Today’s guest response comes from a familiar face here at Ophelimos – Ryan Egan. Ryan blogs at I am an offering, where he focuses on worship as a lifestyle. For more about Ryan, see the interview with him from July.
Some Psalms are incredibly easy to respond to. Psalms that speak of the glory of the Lord or the general salvation he grants to His people invite an instant response that is applicable to today’s living.
Some, however, are a little different. This one for example, brings me to a halt in the first verse. There is often a danger of looking at Scripture and figuring out a way to apply it to our lives and completely take it out of context. We could say of vs. 1 “Oh, our foes are raging all around us; stress, financial troubles, worry, etc.” But that would be a completely inaccurate application of the Psalm.
This Psalm is coming from a real person talking about real foes. He goes on to speak of how God is his protection and that Salvation belongs to Him.
I live in the United States of America. I live in a very nice neighborhood. I have a lovely wife, a daughter, and a son on the way. I have a steady income. I have a roof over my head that’s protecting me from the pouring rain and wind that I hear as I type.
What I don’t have, are foes. I’ve never experienced any real opposition whatsoever. I’ve never experienced anyone “rising against” me, let alone “thousands who have set themselves against me all around” as vs. 6 says.
And, selfishly, I hope that I never do face any of these things. But, I pray that I can have the faith it would take to rely on God as completely as this Psalmist did, in spite of my lack of any opposition in this life.
It’s very difficult to declare that “the Lord sustained me” (vs. 5) when I don’t ever have to wonder where my next meal is coming from. It’s very difficult to say “You, oh Lord, are a shield about me” when I have a roof over my head and clothes on my back to protect me.
This Psalmist relied on God because he had no choice. He had nothing else to sustain him and drive him, to cling to in the midst of trouble but the promise and deliverance of His God.
I’m afraid to pray it too often, but this Psalm has led me to the conclusion that I need to pray, “God, cause events in my life to cause me to rely solely on You. Rid me of my comfort and help me understand what it is to have true need, true opposition, and true faith in who You are.”
Psalm 3, when properly applied, teaches us that when the time comes when we do face all these things, we can declare with boldness, “Salvation belongs to the Lord.”