The Psalms are deeply emotional prayers. If you’re a modern person, a modern New Yorker, religious or non-religious, you have a tendency to say, “Now David, we mustn’t be angry at our enemies. We must control ourselves.” But the Psalms are too real for that. The Psalms give us a unique approach to emotions.
David is being deposed as king, and there’s an army after him to literally imprison and kill him. But David is not just simply being attacked physically; he’s being attacked psychologically and spiritually. His very identity is under attack and assault as well.
David is really at the bottom. So what’s he going to do about it? The four things he does, the four steps out of the pit, are all there in verses 3–8. I’ll tell you what they are, and then we’ll go through them: Follow your thread, relocate your glory, see the substitute, and remember the people.
In Psalms, particularly Psalm 3:1-8, we learn that being honest about our feelings with God is important. David shows us how to handle fear by praying about it. This can help us understand the difference between fear and anxiety, and how constant worry can harm our health. The secret to conquering these feelings is to find our value and safety in God.
1. Follow your thread
When David calls God his shield in Psalm 3, he means that God’s protection is always with him, even when he’s in danger. But this protection isn’t just given freely – we have to follow God’s path, even when it’s tough or doesn’t seem to lead anywhere. It’s only then that we can truly feel God’s protective shield.
2. Relocate your glory
David felt more scared and anxious when he lost things that made him feel important, like being popular, being a dad, being good, and having political power. He realized that these things weren’t reliable, and started to find his worth and safety in God instead of what other people thought of him. This change gave him more confidence and helped him stop worrying so much.
3. See the substitute
Feeling secure and confident comes from knowing that God loves and accepts us, even though we’re not perfect. Understanding that Jesus was sacrificed to keep the promise God made to Abraham of blessing us even when we don’t obey, is really important. This knowledge can free us from fear.
4. Remember the people
David didn’t just want peace for himself, he wanted justice for everyone. This shows us that love, not hate, can help us overcome fear. This kind of love makes us think about others more and ourselves less. Jesus did this when he followed God’s plan, even though he was scared, and it led to his resurrection. We can also face our fears by relying on God, praying for his presence to be more real to us, and asking for strength to move from fear to love, happiness, and strength.