In my last post I talked about reading the Psalms in context, and reading them as being about Christ (rather than about me). When I was considering these points, it made me re-examine Psalm 3 which I think I have grievously misunderstood in the past.
Psalm 1 and 2 form an introduction to the rest of the book – that is pretty widely accepted (hence the lack of titles for them, compared to the following psalms which are לְדָוִד. So the first ‘real’ Psalm is number 3.
Previously I (and I’m sure many others) read Psalm 3 individualistically: we read it as if it is all about me. So when David (whom I take as author) said “how many are my foes” our minds instantly go to all of our ‘foes’ – not usually literal ones like Absalom, but all the trial and hardships that we face in life.
But I suggest there are a two factors that should make us read Psalm 3 differently:
- it comes in the context of Psalm 2 – when “nations” and “peoples” conspire and plot against God’s anointed King
- it is written by David, who is God’s anointed king of the time
So when Psalm 3 begins with “How many are my foes…” the context is pointing us to the foes of God and his king – not just the foes of Average Joe Israelite. In other words, Psalm 3 is not a song sung by one of God’s people when things are going badly, it is a song sung by God’s king when he faces opposition and when people are against him – which was true of David – and was even more true of Christ. So I think we are supposed to read Psalm3 as a song sung by Christ (or, in the words of this post: a song sung by the anointed King).
There is another reason that I think Psalm 3 is sung by the anointed king. In v4, when David is concerned about his enemies, he looks to God and, more specifically, to “his holy mountain” for his comfort and confidence (מֵהַר קָדְשׂוֹ). Again, considering the context – it is on his “holy mountain” that God has installed his king (Psalm 2:6). In other words, when God’s king faces opposition from his enemies, he turns to God and takes confidence in the fact that God has sovereignly installed him and declared his kingship – so that no matter what the enemies conspire or plot, the king has confidence in his own position.
I think Psalm 3 needs to be read in context, and I think it points to Jesus and not to me!