Psalm 3: Deliverance from on High

2017-02-11-deliverance-from-on-high

Lord, how many are my foes!
    How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
    “God will not deliver him.”

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
    and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
    assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
    Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
    break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
    May your blessing be on your people.

(New International Version)

This is the third post, and so the third Psalm, in a series that I’m using to get myself back to the Bible.  I’m making no promises of getting through any more of them, except this one right here today. In my desire to get back to the Bible, I am taking just one small step at a time.

Oh, Psalms. What was I thinking getting back to the Bible through the Psalms? I think I was thinking of the beautiful laments and songs of thanksgiving, the unfiltered emotional outcries to God that speak so deeply to our human experience. I was forgetting the violence and warlike language that often overtakes the Old Testament. And the book of Psalms doesn’t start out with soft songs and hymns. No, it starts with withering and wickedness, rods of iron and nations dashed to pieces, striking of jaws and breaking of teeth. It hurts my peacemaker sentiments and hopes for nonviolence.

But from the Lord comes deliverance.  That’s what I can focus on here in Psalm 3: Deliverance from evil, deliverance from violence, from hopelessness, from heartache. What we get here is the opportunity to bring it all to God and be delivered. And while we all have our own ideas of deliverance — whether striking your enemies down or rest from life’s weariness — in the end, God will decide just how to deliver us. We don’t always get exactly what we ask for and that is mercy.

What I see in this psalm is desperation and pleading, but reassurance and grace. Challenges are rising up (v. 1), but God lifts your head high (v. 3). As He lifts your head, as you tilt it back and scan your eyes toward the sky, you see the full height of the struggles overwhelming you and you call out. And a voice comes from above: an answer from a holy mountain (v. 4). You are not alone. And this gives you rest and peace, to lie down and sleep (v. 5). God sustains you, and it is He that will rise up to take on the challenges you face, because you can’t do it without Him. Deliverance. 

When it all seems too much, listen for the one who will deliver you. I call out. When all you see is obstacles, lift your eyes up to the mountain. I will not fear. When life is piling up against you, thank the Lord for sustaining you through it. I wake again. I don’t know if God will strike down your enemies. I think not because my God is a peacemaker and love personified. But I know there is rescue. There is rescue and redemption. There is mercy and life. May your blessing be on your people. 


5 thoughts on “Psalm 3: Deliverance from on High

  1. Is it a Psalm by David when he was being chased by Solomon? I forget. If so, I can see why God would strike down the pursuer.

    He is a God of love, but he is a jealous God. He wants us to worship him alone. He will silence the mockers and those who curse us because we pursue him. God delivers the faithful because we are faithful to him. I don’t know how that judgment will play out, but I find solace in that too. It is so hard getting beaten up verbally for professing faith in Christ, for declaring that he is the way, the truth, and the life. (Now, I’m not saying persecuted because I’ve never been truly persecuted, but I have been mocked.)

    I think too about how Frank would strike down anyone who set out to harm me. He normally seeks peace in so far as it depends on him, but he would defend me (and vice versa) should anything jeopardize my well-being or our marriage. It helps me to think about God’s jealous love when paralleled with my marriage to Frank. If a spouse has an affair, we feel deeply wounded. When we worship idols, we are pursuing an affair; an affront against God. Christ wants to do everything in his power to protect our relationship with him. He will try to strike down everything that tries to interfere in that pursuit, but he also lets us go, reluctantly, if we persist long enough. He delivers us from temptations and tempters when we cry out for help. When we do, we find blessing and deliverance from evil, from sin, and from everything that would try to separate us from him, even ourselves at times. Oh what a relief that is to my parched and thirsty soul.

    I have been trying to start my mornings with the Psalms too. The language is hard to swallow sometimes. I’m excited to see and hear how he teaches you through the Psalms too. Thanks for being so open Jamie.

    Like

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