Lectionary Calendar
Monday, July 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 3

Wells of Living Water CommentaryWells of Living Water

Verses 1-8

David's Trust in God

Psalms 3:1-8


As an introduction to the Third Psalm we want to give you a vision of the young man Absalom, the son of David, who is described as the basis of David's prayer as he fled from Absalom.

1. Absalom's pride. The 15th chapter of Second Samuel tells us that Absalom "Prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him." The chapter preceding says: "In all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty."

We have often read how pride and a haughty spirit go before a fall. He that exalteth himself shall be abased. He that lifteth himself up, shall be made low. Every lofty look and the haughtiness of man shall be bowed down and humbled. Our hearts ache for poor Absalom. His glory became his shame; his pride became the stumblingblock over which he fell to his destruction.

2. Absalom's perfidy. It was so that Absalom, the one greatly admired, would rise up early and stand by the way of the gate. Thus, as the people passed to go in unto King David for judgment, Absalom first of all would greet them kindly and then say, "See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee." Thus Absalom sought to create dissatisfaction in the mind's of the people concerning his father David. He even went so far as to say, "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!" Yea, Absalom even went so far as to do obeisance unto those who were far beneath his royal dignity. He even put forth his hand and took and kissed them. Thus did Absalom to all Israel, who came to the king for judgment: and so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

3. Absalom's insurrection. After forty years Absalom came to David and sought leave of absence, saying that he had vowed a vow unto the Lord in Hebron. Under the guise of Divine worship and fidelity to God, and under the kiss of his father, he arose as if to go to Hebron, However, he sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel saying, "As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron."

4. David's flight. When David heard what Absalom had done, and how the hearts of the men of Israel were after him, he arose and fled, and he and all his servants passed over. They went by the way of the brook Kedron, and up by the way of the Mount of Olives. We are beginning to see, in this brief outline of Absalom's pride, perfidy, and insurrection, and in David's flight, a very graphic story of Satan and the antichrist in their conflict against the Lord Jesus.

Our Lord too went down by the brook Kedron, and up by the way of the Mount of Olives. He who had gone about doing good, was despised and rejected of men. Christ also saw that the hearts of His people were not with Him.

5. David's prayer. The chapter we are studying in the Psalms carries this heading, "A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom." With all of this before us, we are sure that we will be able to appreciate the study of the Psalm itself.

If we would only look for it, we would find the story of Christ in either His life, His rejection and death, or in some other phase of His character, on practically every page of Scripture.

I. DO SAINTS HAVE TROUBLE? (Psalms 3:1-2 )

1. Satan goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Our first verse opens with the words: "Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me." This certainly was the story, in a nutshell, of David's whole life. When he was a shepherd boy he had to meet the bears and the lions as he guarded his sheep. When he was sent into the courts of King Saul, he had to face the javelin and the wrath, in general, of King Saul.

While still a youth David found it necessary to flee to the mountains. He hid himself in the dens and in the caves of the earth. He passed over into the land of the Philistines. In all of his many trials, the sorest of them all, was the one brought upon him by his own son Absalom, whom he loved.

2. In the world ye shall have tribulation. The lot of David is the lot of us all. There is no life without its clouds. There is no saint without his troubles. The nearer we walk to God, and the more valiantly we serve Him, the more will we be opposed.

Mrs. Neighbour and I have just come over to Cuba. We were twenty-four hours on the water. All the way from Tampa to Havana we had the calmest of seas. Our ship, however, was built for stormy weather. Others have told us how the boat rolled and tossed, when struck by a storm.

3. Hated of all men for My Name's sake. For His dear sake who was hated for us, we should be willing to be hated for Him. Shall the servant expect more than his Lord? If they have called the Master of the house, "the Lord of flies," shall we not expect to be called the same? Therefore, "Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach."


1. "Thou * * art a Shield for me."

2. "Thou * * art * * my glory."

3. "Thou * * art * * the Lifter up of mine head."

1. "Thou * * art a Shield for me." David is recounting, in Psalms 3:3 , how in all of his difficulties there was One who was with him. Not only that, but he said: "Thou, O Lord, art a Shield for me."

A shield not only protects the soldier of the Cross, but it also receives the arrows which otherwise would pierce him. The Lord is our shield: that is, the brunt of everything cast against us, falls upon Him. Has He not said, "Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you"?

Upon the Cross, Christ took our stripes, suffered in our stead, being made sin for us. That spirit which the Master showed in His Calvary death, lives with Him still. Whenever He sees an arrow about to strike one of His own, He still jumps in front, and lets the arrow fall, as it were, upon Himself. He is our Shield.

