Although this psalm fits into the type of psalms known as Lament or Disorientation, there is quite an element of hope and faith that shines through despite the problems related to the actions and words of David’s enemies, which we are given insight into from the heading of the psalm (King David’s song when he was forced to flee from Absalom, his own son).
And even though this psalm seems to fit well into David’s situation as found in 2 Samuel 13:23-17:29, it is also very relevant to us and our time, particularly as we consider the sufferings of many believers in our day due to persecution, as mentioned when we considered Psalm 2.
In fact, I have just completed reading a book called “Blasphemy – The true, heart-breaking story of the woman sentenced to death over a cup of water” by Asia Bibi.” (co-authored by Anne-Isabell Tollet in 2012, Virago Press). As I read this book I thought of Psalm 3 and recognized that it could easily have been written by this courageous Pakistani Christian woman, who still remains on death row in a Pakistani prison having been accused of blasphemy in 2009 (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia_Bibi_blasphemy_case).
Over these years she has found strength in her Saviour Jesus who also knew all about being accused of blasphemy and facing the death sentence as a result!
Listen to the cry then, initially from David, but then from other fellow sufferers over the millennia, people just like Aasiya Noreen, also known as Asia Bibi.
“1. Lord, I have so many enemies, so many who are against me.
- Listen to how they whisper their slander against me, saying:
‘Look! He’s hopeless! Even God can’t save him from this!’
- But in the depths of my heart I truly know
That you have become my Shield;
You take me and surround me with yourself.
Your glory covers me continually. You alone restore my courage;
For you lift high my head when I bow low in shame.
- I have cried out to you
And from your holy presence,
You send me a Father’s help.
- So now I’ll lie down and go to sleep –
And I’ll awake in safety for you surround me with your glory.
- Even though dark powers prowl around me,
With their words like sharp arrows, I won’t be afraid.
- I simply cry out to you:
Rise up and help me, Lord! Come and save me!
And you will slap them in the face,
Breaking the power of their words to harm me.
- My true Hero comes to my rescue,
For the Lord alone is my Saviour.
What a feast of favour and bliss he gives his people!” (Psalm 3 TPT)
The thing that comes through very strongly in this psalm is David’s relationship with God and his belief that no matter what the enemy says or does, God is with him. Consider the words he uses about how this works out practically in his life in verses 3-8.
He describes God as his protective “Shield”, of being surrounded by Him and of being covered by His “glory”. Of being able to sleep soundly at night despite “dark powers” around him because of the “Father’s help” that gives him courage not to be afraid. His confidence is in God and God alone to defeat his foes and to rescue him, bringing him into a place of “favour and bliss” in God’s presence.
We need to remind ourselves often who our God really is and what he is able to accomplish even in the midst of the struggles of our lives. May we be inspired to trust God in greater ways as we consider this psalm and the following update concerning Asia Bibi in December 2015:
“For Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who was sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan, this Christmas is shrouded in mercy. This is her 7th Christmas she is spending behind bars … where Asia awaits the outcome of a re-examination of her blasphemy conviction …
For this 50-year-old mother of five, Christmas in the Year of Mercy is a celebration of forgiveness. Despite her suffering and isolation and her awareness of the immense injustice done to her, Asia is at peace. She is a woman who, inundated by the grace of God, gives her blessing to her own story, a story which human reason can only see as wrong, twisted and unfortunate.
Trusting in God’s Providence, Asia told members of her family who went to the prison to visit her on the morning of Christmas Eve: ‘Christmas is a celebration of God’s mercy. I forgive my persecutors, those who have made false accusations against me and I await their forgiveness.’ ” (http://www.lastampa.it/2015/12/24/vaticaninsider/eng/world-news/asia-bibis-christmas-i-forgive-my-persecutors-TOK3yqhamAjhFuldO0lFwN/pagina.html)
“Lord, come to the aid of Your Church…May they be faithful to the mission You have given them, to the word You have given them, to the commandment You have given them, so that, every day, they let themselves be led by Your grace.” (Prayer of Asia Bibi p. 121 “Blasphemy”)