David’s Response to Absalom 

Faith McCray ~ Copy Desk Chief 

Close-up photo of leaves with the words “Psalm 3”, Faith McCray 

Psalm 3 is a Psalm of David.1 Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! 2 Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” 3 But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. 4 I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain. 5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. 6 I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. 7 Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. 8 From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.  

This Psalm was written by David when he fled from his son, Absalom. During this time Absalom attempted to overthrow David and even tried sending 12,000 men to kill him (2 Samuel 17: 1-3). Most readers will probably not be able to relate to the exact circumstances that are being described. However, they can recall events in their own lives when people have hurt them. 

David’s fight with Absalom was not the first time that he was mocked. When David was a child, he was mocked by many people. An example of this is Goliath. Goliath was a Philistine giant from Gath. He was known to have stood six cubits and a span (1 Samuel 17).  

In v. 3 David envisions the Lord protecting him from his enemies. There is nothing to fear when we have God as our shield. In the past, David successfully overcame all of his enemies by trusting in the Lord. In Phillipians 4:5-7 Paul encourages every Christian to pray instead of tremble when adversity strikes. David’s prayer being answered is an example of this. 

We may not always be aware of all the potentially harmful situations God delivers us from, but we can trust nothing happens outside of his power/control. Believers may not have military foes, but we are surrounded by trials and afflictions (Romans 8:37). 

David concludes this Psalm by declaring that salvation belongs to the Lord. Scripture teaches that eternal salvation from sin and perdition belongs exclusively to the Lord. God saves by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is another gift from God (Romans 6:23). 

God does not turn a blind eye to injustice. He chose to unleash his wrath against sin on his own Son and, in so doing, make right all wrongs, pay all debts, and free all captives. God is the one people should cry out to in the midst of unfair pain. This is because God is the one who makes war on sin in order to make peace for all humankind (Psalm 3: 1-8). 

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