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This is the first psalm with a title. David wrote …

This is the first psalm with a title. David wrote this psalm, we are told, as a response to the heart- wrenching experience of being violently pursued by his own son, Absalom (see 2 Samuel 15–16). We see in this psalm how a man of God models genuine faith in the midst of dire circumstances. What must it have been like to be murderously hunted by his own child?

David felt utterly overwhelmed by the sheer weight of opposition: “Many are rising against me” (Ps. 3:1); “many thousands of people . . . have set themselves against me”
(v. 6).

What strengthens David, however, is not strength mustered up from within. What stabilizes him is not self-generated optimism. David knows that earthly help is worthless when the tidal waves of life threaten to overwhelm and drown us. Instead he looks to God: “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me” (v. 3). This is the posture of faith. Only in this way does David’s internal frenetic anxiety die away so that he can sleep in peace once more (v. 5). Self-divesting trust in God is the channel through which the deliverance and power of God may flow.

What threatens to overwhelm you today? We have an even greater source of calm than David did, for there is one who did not strike God’s enemies on the cheek (v. 7) but instead let himself be struck on the cheek. Indeed, he experienced the ultimate rejection, being nailed to a Roman cross. Jesus allowed himself to be truly overwhelmed by his enemies. The result is that believers can be confident that every overwhelming experience they face is from a loving Father to help them.


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