A little while back I suggested that Psalm 3 was about the Lord’s anointed, who was King David, and that it is ultimately about the Lord Jesus Christ. I said that Psalm 3 is not about us, but is a comfort to us because of the one to whom the Psalm points.
Many years ago I heard a chorus that was meant for Christians to sing in worship. It went something like this:
I can run through a troop, leap over a wall (hallelujah, hallelujah) [x 2]
There is now no condemnation, Jesus is the rock of my salvation,
I can run through a troop, leap over a wall (hallelujah, hallelujah).
Many of the words of this chorus come from Psalm 18:29, which is from a Psalm by King David, who was celebrating the way God had saved him from all his enemies, and from Saul.
The implication of this chorus (but not of the Psalm) is that because Jesus has saved a Christian, the Christian somehow is able to run through a mob of soldiers, leap over city walls and bend a bow of bronze. In fact, the song (whether intentionally or not) is saying that the Christian becomes some sort of hero, or as the Bible referred to them, a mighty man.
This inference is just not correct. The song is the song of one mighty man, David, and about King David’s greater son, Jesus Christ.
Another verse of this chorus particularly indicates this. Somewhere it said something like ‘by my God I can bend a bow of bronze’ (compare Ps 18:34).
Bronze-bow-bending was indicative of mighty men, and extraordinary mighty men at that.
For example, in the Indian poem, The Ramayana (ca. 900 BC), Rama is a prince who wants to marry Sita, the daughter of a famous King, Janaka. In order to choose from among the many suitors, the father of the intended bride required the suitors to prove themselves worthy. They were to do this by bending the bronze bow of Shiva. (The bending of a bow was necessary in order to place a bow-string on it, and then to be able to draw the string back to shoot arrows). None of the suitors had succeeded until Rama came along. Rama “proudly strung the bow Of RUDRA which the kings had tried in vain. Drew the cord with force resistless till the weapon snapped in twain!” Rama was a bona fide mighty man. He was the only one of the suitors who could bend that bow of bronze.
Again, the story of Odysseus (ca. 900 BC) refers to the bow that he left at home while going off to besiege the city of Troy. While he was away, the local men at home thought that one them should marry Odysseus’ wife and claim his property too. Penelope said that she was waiting for her husband to return, but after twenty years it seemed that he was not coming back. Yet Penelope still stalled for time. She said that she would marry the man who could bend Odysseus’ bow. They all tried and failed; all except one. That one was Odysseus himself who had just returned in disguise. “Odysseus, when he had taken it up and examined it all over, strung it as easily as a skilled bard strings a new peg of his lyre.” He then used that bow to slaughter all those men who had been harassing his wife for twenty years. Odysseus was a bona fide mighty man. He was the only one who could bend that bow of bronze.
So, when David (ca. 900 BC) refers to his bending of a bow of bronze, he was referring to himself as a mighty man, the Christ, the Lord’s anointed. It was something that he did.
And David is a ‘type’ or ‘picture’ of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is that great prince who stood up for his people (c/f Daniel 12:1) and defeated sin, death and Satan by his death on the cross and by his resurrection. Jesus Christ is the Mighty One, who alone could (metaphorically) bend-the-bow that was to be the means of our salvation. None other could do it. By his life and death and rising again, he has defeated his enemies and won his bride, the church of Christ.