Thursday, September 5, 2013

Yahweh Saves (Psalm 3)

Scripture: Psalm 3
3.1A Davidic song, during his fleeing from the presence of Absalom, his son.

2Yahweh, how my enemies have become many!
Many people are rising up against me!
3Many people are saying to my soul,
“There is no salvation for him by God.”
4But You, Yahweh, are a shield around me—my glory—
and the One Who holds my head up high!
5With my voice I called out to Yahweh,
and He answered me from the Mountain of His Holiness!
6I lie down and sleep!
I wake up, because Yahweh helps me!
7I’m not scared by tens of thousands of people,
who take their stand all around against me!
8Rise up, Yahweh!
 Save me, my God,
because You punch all my enemies on the jaw!
You break the teeth of wicked people!
9The salvation belongs to Yahweh!
Your blessing is on Your people!

The Point I’m Stressing: Yahweh SAVES!!!

1.      Structure
a.       Heading (v.1)
b.      Statement of the Problem (vv.2-3)
c.       Summary of David’s Response (vv.4-5)
d.       David’s Response Detailed (vv.6-9)
A         Rest
            B         Yahweh protects/helps
                        C         Enemies don’t induce fear
                                    D         Plea to Take Action to Save
                                    D’        Plea to Save
                        C’        Yahweh deals with enemies
            B’        Yahweh saves
A’        Blessing
2.      Themes
a.       Speaking
                                                              i.      Much of the psalm is oriented towards the speaking of the enemies in v.3, but then also on the verbalized request from David to Yahweh
                                                            ii.      Yahweh answers, which takes the form more of action than words, but Yahweh’s answer address the evil speaking of the enemies in v.3 by breaking their jaw in v.8, also the blessing of v.9 while it is clearly in terms of actions, may also imply the spoken priestly blessing
b.      Response/Answering
                                                              i.      The psalm is set up as an answer to the smack talk of David’s enemies, the response and answer is as much verbal as non-verbal, which takes the form of Yahweh’s active intervention against David’s enemies
                                                            ii.      The first response is from David when he prays/screams for help and holds on to the promise and power of Yahweh
                                                          iii.      The second response is from Yahweh for David as summarized in v.5,
                                                          iv.      Vv.6-7 and vv.8c-9 are also Yahweh response to David’s request, which is bluntly state in v.8a-b
c.       Enemies
                                                              i.      Described at the beginning of the psalm as many, hostile, and verbally discouraging/disrespecting
                                                            ii.      Later described in vv.7-8 as wicked, militarily threatening and defeated
d.      Yahweh is stronger/bigger
                                                              i.      This comes especially in v.4, but it also is highlighted by the negative, where the enemies accuse Yahweh of either powerlessness, non-existence, or indifference in v.3
                                                            ii.      It also is reinforced by Yahweh’s decisive action of punching jaws and breaking teeth
                                                          iii.      It is also implied by David’s confidence in the face of terrifying foes in v.7 and David’s ability to sleep in safety and wake up again
                                                          iv.      The theme of Yahweh saving in general strengthens this idea
e.       Praying
                                                              i.      The whole psalm is something of a prayer, or at least a record of a prayer
                                                            ii.      The psalm turns on David’s prayer, both in the first half and in the second half
                                                          iii.      Also, note the naturalness of the conversation between David and God
                                                          iv.      Note the honesty
                                                            v.      Note the faith and hope
                                                          vi.      Note the strength it imbued
                                                        vii.      Note the joy its answer induced
                                                      viii.      Note the peace made possible through it
f.       Yahweh takes action
                                                              i.      This is a main theme which comes through in the discussion of Yahweh answering and breaking jaws and teeth
                                                            ii.      It is implied via David’s hope and dependence on it
                                                          iii.      It is indicated by the theme of Yahweh’s salvation as well
                                                          iv.      The call upon God to act strengthens the theme as well as Yahweh’s actual acting in response to the call
g.      Confidence/Trust/Hope
                                                              i.      There is an undercurrent of confidence and trust and hope in David towards Yahweh
                                                            ii.      His prayers are based on the hope and trust that Yahweh will answer them
                                                          iii.      The psalm in part turns on the accusation that David’s confidence, hope, and trust in Yahweh is misplaced, and then the vindication of that hope and trust and confidence
                                                          iv.      It is indicated by David’s ability to rest, his clinging to it in v.4, and the declaration at the end that Yahweh owns salvation and blesses His people
                                                            v.      The confidence is so strong that the numerous enemies do not dissuade it, even when those enemies are intensely personal
h.      Salvation
                                                              i.      This is the main theme of the psalm: Yahweh saves
                                                            ii.      The root for save/salvation appears 3 times, salvation twice (v.4 and v.9), and save once (v.8)
                                                          iii.      The salvation of Yahweh is the main issue, people deny He saves, but the argument of this psalm is that He does
                                                          iv.      It tells the story of how He has saved, saves, and will save
                                                            v.      It is implicitly a call on people to trust that He will save
                                                          vi.      It is all about asking Him to save
                                                        vii.      It is all about trusting Him to save
                                                      viii.      It is all about His actual salvation. He saves by answer, He saves by granting peace and protection, He saves by smashing in faces, He saves David, but He also saves His people
                                                          ix.      He saves despite the odds, opposition, or perceived impossibility
                                                            x.      He saves despite what people say, He saves in part for His own vindication, as well as the vindication of those who trust in Him
                                                          xi.      He is the God Who saves, and thus Who responds to calls for salvation
                                                        xii.      The conclusion is not only can Yahweh save, and not only can we ask Him to save, but that any and all salvation ultimately belongs to Him! Which of course also means that no matter how small the salvation may seem, it ultimately was the gracious work of the Great and Powerful God Yahweh!
i.        Large numbers
                                                              i.      This comes up in v.3 and then again in v.7-8, this is a big deal.
                                                            ii.      The point is the numbers David is facing is insane, but this large number is foiled and superseded by Yahweh singularity and yet greater power
3.      Poetic Devices
a.       Vv.2-3 parallel vv.4-5
A         Lots of enemies (v.2)
B         Enemies talking smack (v.3a)
C         The Smack Talk: God can’t/won’t save (v.3b)