2. "Thou * * art * * my glory." Here is something that is illumined and made to shine the brighter by the context. In all of David's suffering, he not only found the Lord ready to take his sorrows and bear them for him, but he found the Lord ready to give unto him His glory. Where is he, who would not gladly trade his suffering for the Lord's songs; his shame for the Lord's glory?

This is just like the Christ of Calvary. On the one hand He bore our sins in His own body upon the Tree. On the other hand, He gave us all of the glory which was His. Hear ye His words: "The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them."

3. "Thou * * art * * the Lifter up of mine head." When weak and fainting by the way, the Lord puts His hand beneath us and lifts us up. Had it not been for the Lord, David would have fallen, never to rise. How tender is God's compassion toward us! If, like Elijah, we want to die; or, like Jonah, we utterly fail; the Lord lifts up out head.


1. David's sin in the case of Bathsheba. As we read Psalms 3:4 , we cannot but feel that David is crying unto the Lord concerning his sin in the case of his slaying of Uriah, and his marriage with Bathsheba.

David was a man of God. He was even a friend of God, and yet, it is possible for such an one to sin, if, for the while, he ceases to walk with God. Here is one thing about the Bible that makes it shine as a dependable, inerrant Book: it records not only the good, but the bad things concerning the children of God.

David sinned, Moses sinned, Abraham sinned, Peter sinned. This, by no means, suggests that they had to sin, although they were, by nature, sinners. God's grace, in each case, would have been sufficient for victory.

2. David's prayer of repentance. The 51st Psalm records this prayer. As we read it, how the genuineness of David's repentance, and the depths of his yearnings, stand forth! Thank God there is forgiveness for all of those who seek His face, confessing their sins; even as it is written, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

3. David's forgiveness. David said: " I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and He heard me out of His Holy Hill." God always hears when we cry. However, when we come to the Lord, we must come believing in His grace. Answered prayer is one of the joys of the Christian's life.

Deliverance from our sins, and full forgiveness, open our mouth with praise. David said: "Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness."


1. "I laid me down and slept" Rest in sins pardoned. Why should not David have laid him down and slept? During a period of some two years his bones had waxed old, through their roaring all the day. He had passed through two years of anguish and of heartache. Now, since he had confessed his sin, and sought and found pardon, he naturally laid himself down and slept. He had found peace, perfect peace.

And why should we not lie down and sleep? Our sins are washed away, our sins are gone. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace." Even though there is no rest to the wicked; even though the wicked are like the sea with its waves dashing, and they cannot rest; the one with his sins forgiven cannot be as they. Nay, when Christ entered into our troubled heart, He said: "Peace, be still," and there was a great calm.

2. "I awaked" a new undertaking. As soon as David had found rest in the Lord, He was fully awake to his new opportunities in service. He had said: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." He had said: "Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me." He had said: "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit." Then he added these significant words: " Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways."

3. "The Lord sustained me" strength imparted. Such is always the case. First, forgiveness; then, rest and testimony, a new power in service, and a new victory in temptation. This was Peter's experience. When he was forgiven he was restored to service, and strengthened to a new task.

Thank God, we are not left in any depleted and weakened condition when we are restored from our backslidings. Following forgiveness, the Lord gives power. We find His grace is sufficient to meet every need.


1. "Perfect love casteth out fear." " I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about." All fear of the enemy had passed. A new assurance had caused David to lift up his head. Even Absalom's perfidy, and his trained army seeking to destroy him, gave him no fear. He believed in God and was not afraid.

So it always is: when we have a commission from Heaven and we are walking in fellowship with a victorious Christ, we take His victory. We know there is nothing too hard for the Lord, and we know that it is a conquering Lord who fights for us.

2. "One * * shall chase a thousand." There came into the mind of David, in the hour of his great extremity, remembrances of the days of old. He remembered how, as a ruddy youth, he had gone out unarmored, with but a sling and five smooth pebbles, to meet the giant Goliath.

He remembered how, in the early days, after he had been crowned king, God had given deliverance upon deliverance to his armies from every foe. With all of this before him, and with the promises of God ringing in his mind, he cried out: "I will not be afraid of ten thousands." And why should we be afraid? Our God is still able to deliver.

3. "Ye shall receive power." Here is the promise which God left with us. "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." There is no task too great, no call of God too difficult, for the conquest of an unwavering faith. Our Lord said: "All power is given unto Me." Then He promised that power unto us, and told us to "Go."

