Psalm 3

Psalm 3

I lie down and I fall asleep,
and I will wake up, for the Lord sustains me.

Whereas the Second Psalm focused on the fear of God as a requisite to knowledge and, ultimately, any form of true power (one that is not founded in the Ego, but rather flows through and from God himself), the Third Psalm shows that the fear of the Lord leads to freedom from the fear of man.

The psalmist writes the words above in the midst of an immanent threat to his life—he is being pursued by attackers who will kill him when they find him. And yet, so confident is he in the Lord that he is able to do perform the most vulnerable act—sleep—even though a letting down of all defenses means a potential loss of life. The writer here is not just free from fear, but from all anxiety.

Interestingly, the writer’s security is not merely a defensive one, but it manifests itself in an active faith of the offensive:

Arise, Lord! Save me, my God!
For you strike the cheekbone of all my foes;
you break the teeth of the wicked

We don’t here see death and utter destruction, but we do see a plea for debilitation. The saving of the righteous happens transpires through the punishment of the wicked.

What is striking about this psalm is the writer finds himself in a place of true desperation

How many are my foes!
How many rise against me!

And the reiterate, no one seems to believe he can (or will) be saved:

How many say of me,
There is no salvation for him in God

“It is not God who will (or can) save, but he may save himself, perhaps” they say. But the psalmist rejects this: On the contrary, it is precisely the Lord who allows him to live, who gives him the ability to continue. It is through this knowledge that he does not fear either man (or himself!), but finds rest in the Lord, who watches over all things.


Psalm 2

And now, kings, give heed;
take warning, judges on earth

Serve the Lord with fear; 
exult with trembling, 

The second Psalm is one centered around fear, specifically the fear of the Lord—the same kind of fear that is considered “the beginning of knowledge” in the first Proverb. A king or ruler, of all people, should be one who fears the Lord, who “trembles before him,” because failing to do so only increases pride, ultimately leading to destruction. Interestingly, the ruler’s pride here isn’t characterized as a “worldly foolishness,” like a mere stubbornness, but rather one that invokes the wrath of the Lord. 

Accept correction
lest he become angry and you perish along the way

when his anger suddenly blazes up

Pride here isn’t characterized as an inwardly destructive force, but rather one that destroys from outside the self—pride is a provocation, a wind on the embers of the wrath of God.

But contrary to all of this destruction, the second psalm ends on on a positive admonition:

Blessed are all who take refuge in him! [The Lord] 

This imagery of “refuge,” of the Lord as a “strong tower” is one that will crop up again and again in the Psalms. There is a prevailing discourse of power that persists through these songs, one that compares the King (or ego) with the King of Kings.

Where does true power lie? Only where “will and power and one.”

Psalm 1

He is like a tree
planted near streams of water,

that yields its fruit in season

Such is the man who “does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the company with scoffers.” A man who delights in the law of the Lord, “and on his law he meditates day and night.”

Patience, is a motif here—or, more aptly, diligence or perseverance. We read that the fruit that is yielded is not immediate, but rather it is produced “in season.” When is this season for harvest? When Jesus spoke of a harvest, it was in reference to the “end of the age.” But I think we may be allowed to read this not in an exclusively eschatological light, but rather understanding that the fruit yielded from the labor of righteousness comes intermittently, in various “seasons”.


We are not to despair when the the fruit is lacking, but we are to wait, and to continue working.

The second half of the psalm echoes this motif focusing on the wicked,

“But not so are the wicked! They are like chaff driven by the wind…”

The image here of chaff, of something light being caught up into the daily shifting winds, is an image of idleness, of “flightiness,” characterized by submitting to the whims of fancy. It is a damnable evil, but one less severe than others (such as deceit or malice), one found in the likes of Dante’s 5th canto where the lustful are caught up in the powerful winds in the second circle of hell.

We find then that the first Psalm is fitting as ordered — it readies the one willing to pursue righteousness, telling him to be prepared to wait and continue in labor (persevere) until the time of harvest.