Song 3

soldier contemplating?
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Psalm 3

[Attributed to David when he was fleeing from his son, Absalom.]

God, my enemies are everywhere!
They’re coming at me from every direction,
Telling me, “Give up, God won’t help you!”
But, God, you are my body armor,
You’re my everything,
Because of you, I can keep my chin up.

I shout to God,
And God shouts back from God’s mountain set apart.
I lie down to sleep,
And because God keeps me alive I wake up again.
I’m not afraid even if I’m surrounded
By 10,000 maniacs.

Rise up, God!
Rescue me, God!
Punch my enemies in the face, God,
Knock the teeth out of those bastards!

God rescues.
May God be generous to God’s own.

They say the Psalms cover the whole range of human emotion, and it’s true. Psalm 3 shows us a picture of the dark side.

While some try to get around the violence of this song by spiritualizing it, the result tends toward Biblical justification of a violent spirituality.

A better way is to look at this song in all it’s ugliness as an example of a faith gone bad. Yes, it’s gone bad under a lot of stress. (Let’s assume that the enemies are real.) Still, the militant response – strap on the body armor and call it God, to persist out of sheer spite and call it God, dehumanize the enemy by labeling them maniacs, call on God to wipe out the people we are at odds with, claim God as one’s own personal mercenary – is a picture of a twisted and damaged human spirituality that has warped the image God into a mirror of itself.

Such a God may sell movies, but it’s the worst kind of idolatry. It’s true in the sense that just about everyone visits this Nietzschean will-to-power place, if only secretly and briefly. Who hasn’t wished that lightning would strike an enemy? Even Nietzsche, though, recognized that when one lives into it, God dies.