Whenever we seek to convey an emotion, we turn to the Psalms. Whether overwhelmed by joy or burdened by despair, there’s always a psalm that mirrors our sentiments. We often wonder about the circumstances King David might have been facing when penning a particular verse. Yet, somehow the passages of the Psalms always seem to echo our current situation. As the sages said, David composed the Psalms in a manner relevant to his own life, to all of Israel, and to all generations.
Today we chose to recite Psalm 3, which deeply resonates with our current crisis.
In Psalm 3, King David is in the midst of unparalleled personal turmoil. Fleeing from his own son, Absalom, who sought his throne, David faced a kind of betrayal that cuts deeper than any other. The opening verses of Psalm 3 capture a feeling of despair and desolation. David acknowledges the multitudes that stand against him, who doubt his deliverance through God.
Saturday’s brutal onslaught was a betrayal of the fundamental principles of humanity. As the terrorists ruthlessly took innocent lives, the nation, much like David, felt overwhelmed, surrounded on all sides by hatred and violence. Just as David’s adversaries doubted his deliverance through God, our enemies question and test the survival and resilience of the Israeli people.
Yet, the psalm does not remain in this space of despair. It moves from lamentation to a profound expression of faith. David speaks of God as a protective shield. The mention of God as “He who holds my head high” is a poignant reminder that, even in the face of despair, his spirit remains unbroken. “I lie down and sleep and wake again, for the LORD sustains me.” This line not only reflects David’s trust in God amidst his personal crisis but also encapsulates the Israeli spirit. Despite the terror, life goes on. People still sleep, wake, and continue with their daily tasks, relying on the sustenance and protection of the Lord, our protective shield.
The passionate cry of David, “Rise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God!” is an invocation for divine intervention. As David sought deliverance from his enemies, Israel seeks deliverance from those who wish to see its destruction. The hope and faith in divine justice and protection are palpable in David’s plea. The assertion that deliverance belongs to the Lord underlines the idea that the ultimate justice and salvation come from a higher power.
The closing of the Psalm, wishing blessings upon God’s people, serves as a reminder of the collective spirit of the nation. It isn’t just about individual survival but the survival and well-being of an entire people.
In these trying times, Psalm 3 reminds us of the indomitable spirit of the Israeli people and their unwavering faith in the face of adversity. Just as David emerged from his trials with renewed faith and strength, Israel, too, will emerge from this crisis stronger, united, and with an even deeper connection to their people, their faith, and God.
A psalm of David when he fled from his son Absalom.O LORD, my foes are so many! Many are those who attack me;many say of me, “There is no deliverance for him through God.” Selah.But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, He who holds my head high.I cry aloud to the LORD, and He answers me from His holy mountain. Selah.I lie down and sleep and wake again, for the LORD sustains me.I have no fear of the myriad forces arrayed against me on every side.Rise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! For You slap all my enemies in the face; You break the teeth of the wicked.Deliverance is the LORD’s; Your blessing be upon Your people! Selah.