A’        Yahweh is a shield for David (v.4)
B’        David screams for help (v.5a)
C’        Yahweh Answers (v.5b)
                        So, you have answers to the issues posed in the first section, the answer to lots of enemies is a powerful God Who is with and for David, the answer to the enemies smack talking is David talking to God, the answer to the smack talk that God won’t/can’t save is God answering David’s prayer
b.      Yahweh’s action against the enemies specifically eliminates the dissing of Yahweh, that’s they talk smack against God and God smacks them so hard in the jar their teeth are shattered!
c.       The trifold repetition of סלה selah at vv.3, 5, and 9 seems to indicate three main sections, which is true in terms of how the author is giving clues to the structure, but the first two sections as outlined above are clearly a pair and the final section is chiastic, so at a larger level there are two main sections, but the placement of the selah’s means that the author is putting added focus on the opposition and contrast between the issue in vv.2-3 and the answer in vv.4-5, thus, the antithesis and answer to the smack talk forms a rubric for understanding the whole psalm. This conditions us to expect a lengthier outline of David’s plea and God’s response
d.      The numbers of the enemies is focused on at the beginning of the first section and the beginning of the third (by selah count) or the second (by broader sections)
4.      Doctrines
a.       Yahweh saves, a theme that only intensifies at the coming of Jesus Christ, but He does not just save us eternally He saves us in time in our daily lives and stresses and needs
b.      Yahweh is omnipotent
c.       Yahweh is concerned with His reputation/glory, and our perception of it
d.      Yahweh’s salvation is dependable
e.       Yahweh cares about us and what we are going through and what we are threatened by
f.       Yahweh’s character gives peace
g.      Yahweh answers prayer
h.      Christians should pray naturally, honestly, and trustingly
i.        Yahweh is worthy of all confidence, Hope, and Faith!
5.      Notes
a.       Yahweh answering from His holy mountain as a phrase seems to carry connotations of Yahweh coming to the rescue, of not just help, but often it seems direct and powerful intervention, if one compares to some of the other uses in the psalms and perhaps also Jonah 2
b.      The move to “Your blessing is on Your people” in v.9b is an surprising and hopeful turn to see the corporate application of the intervention of God on behalf of David, because David is not so much talking about Himself, but the hope of all those who belong to and believe in Yahweh for salvation!
1.      We have to trust in Yahweh’s salvation!
2.      We should pray for salvation when we need it! Yahweh doesn’t just want to save us eternally, although that is the most important salvation He is working to achieve, He wants to get involved in our daily needs! He wants to save when people be trip’n! He wants to save when we are overworked, when we are sick, when we don’t know what to do, when the odds are against us, when people taunt us that we are wasting our time trusting in Yahweh!
3.      God is calling us to trust Him not just to save us individually, but to trust Him to save us as a group! To save our church, our youth group from destruction and death!
4.      Yahweh is the God of vindication. He will vindicate His Own Name, and even our faith in Him! He will ultimately vindicate us at the judgment, but sometimes He also vindicates us in real life! But do we have the guts to trust Him to save!
5.      There is nothing and no one, and no group of people that should cause us to fear and abandon hope and faith in Yahweh, because if we do look at things, at people, at situations and fear and let our hope and faith waiver, we have forgotten the God Yahweh really is! We have forgotten that He is the One Who Saves! We have stopped clinging to all that He really is! Sometimes the problem is not really that God has taken His sweet time in saving, but that we have stopped clinging to Him as the God of all salvation! We have forgotten that He IS a shield around us, that He is our glory, that He is the One Who encourages us, exalts us, and vindicates us! Sometimes the problem really is that we don’t believe that God can save, we look at what we’re up against and give up hope, because we don’t think anyone could save us, that is exactly what David’s enemies were saying, but really that is profoundly arrogant of them and profoundly sad for us, because we have forgotten exactly what will give us hope, and it is at least a little arrogant, since we are denying what Yahweh has said!
6.      We need to believe that Yahweh can and will answer powerfully, and even sometimes violently powerfully

7.      Sometimes it is those closest to us who try to hurt us the most, but Yahweh can even save you from those closest to you who are hurting you! God deals with those people, just like He dealt with Absalom. Even verbal, physical, and sexual abuse God can save you from! He can save you from the past wounds of those things and other things, just as much as He can save you from things happening now! Yahweh’s blessing is on His people, so there is hope for us no matter what we have suffered, will suffer, or are suffering! And I want you to know that if someone is physically or sexually abusing you, you can tell not just God, but me and I will do what I have to do to make it stop