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Psalms 3-4; 12-13; 28; 55 Listen
This Psalm reflects some bad times (Psalm 3)
A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.
1 LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.
2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
7 Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.
8 Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.
The subtitle says, "A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son." Absalom was a problem to his father, David, from II Samuel 13 through 18 when he tried to have David killed so that he might reign in his stead.
Imagine...fleeing your own hometown and leaving the leadership of your own kingdom behind in flight from your own son. So how do you feel when your eldest son is trying to kill you? Here's the answer in Psalm 3. It is interesting to see, however, what David has learned through the years concerning leaving his enemies to God. That brings me to a great appreciation for verse 5, "I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me." David is saying, in other words, "I'm not losing sleep over this ordeal, and everyday I wake up is a good day!"
A Psalm to the guy in charge of stringed instruments (Psalm 4)
To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David.
1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
2 O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.
3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.
4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.
6 There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
David is the author, although we are not told the circumstances in the subtitle. "Neginoth" in the introduction means "stringed instruments."
Following is an excerpt from Easton's Bible Dictionary regarding the word "Selah":
Selah: a word frequently found in the Book of Psalms, and also in Hab. 3:9, 13, about seventy-four times in all in Scripture. Its meaning is doubtful. Some interpret it as meaning silence or pause; others, end, a louder strain, piano, etc.
Verse 8 would indicate that David wrote this intending it to be a prayer at bed time.
The Godless conduct of people (Psalm 12)
To the chief Musician upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David.
1 Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.
2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.
3 The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:
4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?
5 For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.
6 The words of the LORD are PURE WORDS: AS silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.
The introduction to this Psalm says, "To the chief Musician upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David." Regarding the phrase, Easton has this to say: "Sheminith: eight; octave, a musical term, supposed to denote the lowest note sung by mens voices (1 Chr. 15:21; Ps. 6; 12, title)." Here's a Psalm in which David speaks of the deceitful god-rejecting people around us who, with their words, attempt to sour our own relationship with God. I particularly like David's comments on God's word in verses 6-7, "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." They are preserved and forever pure.
How loooong...x4? (Psalm 13)
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
1 How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4 Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
5 But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
6 I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
It seems quite likely that David would have penned these words while fleeing his son Absalom in II Samuel 13-18 (see above), although we are not specifically told so in the subtitle. David begins this Psalm in distress asking the Lord "how long" four times. What an effective way to express impatience. Hey! I can think of at least one famous speech of the 20th century which inserted that same line...over and over again. With regard to deliverance from his enemies, David demonstrates an unwavering faith that it's not a case of "if," but when God will deliver him.
Don't let me be lumped in with the wicked (Psalm 28)
A Psalm of David.
1 Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.
2 Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.
3 Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.
4 Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert.
5 Because they regard not the works of the LORD, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up.
6 Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
8 The LORD is THEIR STRENGTH, AND HE IS the saving strength of his anointed.
9 Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.
David is credited with this one. Again, it seems quite likely that David would have penned these words while fleeing his son Absalom in II Samuel 13-18 (see above), although it is not specifically stated. David says: I don't belong with the wicked. Let them get what is coming to them according to their works. Bless me. Notice particularly verse 4, "Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert." Along with David, it is completely appropriate to pray for those who practice evil to receive the just recompense for their practices.
Forsaken by friends (Psalm 55)
To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David.
1 Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.
2 Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;
3 Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.
4 My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.
5 Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.
6 And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.
7 Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.
8 I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.
9 Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it.
11 Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.
12 For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:
13 But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.
14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
15 Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.
16 As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.
17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.
18 He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.
19 God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.
20 He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant.
21 The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.
22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
23 But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.
Again, David is the author. We've seen David write a lot of songs about God delivering him from his enemies. Here's a song with a little different angle - delivery from double-crossing friends. Notice verses 12-13, "For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance."
We don't know to whom he was referring. Some have suggested that this Psalm is prophetic regarding the betrayal of Jesus. There really isn't any indication in scripture that would validate that position. But...you do hate it when your friends turn on you.