These may be called very properly morning and evening Psalms. The third Psalm is the morning Psalm. A psalm of David when he fled from Absalom, his son. A dark hour that for David, preceded by the shadows of his own sin, and now deepened by the horrible hatred of his own favourite child, who conspired to take his kingdom and his life.
Psalm 3:1. LORD how are they increased that trouble me!
As if he could not measure his troubles. He stands amazed. He makes his appeal to God.
Psalm 3:2-3. Many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
That is the worst of all, when they begin to ridicule his religion. He was a man who had said much of his faith in God; and in former days he had done great marvels by trusting in the living God; and now one and another dared to say openly that God had cast him off.
Psalm 3:3. But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
The word in the Hebrew is a bigger word than the word shield. It is a buckler — a kind of guard above, around, beneath, an all-surrounding defence. “Thou, Lord, art a shield for me. They cannot harm me. They cannot kill me. I am still guarded by God; and, what is more, thou art my glory. Though my glory is taken away, yet I glory in thee. Whatever else I have not, I have a God, a God that I dare glory in too, for there is no such God as he is. And thou art the lifter up of my head.” My head is still above water. I do not yet sink, and my head shall rise again. Though I bow it down like a bulrush now, I shall one day praise him. I know that I shall, for he is the health of my countenance.
Psalm 3:4. I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
He means that he loved to pray alone, but to use his voice in prayer. I have heard many Christians say that they can pray better when they can hear their own voices; they are better able to collect their thoughts. The voice is not necessary to prayer. It is the mere body of prayer. Still, a right healthy body may help the soul, and sometimes the use of the voice may help the spirit. David says that he cried to God; and then it happened to him, as it always happens to us: “He heard me out of his holy hill.”
Psalm 3:5. I laid me down and slept;
Far from the palace, and from the place of worship where he loved to meet with God.
Psalm 3:5. I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.
I was kept through the night watches; through restless anxiety I slept. Now God sustains our hearts, even when we are asleep, for else we should not sleep. We should be restless and wakeful. But God gives us a peace ere we fall asleep, which abides with us as a blessed balm of rest, and so we sleep.
Psalm 3:6-7. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. 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.
They were like fierce lions threatening to devour him. They had already rent him in malice. God came and smote them on the jaw, so that they lost their strength to injure him.
Psalm 3:8. Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.
That is a sweet morning hymn. Sound Calvinistic doctrine that. “Salvation belongeth unto the Lord.” It is he that saves man. It is he that delivers those that are saved. And here is the speciality and peculiarity of his grace.
“Thy blessing is upon thy people.” Oh! to be remembered with them! Then, even if an Absalom should persecute us, the blessing is not withdrawn, for this is entailed upon the children of God.
“Thy blessing is upon thy people.”
Now for the evening hymn.
This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 3 and Psalms 4:1-6.