First Baptist Church of Oak Creek

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  "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
 . . .  Colossians 1:10  . . .
Oh Lord Rescue Me!

Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 2/23/03

Psalm 3

  • Introduction

You will recall that the Psalms are Hebrew songs that were sung to express some emotion and or tell about some event. Our focus in this message is Psalm 3. It is the first of five consecutive prayer hymns. Many Bibles designate Psalm 3 as a morning prayer, Psalm 4 an evening prayer, Psalm 5 a prayer of protection, Psalm 6 a prayer for mercy in time of trouble and Psalm 7 a prayer for justice.

Psalm 3 is the first Psalm with a title: A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.

Absalom was the third son of David (2 Samuel 3:3). He rebelled against his father David. Why? Perhaps Absalom was bitter about being ignored by his father and most certainly he resented his brother Ammon getting away with raping Tamar, (his full sister) without King David, his father, doing anything about it (2 Samuel 13:1-32). A deep-seated bitterness and enmity developed between Absalom and his father. This background information will help give you a better understanding of the basis of the animosity between David and Absalom.

David Surrounded By Enemies (1-2)

The Historical Setting

  • Verse 1

King David describes the development of a coup d'état of the worst kind, because his son, Absalom, is behind it. Let’s look at David’s prayer. He beings, "LORD, how are they increased that trouble me…" (1a)

The context of this statement is 2 Samuel 15:4-5, 12 "Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! 5 And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. 12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom."

Absalom waited in the wings to capitalize on his father’s weaknesses. He found a group of disgruntled people and met their need, so they joined in the conspiracy.

Now let’s set the context of 1b – "…many are they that rise up against me." Turn to 2 Samuel 17:1, 24 "Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night: 24 Then David came to Mahanaim. And Absalom passed over Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him."

King David flees for his life. Hot on his tail is Absalom and twelve thousand of his lackeys.

  • Verse 2

"Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah." Psalms 3:2

The context of this verse is 2 Samuel 16:7-8 "And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: 8 The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man."

David is called a bloody man because he was responsible for the murder of Uriah the Hittite to cover up his adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11). Shimei is saying King David, get out of town, get out of town you son of the devil! Further, he is falsely alleging that David was the cause of the death of Saul and his sons; as if he had stirred up the Philistines to that battle in which Saul and his sons were slain, and had a hand secretly in the deaths of Ishbosheth and Abner. Shimei contends God has turned his back on David and given the kingdom to Absalom because of the evil David had done. There can be no doubt that David is in a desperate circumstance. This is the historical setting of Psalm 3 and it looks bleak, does it not?

Just before we move on to our next point, I turn your attention to the word Selah. This is a translation of the Hebrew word hlo celah (seh’-law; 05542). No one knows exactly what is means; however, many believe it is a musical term that indicates a pause in the music.

This is a good place for a pause and then move on to the next verse.

David Sustained By God (3-6)

After becoming acquainted with the historical background of Psalm 3, perhaps you have raised an eyebrow. Or, perhaps you are saying, David does not deserve God’s help! Indeed you are correct. He did not deserve God’s help. But neither do any of us for that matter. However, there is another ingredient that needs to be added to the pot. It is this; God always honors confession and repentance. Therefore, Psalms 32 & 51 must be considered. I remind you that the Psalms are not arranged in chronological order. Clearly, David confessed his sins relating to his Bathsheba affair and repented. I believe Proverbs 28:13 is true: "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." David’s confession maked him eligible to ask God for help and in His mercy, God rescued David from the conspiracy of his son Absalom.

Application: If you are a believer living in sin, confess and repent of your sin and the Lord will abundantly pardon you (Isaiah 55:7).

Let’s move on to see how God sustained David.

  • Verse 3

"But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head."

First, David says the LORD (Jehovah) is his shield. Remember that David was a military man. The word shield is a reference to a small shield called a buckler. It was strapped on the arm and was a first line of defense in close combat. Therefore, David says his first line of defense is the Lord.

Second, he says the LORD is his glory. This word means honor or splendor. I believe David remembered when he was a shepherd boy. He acknowledges it is God who raised him to all the glory and honor he enjoyed in his life. David did not boast in his own strength, valor, wisdom, riches or honor, but in the Lord. His attitude was the same as the words of the song… "To God be the glory, great things he hath done!"

Third, he says, the LORD is the "…the lifter up" of his head. Charles Spurgeon says, "There is a lifting up in honor after shame, in health after sickness, in gladness after sorrow, in restoration after a fall, in victory after a temporary defeat; in all these respects the Lord is the lifter up of our head."

  • Verse 4

Verse 4 is self-explanatory. "I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah."

  • Verse 5

"I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me."

Anxiety often keeps you awake. Yet, King David was able to sleep because he had faith that LORD would sustain him. The Hebrew word translated sustained is Kmo camak (saw-mak’; 5564), which means to hold up or to lean upon. David was confident because he was leaning upon the omnipotent Lord.

The last verse in this section is…

  • Verse 6

"I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about."

Ruin was staring David in the face. Yet he refused to act on the basis of outward pressures and appearances. He trusted that God would be his refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1).

David Saved By God (7-8)

  • Verse 7

"Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly."

David was not bashful about asking for help. The word save is verse 7 and salvation in verse 8 is a reference to physical rescue not spiritual salvation. In verse 3 David said the LORD was his shield or physical protection. In this verse hitting the enemy on the cheek bone and breaking their teeth is a metaphor for stopping the slander and cutting words of his enemies.

David concludes in…

  • Verse 8

"Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah."

This last phrase is an acknowledgment of praise to Jehovah for delivering him.

If you find yourself in a situation where you feel there is no way out, go to the LORD in prayer and cry for help.


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First Baptist Church of Oak Creek

10550 S. Howell Ave. - Oak Creek, WI 53154

Phone: 414-762-7575

Pastor: David L. Brown, Ph.D.

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