Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!

Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.”

But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people

(Psalm 3)

During my undergraduate degree, I had the privilege to sing in our choir. I started out discerning my call to ministry with the question, “what does it take to be a pastor?” to which I turned to the old landline computer that weighed 50 lbs with the innocent google search question. I then stumbled upon the school I would attend.

To my surprise, there was an accredited Bible college that offered a music degree. I’ve always loved music. Since 7th grade when I bought my first iPod (and it wasn’t really an iPod, but some zune kinda thing) my mind was drawn to music.

Every now and again I’ll listen through the music that I frequently turned to during my teenage years. Every time I listen through those songs, I remember all sorts of things about myself. I remember the relationships I was pursuing, yet never saw come to fruition. I remember the tough family crises to which I had front row tickets. I remember the way my adolescent thought my world was ending because of life shifts in my world of relationships.

In the choir we sang a song where the artist put Psalm 3 to music. Contextually, it would be easy to say that David had reached a low point in his life. His own son brought shame upon his daughter, rallied the entire nation of Israel against him in a political uproar, and David was at odds with… the odds. For David, in most of the Psalms attributed to him, he makes a point to bring out the character of God, beckoning for him to act on his behalf.

David had seen the Lord act in mighty ways. He saw this with Goliath, with keeping him alive while Saul pursued his life, the tens of thousands of people that he had defeated in battle, and the kings that were left defeated by his hand through the work of God. 

When we would sing this song, I was always brought to emotion, crying out to the Lord to deliver me from the suffering that I was enduring. I would ask the Lord to alleviate the sorrow, drama, tension, and everything else running against me.

One of the great truths of Psalm 3, however, isn’t so much the nature of God’s answer to David’s prayer, but that “he answers [us] from his holy mountain.” 

The Holy One of Israel, the true and living God of the universe, spends time answering our call to him. Through the power of the Spirit by the credit of Christ’s death and resurrection, God has given us a way to commune with him. He has given us an avenue to request things. This holy God has made the unholy capable of approaching him and having his ear tuned to our tears. We no longer have an adversary; we have a Father in heaven who shoulders our burdens.

This Holy One of Israel answered our call for deliverance to the extreme. This God who knew the sin within the hearts of His own chosen, decided to endure the limitations of that which He created. 

The incarnation was not only an answer to depravity and reconciling our relationship with Him, but it was also the way for our ultimate opponent’s death to meet its match. 

While Christ was on the cross, you can hear Him call to the Lord “my God my God why have you forsaken me?” The Roman centurions were stacked against our Lord, mocking Him, spitting on Him, laughing at the one who would have the final laugh at the expense of the enemies of Israel. Christ endured the ultimate abandonment, shouldered the ultimate weight that no mere man could endure, and he brought this same deliverance that David sought in this Psalm. 

Though many are our foes, and though the world may be stacked against us, no mountain is too great for our God to move and rescue us from the evil one. 

~Gavin Schaefer


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