O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. (Psalm 3:1-2 ESV)
Jesus Christ speaks in this Psalm, praying to His Father, while living as a Servant among the fallen people of the world. He expresses, in the first person, His experiences about some of the persecutions He endured while walking the earth as the Second Adam. During His ministry, the religious leaders continually badgered Him about His lack of respect for the traditions they espoused. Jesus’ responses showed His interest was in leading people into a relationship with God over their legalistic adherence to non-Scriptural rules.
The beginning verses of this Psalm mirror the beginning verses of Psalm 1. While parallel statements are meant to emphasize and drive home the thoughts and feelings of the Psalmist, it is not coincidental these same statements reflect the same situations. In Psalm 1 God describes the only One who is Blessed by Him, Jesus Christ, because He alone lived a righteous life. In Psalm 3, He who lived the righteous life and is blessed by God describe the circumstances of persecution by those who hate God.
Jesus prays with familiarity to God, addressing Him by His proper name, YHWY. He who created all things speaks to He who has always existed, the Existing One. His relationship with God is intimate. The Jews were afraid of speaking God’s proper name, changing it to LORD, or Adonai, so they would not violate the third commandment, or statement of God, about taking His name in vain. “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7 ESV; see Deuteronomy 5:11). Jesus cannot misuse the name of God because He is God. Those who love God cannot misuse His name.
During His ministry, Jesus habitually left His disciples for a short time to pray, climbing mountains or finding other secluded places. He did this often, sometimes at night while the disciples slept or after sending them off on a task. For one of these prayer times, Jesus took with Him three of His disciples. “And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light” (Matthew 17:1-2; see Mark 9:2-13, see Luke 9:28-36 ESV). This is the only time in Scripture which shows the evidence of Jesus transfigured while He prayed. Three men saw and gave eye-witness testimony of what occurred. However, there is no reason to believe every time Jesus prayed in seclusion He was not transfigured. He is the Son of God, sent into the world as a Servant. He may have been transfigured each time but we cannot know because there were no other witnesses.
What do the disciples hear while on the mountain with Jesus? They hear God speak. He tells them that Jesus is His Son. “He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him’” (Matthew 17:5 ESV). What has God already said in Psalm 2? “I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you” (Psalm 2:7 ESV). We are hearing Jesus the Son speak to God the Father in an intimate and loving way.
Jesus prays, telling His Father that which is of the utmost importance to the blessed Man. He reveals His heart in a vulnerable and unguarded way to God and to all who read the Psalms. Only in God is there salvation.
Jesus does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, who are His foes. He does not stand in the way of sinners, those who rise against Him. He does not sit in the seat of scoffers, those who would suggest God cannot save Him. He is the Righteous Man who has God’s complete attention and love. Though His foes are everyone in the world God will hear and answer His prayer. He is the One Man to whom God does listen.