What does it say?
According to the title, Psalm 3 is David’s response to Absalom’s rebellion as he cries out to God to save him and awakes in the morning to hope in his God. David also wrote Psalm 4 and it is a psalm of the night. Therefore, many consider psalms 3 and 4 to be companion psalms, morning and evening, both referring to Absalom’s insurrection.
Psalms 12 and 13 are also psalms of David, but it’s not possible to connect them to any specific occasion, though many ideas are suggested. David experienced many desperate times, and these two psalms are examples of his custom of turning to God to find hope.
As with other psalms of David, we don’t know the occasion of Psalm 28. The psalmist cries to God for deliverance from those who attack him. His prayer turns to praise as he rests in the assurance that God has heard and answered his prayer. David’s Psalm 55 seems to fit well with the time of Absalom’s rebellion and the desertion of David’s trusted advisor Ahithophel though this is not implicitly stated. David pours out his hurt to God and trusts him to deliver and to work justice.
What does it mean?
All these psalms share the theme of turning to God in time of trouble and resting in hope of answered prayer and God’s ultimate justice. The majority can be tagged to the time of Absalom’s rebellion against his father, though that is not certain in every case. Seeing these psalms together allows us to seek a template of response in time of trial. Notice that in Psalm 55 David suffers intense emotional hurt because of betrayal by a close advisor, probably Ahithophel.
From David’s example, we learn the importance of pouring out our emotions to God when under attack or experiencing great hurt. Some people have a tendency to stifle their emotions, even when praying to God, thinking erroneously that we should pray to God what we imagine God wants to hear rather than what we really feel. What God in fact desires is honesty and transparency.
We also see that David’s response is to confide in God rather than immediately react by seeking revenge or taking matters into his own hands. He is able to find hope and inner peace by resting in having taken his petition to God in prayer and knowing that he will hear and answer.
How will I respond?
When under attack or experiencing the hurt of betrayal, what is my natural response? What one truth can I learn and apply to my life today from these psalms?