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This is a psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. It is obvious, on the face of it, that the work is a collection. A number of separate poems, the production of different persons, and belonging to perhaps by several distinct editors and have been united into a volume, which has been accepted by the Jewish and later by the Christian church as one of the books of the holy scripture . The poems seem originally to have been, for the most part quite separate and distinct; each is a whole in itself; and most of them appear to have been composed for a special object, and on a special occasion. The Psalter, as the Book of Psalms is often called, is actually a collection of different kinds of poetry spanning many centuries of history (from c. 1100 BC to 400 BC ) and reaching essentially its present form around 300 BC . Occasionally, but very seldom, one psalm seems linked to many other psalms. The purpose of the psalms was well expressed by David when he instituted hymns in Israel. He appointed the Levites “to record and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel”(1 Corinthians 16:4). The book of Psalms is a record of petitions, thanksgiving, and praise to God by His people. As such it has brought comfort, encouragement, and blessing to God’s people throughout the ages. Every human emotion is covered in these hymns of aspirations to God. The historical background to the psalm is described in 2 Samuel 15-17. Though David petitioned in verse 7, Arise, O Lord; save me, it is clear from 2 Samuel 15:32-37 that David shrewdly sent his friend Hushai back to Jerusalem to deceive Absalom. David used other means but trusted only in God. We can describe it first as based in history, second in an allegorical sense, and lastly in a moral sense . The historical sense is clear from its title which is when he was fleeing from the face of his son Absalon, as is treated of at 2 Kings 15 - David's son, Absalon, persecuting his father, desired to kill him. David yielded to him, leaving Jerusalem on foot with his household. There are two words that tend to draw the readers attention in this passage of scripture. Those two words are shield and enemy.
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The Original readers of were the Israelites. The psalms were used by the Israelites in the context of worship to provide a structure in which they could bring their praises, thanks, hurts and grief honestly and openly before God . For the historical occasion mentioned, compare 2 Samuel 15:1-17:29 to Psalm 3:1-8. David, in the midst of great distress, with confidence, implores God's aid, and, anticipating relief, offers praise. That’s the main point of Psalm 3, offering praise to God. It teaches an active believer, the more he is beaten off from God, either by the rebukes of providence or the reproaches of enemies, the faster hold he will take and the closer will he cleave to him. A child of God startles at the very thought of not having help from God. Believers want to see what God is to his people, what he will be, and what they have found in him. David found in him safety; a shield for me, which denotes the advantage of that protection. He also found honor; those whom God owns for himself. One of the last things David found was joy and deliverance. If in the worst of times, God's people can lift up their heads with joy and say we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Today care and grief do Christians well, when they engage believers to pray to God as in the way God expect Christians to. David had always found God ready to answer his prayers. Nothing can fix a gulf between the communications of God's grace towards believers and the working of his grace in us. David had always been very safe under the Divine protection. This is applicable to the common mercies of every night, for which we ought to give thanks every morning. Many lie down and cannot sleep because of pains in the body, anguish of mind, or the continual alarms of fear in the night. But it seems here rather to be meant of the calmness of David's spirit in the midst of his dangers. The Lord, by his grace and the consolations of his Spirit, made him easy. It is a great mercy when we are in trouble to have our minds stayed upon God. Behold the Son of David composing himself to his rest upon the cross, that bed of sorrows; commending his Spirit into the Father's hands in full confidence of a joyful resurrection . Behold this, O Christian: let faith teach thee how to sleep, and how to die; while it assures thee that as sleep is a short death, so death is only a longer sleep; the same God watches over thee, in thy bed and in thy grave. David's faith became triumphant. He began the psalm with complaints of the strength and malice of his enemies; but concludes with rejoicing in the power and grace of his God and now sees more with him than against him. I can very easily apply this Psalm to my life. Sometimes I feel exactly like David felt. It makes me fell a lot better knowing that in the end, I will win. I like that passage of scripture that talks about running the race with patience and keep focused on Jesus no matter what the enemy does. He might throw stumbling block in my way. But, one way or another God provides away around them.