rom the Psalms on through Malachi, we have to place everything in the context of one of the books which we have already read. It is important to try to maintain a basic timeline in your mind running from creation to the flood to the tower of Babel to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, the judges, David, Solomon, the divided kingdom of Israel, the invasions of the Assyrians and Babylonians, the years of exile and the return of a remnant of the Jews to Palestine.
For Psalm 3 we have to travel back to the middle of II Samuel to the days when David's adult son Absalom stole his father's throne. Most of the nation of Israel followed Absalom. Many of David's advisors and followers turned against him and helped to push him out of Jerusalem. How lowly and defeated David must have felt! Psalm 3:1 shows us that David was deeply frustrated at both the success and the quantity of his enemies. Men who should have been loyal to him; who should have encouraged him, supported him and lifted him up were instead convinced that he was washed up and done (Psalm 3:2).
Notice that 3 times in 8 short verses David inserts the word "Selah" denoting a necessary pause in the music. His sadness was so heavy that he added this time to meditate and to take in the solemnity of his dilemma. And why not? Verse 6 indicates that he had tens of thousands (plural) of people who were out to get him.
To David's credit, he devotes only 2 verses to his problem and the other 6 verses he spends describing the faithfulness of God. His faith was in God. God was his protector, sustainer, helper, defender and savior. Because of God’s grace, David could sleep peacefully despite his great troubles (Psalm 3:5 & 127:2).