Psalm 3 – Peace in the Midst of the Storm

One of my spiritual passions has been reading the Psalms. As a worship leader I have always felt that the Psalms were especially relevant to my ministry.

Once a month I will be sharing a Psalm with you. So far we have looked at Psalm 1 and 2.

Author and Historical Setting

Psalm 3 is the first psalm attributed to David.  Not only do we know who wrote the psalm, but we also know when David wrote the psalm.  David wrote this psalm while fleeing from his own son, Absalom.  If you wish to read the details of the story you can find it in 2 Samuel 15-17.  In short, one of David's sons attempted to take the kingdom from him by force and it appears to be the morning after David flees for his life that he writes this psalm.

David's son is trying to kill him. 

This psalm delves into the real life struggles we often have.  Each one of us has times when life seems to be set against us and our emotions are shredded by the devastating events that surround us.

This is one of the powerful features of the psalms.  It deals with the raw wounds that we have in a real and open manner.  In fact, the most common genre of psalm is the lament. How does one move forward when life falls apart?


One of the structurally interesting thing about psalms is that the center of the psalm is often the key idea of the psalm.  In Psalm 3 the the numerical center, word-wise in the Hebrew, is "I seep".  The central sentence is "I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me."  This is, in essence, a psalm about peace in the midst of devastation.

Psalm 3 is the first to explicitly name David as the author and begins a set of 37 psalm by David. Interestingly it is carefully structured using the number 7 and 14. Seven is the number of fullness/perfection and 14 is the numerical value of the name David.

In Hebrew, the first and second sections are all made up of 14 words each and the rest of the psalm equals 28 words (14 x 2). The first 5 verses are all seven words in length. For a more detailed description of the use of 7 to organize the psalm, see Labuschagne's logotechnical analysis.


David's Cry

Psalm 3:1-2

David starts by crying out to God.  His own people, led by his son, are seeking his life.  Shimei has even told him that this is God's punishment for David's treatment of Saul (2 Samuel 16:5-8).  David passionately lays these concerns before God.  Like David, we should lay our concerns before God.  God listens.  God loves.  God responds.

God's Answer

Psalm 3:3-4

God answers David by reminding him that God is his protector.  The Lord is his shield.  God has brought honor to David, and God is the only one who can lift him back up.  The only answer to our pain is to turn to God.  Only He can restore us.

David's Peace

Psalm 3:5-6

David now has found the peace he needs.  With God as his protector, he can sleep peacefully.  Even though he is surrounded by enemies, David has nothing to fear.  What do you fear?  Whatever it is, put it into the hands of God and rest in peace. The flip side to this is that if you do not have peace than you are not fully trusting God.

David's Salvation

Psalm 3:7-8

David ends by asking God to rescue him.  The psalmist uses the same word for both the rising up of his enemies and the rising up of God.  When trouble arises in our life, we can trust that God will rise up to help us.

The final verse proclaims a blessing. Psalm 1 tells us how to be blessed, Psalm 2 ends with a reminder that blessing is only found in God and Psalm 3 asks for God's blessing on His people.

David moves from fear to trust to peace.  There are many times in life where our circumstance are out of control, but they are never out of God's control.  Trust in His love and find the rest you need.

Jerry Wyrick

This post is part of a series on the Psalms.

Question:  What are some reasons why people do not fully trust God?  Please leave a comment.

by Jerry Wyrick, President of Worship Arts Conservatory

Posted in General Worship, Personal Worship, Psalms and tagged , .


  1. A main reason I have trouble trusting God is that I came from a family where my Dad and I had very little emotional connection. Unless I was doing, and acting, and saying literally everything perfectly in order to please my Dad, I was shamed or his love and attention to me was withdrawn. People who have major trust issues probably came from very difficult relationships, or learned that an authority figure was untrustworthy. The good news is that God can restore our trust in Him as we look to His loving, faithful character, and allow Him the time necessary to heal the wounds of past, broken relationships.

    • It is often said that our relationship with our father greatly colors our perception of God. All of us fathers need to take that to heart and ask, “What picture of God am I painting?”

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