Psalm Series Number 3

Scholars believe that when David begins this Psalm by speaking to his widespread trouble, he actually was referring to Absalom who rose up against his father, and who tried to wrest the kingdom from him. Pitiful are these opening words when David wails,

“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me,”

and then continues in verse 2 by noting that his enemies harshly castigate him by saying that not even God can help him.

“There is no help for him in God.”

So much is contained in these two short verses. The deplorable thought of a son who would speak and act against a godly father is a subject that is filled with much pathos and tragedy, and though in the end Absalom came to a bitter death, the hurt expressed here is wrenching. Discouraged and bruised, David moans aloud his rebuke of the troops that have gathered against him.

Are not family hurts and schisms the most grievous of all. Can not our children or our parents or our close friends gash our minds and cause excruciating heart wounds such as can no one else. They who are so dear and precious wield dreadful power of extraordinary injury.

And so David laments.

And then, interestingly, is introduced the word Selah, an expression that is not totally or clearly understood. In the main–though the term probably has to do with a rest in a musical score–the term calls for a break from reading, a space to contemplate what has just been read, a respite, a moment of cogitation, of reflection. The word is used only in the Psalms, and once in the book of Habakkuk.

Verse 3, through the concluding one, note a drastic change in tone, one in which David remembers that God is a “lifter of mine head.” What a tremendous word-picture is that of our Jesus bending over one of us–defeated, enemies around us, maybe bleeding, perhaps mortally wounded–BUT Jesus lifts our head! He restores us, soothes our hurts, wipes our tears, mends the broken places in our hearts.

David snatched himself out of his gloom, and reports being able to sleep, even though the enemy was all about him, having courage restored, and knowing that God had torn apart his enemies, even to the breaking of their teeth!

Love this Psalm, although its early verses are painful.


My other blog is here.

4 thoughts on “The Lifter of My Head

  1. It’s interesting that if there were no reference to Absalom, this could also have been a Psalm that David wrote concerning Saul. I remember in studying Psalm 55 a while back that there was a similar theme there in verses 12-14:

    (12) For it is not an enemy who taunts me– then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me– then I could hide from him.
    (13) But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend.
    (14) We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.

    You are so right in saying that “Are not family hurts and schisms the most grievous of all.”

    Thank you for this study on the Psalms, Shirley. I will be following along and am sure will continue to be blessed by your thoughts as you go through them.

  2. Good afternoon, Joe–

    Thank you for reminding us of this poignant portion of scripture. Think about these gripping words: “…we used to take sweet counsel together…” How sad.

    I’m writing a small book on backsliding and in the segment dealing with ways to avoid backsliding, I plan to write of hurts and spiritual diseases acquired within the church. I may use this portion of scripture.

    Thank you for reading and commenting here. I enjoy sharing God’s Word and learning of other persons insights.

  3. I havn’t had time to read the past posts, but I cannot wait to. Thank you for these. I will be back to read on that you have commented on the Psalms. Love u.

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