Even though this Psalm of David was written thousands of years ago, we can hear echos of Christ, as well as a lesson on how to pray during the Coronavirus pandemic.
LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.”Psalm 3:1-2 NIV
David was anointed as the next king of Israel while Saul was still on the throne. God had rejected Saul as king, and now David finds himself surrounded by Saul’s army. The taunt “God will not deliver him” was intended to break David’s spirit into believing that God had somehow abandoned him. It’s as if his enemies were saying “There is no hope for you David! Even God has left you!” We can hear similar taunts as Jesus was crucified (Mt. 27:43).
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 NIV
The Hebrew here is difficult to translate, and the tense can work either in present tense (as the NIV chooses), but could also be translated in the past tense (as the ESV chooses). It seems to work better in past tense as David has already committed to God his requests in prayer and it is as if God has already answered him. Because David has faith that God will deliver, he treats his situation as if God has already completed the work.
Verse 5-6 remind us that God protects, even when we are the most vulnerable. No matter the size of the foe, or how helpless we seem, our God never sleeps and is never weak. We have nothing to fear because of the power and strength of our God. Also hear the echoes of resurrection. Though physical death brings us sleep, that is not our eternal fate. It is God who sustains.
David pleads for God’s deliverance to defeat his enemies decisively. And verse 8 brings us a powerful reminder.
From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.Psalm 3:8 NIV
Deliverance comes from God alone. It will not be by our efforts that we overcome, but by God’s blessing alone.
This week as we are reminded once again that we are not in control, and we are surrounded by fear and foe, let us place our hope firmly in our God. Let us pray for deliverance, hope in resurrection, and rest in the assurance that he has heard our prayer and has already conquered on behalf of his people.