Grace for the Overwhelmed

psalm 3-4

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Drowning in despair? Floundering in mountains of tasks, duties, and responsibilities?

Find grace for your life in Psalm 3.

This Lenten season I’m exploring the Psalms–reading a few psalms each day and recording what God is speaking to me. (You can join me if you want. Download a free Lenten reading guide here.)

Today I’m exploring Psalm 3–a psalm for the overwhelmed.

Just a little background about this psalm.

The book of Psalms is divided into five “books” or divisions. Psalm 3 is, of course, part of Book 1 (Psalms 1-41). This first book of Psalms is sometimes called the Yahweh Psalter because Yahweh is the name for God that is used most often in this section. Most of the psalms in the “Yahweh Psalter” were written by David.

Scholars have classified the psalms into several categories including: wisdom psalms, hymns, and laments. Psalm 3 is described at a psalm of individual lament. Characteristics of lament psalms are: they often begin with an invocation such as, “Oh, Lord” and they contain a plea for help.

But what I love about this psalm is that it gives hope to the overwhelmed.

David himself was overwhelmed by his enemies when he wrote the psalm. It was written when almost the whole nation of Israel rose up against him–including his own son Absalom.

grace for theIt’s no wonder he cries out in despair:

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. (Psalm 3:1-2)

Don’t you love it that we can call out to God whenever we feel beaten down and crushed by life? Yes, the world may doubt that God can help, but we who know the Lord are confident of His help.

And that is what David says next:

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. (Psalm 3:3-4)

David doesn’t stay in lament mode for long. He quickly acknowledges God’s protection and blessing. He reminds himself that Yahweh hears his prayers.

David is so confident of the Lord’s help, that he goes to sleep:

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. (Psalm 3:5-6)

God wants us to be so sure of His strength and love that we can rest in Him. Even though thousands of people (or dozens of problems) are against us, we don’t have to be afraid if God is on our side.

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! (Psalm 3:7-8)

In the end, David call out to God again. He reminds himself that God is the one who saves.

I have to admit that when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I don’t always turn to God first.

I often try to fix things myself. I read more self-help books about time management. I look up information on getting organized–thinking that will help overcome my problems.

Psalm 3 reminds me that God is the “lifter of my head”–the one who gives victory. He is my shield–a Protector against my troubles. He is my Savior.

When I turn to Him the Lord gives rest even in the midst of the chaos.

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Turn to the Lord for help.

Next step: David laments about his many enemies. What or who are the enemies in your life? Difficult people? A multitude of bills? Overwhelming schedule? Write a list and then take it to God. Ask Him for wisdom and power to conquer the foes. Find rest in Him.

Join me in reading through the psalms this Lent. Click here for a free reading guide.




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