1, 2, 3 Selahs
In our last look at Psalm 3, let’s look at David’s prayer in full, pausing after each Selah to reflect.
the First Selah
A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom
O LORD, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
“There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah
David is on the run from his son… walking, weeping, praying… his enemies are many, many, many… he is currently an exile and a marked man.
The hearts of his people are against him. The situation looks hopeless.
Our prayers should be honest. We should speak with God in all reverence, but also as a Father and a friend (Ex. 33:11, 2 Corinthians 3:12-18).
God is our Father, Jesus Christ is our brother, the Spirit is our Comforter.
Prayer is a humbled cry to/through/in the Trinitarian God.
Some would say that we should deny reality when we pray. “claim the victory”, “speak life”, “just say that you are healed”, “positive confession”, and other such nonsense phrases… This is man telling man what man wants to hear. It is of man, through man, and to man. People and “pastors” that say things like this worship the false “trinity” of man, man, man… I, I, I… you, you, you…
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” —James 4:13-15
Make no mistake, David is praying to the LORD to save his life, but that is not what this prayer merely is about. It is not a mere request for his life to be spared. It is a crying out to the Lord for His will and victory over evil.
David will later say that he wishes he had died instead of his son (2 Samuel 18:31-33). Prayer is no mere human act for tangible, this-world outcomes. We must be willing to have each worldly request (even requests for good things) denied, trusting that what God does is good, even if we wouldn’t define it that way.
His ways are higher, these are but the outskirts (Job 26:14).
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. —Mark 8:35
the Second Selah
But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the LORD,
and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
Look back in Psalm 2. Who is on the holy hill? Is it not Christ the LORD?
And look at Psalm 3. Did the Lord Jesus not walk, weep, and pray this prayer?
So He is both God and man. Jesus has suffered as a perfect man and is glorified as God. He has been the Son of God for all eternity—eternity past, now, and forever.
This qualifies Jesus alone to unite us to God. Have you ever thought of how insane this would sound for any man but the Lord Jesus to say:
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. —John 14:18-20
That last verse sounds exactly like a shield. We often hear that “Jesus is the answer”, but that sounds like a multiple choice test. It is rather like a prayer—when we cry to the LORD, His answer is always “Jesus”.
If that sounds trite, maybe we need to know Jesus better. He is no trite answer. He is the fulness of God—to see Jesus is to see God. Jesus is over all things, holding all things together, and summing up God’s entire purpose for the Universe.
Every promise of God is answered in Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20).
When will you take your last Selah?
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
Arise, O LORD!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the LORD;
your blessing be on your people! Selah
When I wake up in the morning, if my heart is right, I thank the Lord for waking me.
Dear one, every breath you will ever take was ordained by God before you were born, written in His “book”. You will not and cannot die one millisecond before He has already predetermined.
If Christ is your shield, you have only God to fear and worship—rejoicing with trembling awe!
What are these little kings? Their teeth are real and sharp—and doomed to be broken on Rock of God, the Lord Jesus Christ!
Satan, demons, the world, and the flesh have already been struck the fatal blow. That serpent’s head was crushed by Christ’s bloody heel on the cross.
Arise, O LORD!
This plea was answered 2000 years ago when the Lord rose from the dead on the third day!
Boom! What did you think was going to happen?
Salvation is His and the blessing of the Blessed Man (Psalm 1), who is also the Anointed Son (Psalm 2), is on his people, distressed though they are (Psalm 3).
Thousands surround them (3:6), the LORD surrounds them closer—a Shield of glory (3:3)!
He arises and saves His people!
Know Christ. Know Christ. Know Christ.
Lay down and sleep, dear one, there is nothing else to know.