Psalms 3-4

Talks for Growing Christians

David Calls on God for Help

Psalms 3-4

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Lesson Number 2

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Believers can sleep in peace because the Lord is their shield.
  2. Believers can sleep in peace because the Lord is their security.

Practical Application

  1. Let the Lord take revenge!
  2. Give me God’s gladness over grain!


  1. When was Psalm 3 written?
  2. What does the word “Selah” means?
  3. Explain the taunt in Psalm 3:2.
  4. What New Testament passage echoes the message of Psalm 3:7-8?
  5. What kind of psalms are Psalms 3 and 4?
  6. Explain Psalm 4:2-5 if the opposition was not some pagan outside nation, but opposition from within David’s kingdom.


  1. This was written when David fled from his son Absalom, when Absalom usurped the throne. See 2 Samuel 15-18.
  2. “Selah” is a technical term used 71 times in the Psalms. It probably means to pause and reflect on what’s been written and may be an indication of an interlude when the psalm was sung or put the music.
  3. People were saying that God was not on David’s side any longer, otherwise this would not have been happening to him.
  4. Romans 12:19 says that we should never take our own revenge, because vengeance belongs to the Lord. He will repay the opposition and bring blessing to us.
  5. They are both psalms of individual lament where David is calling on the Lord for help from distress.
  6. David is exhorting this internal opposition to change their ways and change their minds about him. They need to realize that he, and not Absalom, is God’s anointed king. He exhorts them to be angry for righteous causes and to stop sinning. He encourages them to be still and think through their actions, and then turn back to the Lord.


  1. Discuss the emotions David may have felt as his son attempted to usurp the throne. Yet David says he was able to sleep in peace. Discuss a time in your life when your emotions could have overtaken you, but the Lord gave you peace.
  2. Even those who were with David and in support of him were complaining and saying discouraging things (see Psalm 4:6). Do you have any friends like this? They always picture the worst scenario! Discuss the balance between encouraging them to look to the Lord for security and distancing yourself from their discouragement in your time of distress.


  1. David declared that the gladness and joy he experienced from the Lord was greater than the gladness one experiences after a great harvest. If you had the choice, would you choose God’s gladness in your heart over the thrill of becoming wealthy?

Key Verses

  • "But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head." Psalm 3:3
  • "I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

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