Psalm 3:1-3 This prayer was written by King David as he fled from his son during Absalom’s rebellion in 985BC (see 2 Samuel 15-19).
“LORD, I have many enemies! Many people have turned against me. Many are saying about me, 'God won't rescue him.' But, LORD, you are my shield, my wonderful God who gives me courage.”
Psalm 8:1-5 This song of praise - attributed to King David - reminds us of the Creation story (see Genesis 1:14-19).
“LORD, our Lord, your name is the most wonderful name in all the earth! It brings you praise in heaven above. You have taught children and babies to sing praises to you because of your enemies. And so you silence your enemies and destroy those who try to take revenge. I look at your heavens, which you made with your fingers. I see the moon and stars, which you created. But why are people important to you? Why do you take care of human beings? You made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour.”
"I look at your heavens, which you made with your fingers" (Psalm 8:3)
Psalm 18:2-3 This psalm was written some years earlier, after David was saved from King Saul’s death threats in 1012BC (see 1 Samuel 23:14-29 and 2 Samuel 22:1-3).
“The LORD is my rock, my protection, my Saviour. My God is my rock. I can run to him for safety. He is my shield and my saving strength, my defender. I will call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I will be saved from my enemies.”
Psalm 22:1-5 This psalm of David - beginning in despair but ending in triumphant hope - is quoted by Jesus when dying on the cross (see Matthew 27:46).
“My God, my God, why have you rejected me? You seem far from saving me, far from the words of my moans. My God, I call to you during the day, but you do not answer. I call at night; I am not silent. You sit as the Holy One. The praises of Israel are your throne. Our ancestors trusted you; they trusted, and you saved them. They called to you for help and were rescued. They trusted you and were not disappointed.”
This popular psalm of David reminds us of his days as a shepherd (see 1 Samuel 16:11-13).
“The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in green pastures. He leads me to calm water. He gives me new strength. He leads me on paths that are right for the good of his name. Even though I walk through a very dark valley, I will not be afraid, because you are with me. Your rod and your staff comfort me.”
"He leads me to calm water" (Psalm 23:2)
In Western Europe today, you are likely to see shepherds controlling flocks from the rear, often with a sheepdog going on ahead. But in Eastern Europe, many shepherds still follow the age-old tradition of leading their flocks, as recorded in this psalm. In the arid climate and barren hills of Judaea, shepherds in David’s day would constantly need to lead their flocks to new pastures where patches of lush green grass grew up around a spring or other source of water.