruitless when we are protected from the security of God’s love and Care.
The Psalmist is stating that His trust is in the Lord … whatever the enemy shoots:
A.W. Tozer
The Price of Neglect Chapter 3: We Must Have True Faith

What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians who are prepared to trust God as completely now as they know they must do at the last day. For each of us the time is surely coming when we shall have nothing but God. Health and wealth and friends and hiding places will all be swept away and we shall have only God. To the man of pseudo-faith that is a terrifying thought, but to real faith it is one of the most comforting thoughts the heart can entertain.

2. He is a Sufficient God - My Glory - Glory connotes weightiness; substance.
Here we have David having experienced a coup-d-tat … yet the Lord is HIS Glory … His Substance
The idea here may also be that “David is awaiting the Lord’s vindication”
In the book of Numbers we read of Israel’s rebellion in the wilderness:
AND on more than one occasion Moses or Aaron (or both) found themselves in physical danger … From Korah or some other malcontent … or the whole congregation
Just when they were ready to attack “the glory of the Lord Intervened”
Numbers 14:10 ESV
Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel.
Numbers 16:19 ESV
Then Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the Lord appeared to all the congregation.
Numbers 16:42 ESV
And when the congregation had assembled against Moses and against Aaron, they turned toward the tent of meeting. And behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared.
The GLORY-Cloud of Yahweh’s blazing presence appears precisely when needed to defend his servants.
In and 16 His Glory speaks of His readiness to intervene to defend his people.
David the King has been driven away in shame and weakness, his pride broken, reputation slandered.
Still his trust is in the Lord … He is confident that God will restore his dignity and honour as king.
He is confident that His God is sufficient to defend his place as God’s rightful king
He is trusting His God to help him keep it together in peace whatever the assault
Sam Storms has written a book “More Precious than Gold” on the Psalms … Listen to his comment here:
More Precious than Gold: 50 Daily Meditations on the Psalms Chapter 3: The Lifter of My Head (Psalm 3:3)

Or it could be his way of saying, “I have no glory of my own. I put no trust in my fame or fortune. You alone, O God, are the joy, boast, and glory of my life.”

3. He is a Restoring God - The Lifter of My Head - 3b
Image here is from
Genesis 40:13 ESV
In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh’s cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his cupbearer.
Genesis 40:20–21 ESV
On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he made a feast for all his servants and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.
During Absalom’s insurrection David was in desperate need of The Lord’ restoring Grace
2 Samuel 15:30 ESV
But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went.
2 Sam. 15:30
This restoring God is accessible -
Psalm 3:4 ESV
I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
Vocal Desperate Prayer … exalting and Treasuring this God in the midst of trouble
One recognizes that He alone is the answer to the mess around us.
David is saying … I know my God
This GOD-Centered Gaze keeps David Steady all the while his enemies plot his ruin.
David wasnt in utter despair
More Precious than Gold: 50 Daily Meditations on the Psalms Chapter 3: The Lifter of My Head (Psalm 3:3)

There was always and only One who was able to restore his strength and straighten his body and give him reason to hold his head high.

This isnt arrogance or presumption …
But humble, wholehearted assurance that OUR God can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

When a believer gazes too long at his enemies, the force arrayed against him seems to grow in size until it appears to be overwhelming. But when he turns his thoughts to God, God is seen in his true, great stature, and the enemies shrink to manageable proportions.

JM Boice
This is so foundational … Know God … Know God … and THEN apply what you know
To get this backward is like building a third floor in a house without having first laid a foundation; formed the basement, and put in floors one and two
I Love:
1 Samuel 2:7–8 ESV
The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world.
1 Samuel 2:7-
Psalm 27:5–6 ESV
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
Look at what Flows from this God-centered; Bible-centered Trust!

Observation 3 - The Peace we Enjoy - 5-6

Psalm 3:5–6 ESV
I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
Alec Motyer - Psalms by the Day - A New Devotional Commentary:
AS for Me I lay down and slept (Peace)
I woke up (Kept), for it is Yahweh who keeps supporting Me.
I am not Afraid of myriads of People who, all around, have taken their stand against me
Motyer stresses that verse 5 has idea off “Oh how I slept!!!”
That Peace was on the first night (v:5) and in the foreseeable future (v:6)
David trusted that the Lord can take care of His kingdom …
The circumstances hadn’t changed … yet there was no alarm or anxiety …
He knew His God … His Character … His Faithfulness
In that he found is exaltation and treasure … and He slept.
In that protecting, sufficient, and restoring God He found peace and …

Observation 4 - The Help we Expect - 7-8

Leupold Old Testament Commentaries: Psalms Psalm 3: A Morning Hymn of a Godly Man in Distress

This bold summons “arise” is common enough in the psalms (Ps. 7:6; 9:19; 10:12; 17:13; 74:22) and is obviously derived from the old prayer that Moses was wont to use (see Num. 10:35) when the ark of the covenant was taken up to lead the children on Israel on their march to the Land of Promise and against their many foes.

First part of verse 7 - The Trouble is still current!
Second Part - Verb tenses past tense … David is confident of the Lord’s deliverance …
Do the harsh images bother you?
The imagery is STRONG … But it is metaphorical:
* David’s prayer is recognizing that if lasting security is to be won … His enemies must be dealt with.
It is also recognizing that if the enemies are going to be dealt with it will be the Lord who does it
It also hands ultimate vengeance over to God
The image breaking their teeth … not sending them to orthodontists!
But rather “rendering them harmless … like a toothless lion with a broken jaw.”
Article in World Magazine a number of years ago about Bessy … an 8 ft burmese python that was accidentally released in an Idaho apartment complex.
Plumbers were called in to find the reptile in the walls and pipes of the 57,000 square foot complex.
Bessy was finally found loitering in the cieling below her home.
But for two weeks residents were nervously checking beneath their beds and behind dressers
for this huge snake.
After hearing the news of Bessie’s capture … one resident confessed …
We’ll definitely sleep better … I guess So
Until the threat is removed it’s hard to feel secure.
David’s enemies were worse than the python.
David realized that if lasting security was to happen … God would have to act.
Revelation 6:9–10 ESV
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
David is confessing … what the saints in Revelation confess …
That Salvation … deliverance … peace … real security … ultimate vindication is the Lord’s doing

This psalm is pointing forward to a greater king and a greater salvation. This makes all the difference for us as Christians. Psalm 3 strengthens us through the gospel. We look to Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, and in this psalm we see the pattern of his life. His suffering led to glory because God sustained him.

God may not save you from shame and death like he saved David, but he will save you through shame and death like he saved Christ.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:5)

You may be hard-pressed. Your family or close friends may turn against you. You might lose your job. You might lose your life. Your own children may turn against you, steal from you, hurt you. The promise of the gospel is that you will lie down, sleep, and wake up again, for the Lord will sustain you.

[H]e who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us … into his presence.…

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:14, 16–18)

If you believe this, you will be able to sleep in peace. You will be able to face death with confidence, knowing that God will sustain you.

“Trouble triggers Prayer”
Prayer is the way we slug through troubles.
More Precious than Gold: 50 Daily Meditations on the Psalms Chapter 3: The Lifter of My Head (Psalm 3:3)

Sometimes our circumstances don’t turn out for the better. But no matter what transpires, of this you may be sure: God is a shield about you. He is your glory. He is the one who will lift your head.

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