Psalm 3

One of the most vivid battle psalms of the Psalter psalm 3 wastes no words in calling for the vanquishing of God’s enemies. David is surrounded by foes, in this case the encroaching armies of rebellious son Absalom. A key part of the complaint of the psalm, as is often the case in psalms, is the taunts of the enemies who sow doubt in his mind about God’s ability or willingness to save him (vs. 2a). This leads to the view that the issue is not just about the threatened child of God but the vindication of God’s glory in this situation. This is why these taunts are so often recorded in psalms like this. It is a way of appealing to the highest purpose, that is, the glorification of God’s name. In the midst of this threat David declares his confidence that God will come to his aid in the face of his taunters, so much so that he says he can lie down and sleep in peace. And then comes the supplication. He cries out to God to arise and deliver him. And the terms he uses are filled with symbolism. The striking of the jaw and the breaking of the teeth indicate the nullification of the power of the enemy. Teeth are symbolic of the power to harm. So David calls on God to break this power in the enemy so that his bite should be without effect. It is powerful and emotive imagery that we can and should use as we become more aware of the issues of spiritual warfare (Eph 6:10ff).

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