The past few Saturdays we’ve looked at a couple of my favorite psalms. Since getting back home from looking after Mom as she recovered from her fall last summer, my mind has focused a lot on prayer. I’ve seen the results of people praying, especially this past year. At every turn, the Lord reveals His desire for me to focus on prayer. I’m currently working on a book project centered around prayer. Recently, I was asked to design a social media campaign focusing on prayer. I’ve watched and listened as people turn to prayer in the midst of crisis, including natural disasters and mass shootings. My heart aches for those who feel like prayer is an insufficient response. May God help heal their unbelief. While I agree, we need to roll up our sleeves and physically help our neighbors in need, I am also a fierce proponent of prayer. Like I said earlier, I’ve seen God work through prayer. The Book of Psalms is chock-full of prayers. In the Saturdays ahead, starting this morning, I want to take a journey exploring these heartfelt prayers.
Psalm 3 (NET)
A psalm of David, written when he fled from his son Absalom.
1 Lord, how numerous are my enemies!
Many attack me.
2 Many say about me,
“God will not deliver him.” (Selah)
3 But you, Lord, are a shield that protects me;
you are my glory and the one who restores me.
4 To the Lord I cried out,
and he answered me from his holy hill. (Selah)
5 I rested and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord protects me.
6 I am not afraid of the multitude of people
who attack me from all directions.
7 Rise up, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!
Yes, you will strike all my enemies on the jaw;
you will break the teeth of the wicked.
8 The Lord delivers;
you show favor to your people. (Selah)
What does Selah mean?
“Selah” comes from the Hebrew word salah and means “to lift up” or “to elevate or raise”. The word “Selah,” occurs 71 times in the psalms and is believed to be a musical notation that Israel’s leaders may have added sometime after they incorporated the psalms into public worship. Evidently “Selah” cued worshippers to lift up their voices and raise their hands.
In verses 1-7a, we find the prayer of the psalmist (David) as he laments his situation during his flight from Absalom (2 Samuel 15-18). This is the first of many of David’s prayers recorded in Psalms. Drowning amidst the evil schemes of his enemies, David voices his confidence that God will protect him since he was the Lord’s chosen king.
David begins by lamenting his present situation. He is surrounded by enemies. He feels like everyone is against him. Absalom had garnered the favor of many Israelites. David cries out for physical deliverance from the real enemies seeking to do him harm. David is confident that the Lord will rescue him since he is the one God has chosen to lead the people of Israel. David is not timid in his prayer. He asks God for His divine protection, expecting the Lord to come through for him and protect him from the evil plans of his enemies. Notice that David is so confident of the Lord’s response that he refers to the enemy as if they had already been defeated. David believed that God delivers those He has called to fulfill His purpose.
Through David’s example, we learn that we can take our physical concerns to God in prayer. We can ask Him to deliver us from our physical ailments and from difficult circumstances that we are facing. Like David, we can be confident that the Lord hears us. As believers, you and I can be encouraged by this tremendous prayer. God works for the good of those who love Him and does not permit victory for those who work against His will. Ultimately, those of us who have repented and placed our faith and trust in Jesus, will be delivered from the difficulties we face in this world. Our troubles will not be victorious over us because in the end, our victory is found in Jesus. In God, we find love. Through God, we have hope.