First Impressions of Psalm 3

In an effort to shorten the posts here at Ophelimos without sacrificing too much Bible study content, I’m trying a new format for the study on Psalm 3.  Instead of having three sections for every group of verses (First Impressions, Insights from the Septuagint, and Law & Gospel), I’m going to write one post as a first impression of the psalm.  Then for each section, I’ll translate the Septuagint at the beginning, but I will incorporate any insights from that translation throughout the regular Law & Gospel section, which is where most of the study was concentrated anyway.

Confused yet?  Good.

First Impressions of Psalm 3

I struggle with the practical application of psalms that talk about being attacked by enemies.  I don’t have a lot of enemies in life, so it’s hard for me to picture what it must have been like to be David, who not only had war almost constantly during his reign as Israel’s king, but was also fighting against family members (this Psalm states in the heading, “A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.”[1]).  I suspect that we’ll get a good bit of play from the phrase “there is no salvation for him in God.”

In the second section[2] there are a few things that I’m looking forward to studying.  First, verse three says, “But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.”[3]  I made a note in the margin of my Bible that ties this verse to Eph. 6:16 and the shield of faith.[4]  I’m anticipating talking about how our faith in God protects us from attacks of our opponents.

Verses five and six just sound like good advice.  Are you feeling stressed, exasperated, or overwhelmed?  Just sleep on it, and the LORD will often refresh you.  I’m also getting the picture of Elijah fleeing from Jezebel into the wilderness and needing to stop and rest so that he might be refreshed.

I’m guessing the dominant phrase of verses seven and eight will be, “Arise, O LORD!” especially since it is paired with “Save me, O my God!”  The activity involved with salvation is God’s alone, because salvation is something that God does for us.  It’s not something we do for ourselves or for God.

There’s an obvious tie-in with verse eight, as well.  Salvation does indeed belong to the Lord because he’s the one who provides it for us.  The great outcome of all that is that the blessing falls on God’s people.  That is a wonderful picture of grace.  God does all the work, and we get the blessing.

[1] Random interesting fact: the headings to the Psalms are actually a part of the Hebrew text of Scripture.

[2] I still don’t know if I should call these stanzas or sections.  The Psalms are naturally musical, and the ESV does a nice job of grouping verses together into units of thought, but as a non-musician I’m not comfortable with calling the stanzas.

[3] There’s a praise and worship song with that exact same chorus, and now I can’t get it out of my head.

[4] Interestingly enough, the cross references in the ESV don’t make that connection.

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  1. #1 by Katelyn on August 2, 2011 - 11:06 pm

    I’m interested to see how this new approach works! So far, I’m really excited for Psalm 3!

    • #2 by Jason on August 2, 2011 - 11:10 pm

      At this point, I’m interested to see how it works, too. I’m glad to be having enough input at the beginning of this blog’s history so that it doesn’t become stagnant.

  2. #3 by jcandy1958 on August 2, 2011 - 11:31 pm

    I’m looking forward to how you deal with the enemies in a contemporary context.

  1. Shielded, Lifted up, and Heard – Psalm 3:3-4 « ophelimos

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