The Apostle Paul said: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."


1. The prayer with the enemy gathered around. Here is the prayer which David prayed in the hour of his extremity: "Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God." David did not look to his own strength, for he had none. He did not look to his own armies, for his armies had gone over to Absalom. He looked unto God.

It is when we are weak that we are strong. It is when we are nothing, and have nothing, that we possess all things. David simply asked God to rise up. He knew, and we know, that when God once arises and unsheathes His sword, the victory is always ours.

2. By faith David. The next expression in David's prayer is enough to enroll him among God's galaxies as one of the heroes of the faith. David said: "Thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly."

Faith counts as done, that which faith knows is not yet done, but will be done. It is written: "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." David's prayer of faith said: "Thou hast ," when God actually had not. Such a prayer always brings results.

3. Believing before receiving. This is what God expects of us. Let us look at "receiving" from this angle. God, in His inerrant Word, has foretold many marvelous coming events. Let us live in the full assurance of all these things. Some people want history to verify prophecy before they will believe prophecy, and count it sure. True faith says: "The Word of God, in its prophetic statements, is made sure." True faith says, It is, because God says, It shall be.

Faith looks afar and gives substance to the things hoped for. Let us ask God to give us the faith of our fathers, that we may find our names enrolled among the overcomers.


1. "Where Christ is all in all."

2. Salvation, the gift of God.

3. Praise is comely.

1. "Where Christ is all in all." The last verse of our study and of our chapter, is the climactic statement of David's prayer. With all the fervor of his spirit he cried out: "Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: Thy blessing is upon Thy people." This cry of faith reminds us of Jonah's words, from the belly of the fish. He, too, cried out: "Salvation is of the Lord."

David's cry of faith reminds us, again, of the Lord's words upon the Cross, "It is finished." Christ seemed to be saying: "Salvation is now a completed work."

In the 22d Psalm, after Christ had said: "Save Me from the lion's mouth," He cried, "I will declare Thy Name unto My brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee." In connection with this it behooves us to remember that immediately after His resurrection, He said: "Go tell My brethren."

In the 69th Psalm, after the vision of the Cross, Christ said, "Let Thy salvation, O God, set Me up on high."

2. Salvation the gift of God. David's words are true from various viewpoints. Salvation from our enemies is of God. Salvation from our sins is from God. The salvation of our bodies is from God. The angel told Mary, "Thou shalt call His Name JESUS: for He shall save * *" and He does save. "There is none other name tinder Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

3. Praise is comely. A favorite verse with my wife is, " Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me (God)." Certainly the Church of the first-born on earth should praise Him; and the great volume of Gospel hymns and songs do praise Him. The Church also of the first-born, which is in Heaven, praises Him.

What a wonderful time it will be when we all gather around the throne of God and sing the great magnificats of our salvation.


David had many difficulties along his earthly pilgrimage. However, all of these things only worked out God's glory in his life. Miss Amy Carmichael tells the following:

"The hills of Southern India drop steeply towards the Indian Ocean. From the high rocks where the ibex find safe foothold, you can see the waves that continually wash up in vast quantities two kinds of precious sand. One, monazite, is magnetic. It is composed largely of thorium (the name looks back to the Scandinavian Thor), and is used in making incandescent gas-mantles. Monazite glistens, but is of a dull color. The other, ilmenite, is even more magnetic. The pure thorium oxide is extracted and used as the finest pigment in white paint and enamel. The valuable sand is separated from the other sand (which looks far more valuable, for it often seems all garnet and crystal and jacinth), first by magnet, and finally by vibrating tables down which it is run, and where the magnetic impurities are separated out by gravity.

The process of water-grinding in the sea (by which the particles of ore are detached from the original rock), friction of grain upon grain in the rough and tumble of the waves, the influence of a force which we name and use but cannot explain, the tedious, tiny agitations of the vibrating tables which call into effective cooperation the mighty pull of the earth all these processes work together to bring forth from a black sand, whiteness, and from a dull-colored sand a substance which helps toward illumination.

And the first of these is the breaking up of the rock in the bed of the sea; the discipline of renunciation. It is a figure of the true. First the severance: that which is death to the old order of being, then many a blow that we call blinding, little unexplained constraints, tedious minutes of shifting circumstance that out of mere dust of the sea something good may be prepared for the use of Him whom we call Master and Lord."

Bibliographical Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Psalms 3". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lwc/psalms-3.html.
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