“But Thou, O LORD, are a shield for me…” (Psalm 3:3)
Psalms 3 presents a number of ‘firsts’ in the Psalms: the first to exhibit a Psalm heading (A psalm of David….); the first psalm to attribute its authorship to David; the first occurrence of the rather enigmatic term ‘selah’ (which scholars believe means “pause, and think about that”); and, by type, the first ‘lament’ to appear in the Psalms.
A lament is an expression of grief, anxiety, fear, sorrow, etc. Laments in the Psalms share an experience of ‘trouble’ (disease, oppression, slander, injustice, military threat, personal sin, etc.) from which the psalmist is seeking deliverance. It’s precisely within this context we find David writing this psalm. In verse 3, acknowledging that God, alone, can protect him, David writes, “But, Thou, O Lord, are a shield for me….”
In his “Treasury of David”, 19th century British pastor, Charles Spurgeon, writes: “The original Hebrew signifies more than a shield; it means a shield ‘round about,’ a protection which shall surround a person entirely, a shield above, beneath, around, without and within. Oh! What a shield is God for His people! He wards off the fiery darts of Satan from beneath, and the storms of trials from above, while, at the same instant, He speaks peace to the tempest deep within us.”
Solomon, David’s son, would later reinforce this truth of God’s “round about” protection by writing, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick