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Psalms Class 1B Psalms 3 & 4

Jim Parker

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Psalm 3

Ps 3 A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son.

The first line tells us what this psalm is about: David’s struggle when his son, Absalom, attempts a coup against him.

So this is a “psalm of lament of the individual.” (It is David - an individual - who laments his situation.)

Vs.1-2 LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.”
Selah


Here David states his complaint to the Lord; many people have risen up against him to kill him.

Selah”???? What does that mean?


Selah. This word, which is found only in the poetical books of the Old Testament, occurs seventy-one times in the Psalms and three times in Habakkuk. It is probably a term which had a meaning in the musical nomenclature of the Hebrews, though what that meaning may have been is now a matter of pure conjecture. (Gesenius and Ewald and others think it has much the same meaning as our interlude,--a pause in the voices singing, while the instruments perform alone.)
(Smith’s Bible Dictionary)



Psa 3:3 But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.

By these words, David dismisses the threats of those who have risen up against him and states that His trust is in the Lord. He makes no mention of the many people who have come with him and are willing to fight for him. David knows that the outcome of the attempted coup is in the hands of the Lord.

Psa 3:4-5
I cried to the LORD with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah
I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.

David’s actions match his faith. He prays to the Lord and then, having placed his faith in God, he goes to bed and sleeps. He wakes up because the Lord sustained him and no one disturbed his sleep with an attempt on his life.

Psa 3:6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.

The number of his enemies is not important to him because he trusts in the Lord.

Psa 3:7 Arise, O LORD; Save me, O my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone;

You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.

David calls on the Lord to save him as the Lord has done before.



Psa 3:8 Salvation belongs to the LORD. Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah

Again, David states that salvation is the result of what God does, not of what men do.

God’s blessings are upon “Your people.” The people of the Lord are those who keep His commands. “Your people” are those who are faithful to God and who keep the covenant.


Psalm 4

Psa 4:1 To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.
Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!


David asks to be heard, not because of his own righteousness but because God is his righteousness.

You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.

God has consistently relieved David in the past so David’s first response is to go to God who is merciful and who hears our prayer.

Psa 4:2 How long, O you sons of men, will you turn my glory to shame?
How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood? Selah


This is God asking, “What is WRONG with you people”??? God blesses people and they act like fools and waste the blessing. People love things that will rust and decay and they love to be intrigued with all kinds of “spiritual” baloney.

Psa 4:3 But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
the LORD will hear when I call to Him.


God makes the Godly people His own people.

This concept appears at Jhn 1:12a But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God…

The Lord will hear David because David has been set apart for the Lord as a Godly person.

How does a godly person act?

Like this:
Psa 4:4-5 Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

Psa 4:6 There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?”
LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.


To the question, “Who will show us any good?” David asks God to reveal His merciful, loving, omnipotent, gracious, countenance.

The Septuagint (LXX) renders the second line: “Oh Lord, the light of your face was stamped on us.” It is a reference to man having been created in God’s image and likeness.

Psa 4:7-8 You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.


That is a very good description of “resting in the Lord.”
 

Razeontherock

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Selah as musical interlude makes so much sense! We know the Psalms were set to music, and we know that the process of singing in worship helps Spiritual Truth to "sink in."

Taking time to pause and reflect helps a lot when reading Scripture, and the Psalms give us lots of opportunity for that ...
 
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