When I was in Phoenix, I had a job as an early morning janitor. 4-8 AM every day. It was the worst, and I only lasted a month. If you can do that, you have my utmost respect and awe.
Anyway, the store I worked at didn’t open until 9 AM, so I asked if I could wear headphones. The manager said I couldn’t. So for four hours every day I would sweep, buff, and vacuum in total silence. Let me tell you, the vacuuming was the best, because it was one of those Ghostbusters vacuums.
There was one morning when I was like, here we go, I’m going to try and pray this whole shift. I wrote out a list of prayer needs on a card and got ready to go. I clocked in and started sweeping. I prayed everything I could think of and looked at my watch. It was 4:06. It had been a whopping six minutes since I started praying. I kept trying to find my groove but I would get distracted. I was not very good at praying, and to be totally honest I’m still not adept at this spiritual discipline. Psalm 3 teaches us however that prayer truly does change things. Prayer reorients our perspective, and through our humble petitions, God is willing to move.
Let’s do it.
O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. – Psalm 3:1-2
This is a psalm of David, and in this Psalm David is in desperate need. He is running from his own son who wants to kill him and take his throne. He is surrounded by his former men who have now sworn allegiance to his son Absalom who wants to kill him.
Not only is there the fear of physical death in this situation, David is dealing with the fear of God’s abandonment. The foes and enemies of David were proclaiming that there was no salvation for David in God. I’m sure this led him to at least momentarily doubt whether or not God was still for him.
Have you ever felt that way?
Have you ever felt like God had abandoned you?
I know I have, and I can tell you that there is great confidence, hope, and faith to be found in David’s response to this intensely bleak season of his life. Instead of caving to the lies and losing his trust in God (although there are other Psalms where he does begin to question God’s faithfulness, which should remind us all that that is an okay emotion to work through), David continues to have deep confidence in Him.
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. – Psalm 3:3-6
David is confident in the Lord’s ability to protect and provide. One of the greatest benefits of prayer for me is the opportunity to take a deep breath and remember that God has been faithful and will continue to be so. In this Psalm, David understands three crucial aspects of God’s character, and this leads to his confidence in prayer.
- God is his shield. This terminology is used all throughout the book of Psalms. It is warfare imagery, and it is a reminder for David and for us that God is able to protect us from anything that comes our way. He shields us from the enemy. This doesn’t mean that all will be perfect in our lives. Rather it means that God will not allow anything to hit us spiritually that He has not provided us the strength to overcome through His grace and mercy.
- God is his glory. David understood that anything in his life, any throne, any praise, and accolade, any glory, was ultimately just a shadow of God’s great glory and was a result of God’s gifts to him as his child. God is our glory as well. Anything we’ve got in this life is from him and for him.
- God is the lifter of his head. David knew that God would restore his countenance, that God would restore joy and hope to his heart, lifting up his head. When you and I get discouraged or down, our heads droop. But God lifts up our heads.
God answered David’s prayer. That is the beauty of verse four. Remember that this is after the Bathsheba incident. This is a wonderful reminder that God forgives, and that God shows great grace. God answered the cries of David’s heart.
Now in our lives, the answers may not come in the way or in the timing that we would ask for, but God still is in the business of answering prayers.
David then decides to go to sleep. This is the part of this passage that blows my ever-loving mind. David is being pursued by this enemy force and he is so confident in God’s ability to protect and provide for him that he takes a nap.
May we have equal confidence in God’s ability to provide for and protect us in every situation we encounter.
The Psalm closes with David praying total destruction upon his enemies, and for the sake of length I don’t have the space to tackle that today. I wanted us to take a look at this Psalm for the sake of being reminded that prayer truly does change things.
God hears our prayers and answers them. Prayer is vitally important. We don’t like to do it because it’s foreign and makes us slow down. But it is no less important. Because of Jesus’ death in our place, we can know God personally.
LET THIS SINK IN.
We can talk with God, we can share our lives and our worries with him. There is no prayer too big or too small for us to share with Him. We can ask for his help. We can give him the praise he deserves.
Tell God your worries.
Remind yourself how powerful and in control he is.
Ask God to help you.
Get some sleep.
You can rest in God’s provision and protection.
In His Name,
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