David wrote this beautiful Psalm during one of the darkest seasons of his life. It is a prayer for God to deliver him from his many enemies. If you know much about David’s history, then you know his ascent to the throne of Israel was filled with difficulty. However, the Lord fulfilled His promise to him.
Now, many years later David’s adult son, Absalom, wants his father’s crown and mounts a rebellion to assassinate him. Betrayed and heartbroken, David is forced to flee Jerusalem, the City of David. This Psalm is a plea for the Lord to save him from this rebellious army.
I want to share Psalm 3:3 with you phrase by phrase because we can learn how to face dark seasons of our own lives by studying the example of Scripture. David is quite the example for believers today to help us trust in the Lord with all our hearts.
But You, O Lord
Immediately David is going to tell us where his confidence is. When I read this short phrase, it causes me to ask if my life is truly centered on the Lord the way it should be. Is my confidence solely in God and His sovereign ability or is my confidence in myself and my ability to work situations out in life?
Where is your confidence? A good way to test is to notice when you pray to the Lord for His help and strength. Is God a daily dependence for you? Do you feel your need for Jesus every day? I find it humorous when I hear unbelievers say, “Religion is just a crutch for weak people.”
Well, I would not call my relationship with the Lord a crutch. I will admit my weakness. I will gladly confess how frail and feeble I am. But rather than saying the Lord is a “crutch”, I prefer David’s description in Psalm 18:2, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Are A Shield About Me
Notice what David says in verse 1, “O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me.” Absalom had created an entire army against his father. Overwhelmed, David cries out to the Lord as he calculates how many are against him.
Have there been times you have felt this way? Do you know the sharp pain of betrayal? Rather than focusing on his enemies, David instead focuses on the Lord! After saying, “But You, O Lord,” he then reminds the Lord that He is a “Shield” about him.
What an interesting way to pray. David was a man of war. He was well acquainted with the battle field. He describes the Lord’s protection as a shield.
Shields were very large in ancient warfare. They were made of solid wood, typically weighting approximately 40 lbs. They were the size of doors and strapped in leather. Some shields where so large that when arrows began to fly, two to three men could hide underneath them. What an incredible metaphor for God’s protection.
Do you realize that we face a far stronger enemy than Absalom? Our enemy is far greater and far more dangerous. Paul paints a vivid portrait in Ephesians 6:11-13, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
Yes, our enemy is fierce. He is strong. But the Lord promises us that He is our shield of defense! We may be surrounded by a godless culture (this present darkness), we may be bombarded by temptations, tested by trials and pressed by an enemy whose sole objective is to steal, kill and destroy. But the Lord is a shield about us! He protects us from every side. Above, around and beneath. He is our shield!
What did David mean when he called the Lord, “My glory?” Can you and I say the same of the Lord? I believe we can. It was the Lord who took David from a lowly shepherd boy to the mighty King of Israel. Do you remember David’s story? The Prophet Samuel came to David’s house in 1 Samuel 16. When the Prophet arrives, David’s father, Jesse lines up all his sons. David is missing because he is tending the sheep in the fields. When Samuel examines each son, he has to ask Jesse if he had any other sons. Jesse, his own father, forgot about David.
David was lowly. He was humble. He was a shepherd boy. But this shepherd boy knew the Great Shepherd. He was able to pen, “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.” Psalm 23. When David appears before Samuel, the Lord confirms and shows Samuel that David is to be anointed as the next King of Israel.
When David calls the Lord, “My glory”, David is acknowledging that all he has comes from the Lord. God is the source of any honor or glory David possesses. Can you and I say the same? Absolutely.
Just as David’s glory was that God chose him to be King, our glory is that God has chosen us to so great a salvation! Listen to Hebrews 7:25, “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
Note Ephesians 1:4-5, “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.”
Can you see how God is our glory because He has lifted us from the pits of sin into his Kingdom? 1 Peter 2:9 is very fitting, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
And the Lifter of My Head
Lastly, David calls the Lord, “The lifter of my head.” This is one of my favorite phrases in the entire Bible. It is a phrase I often use in my own praying. Think of the sorrow David felt as his own son tried to assassinate him. Think of the shame he felt leaving his own city to flee this new army.
What is the natural posture of depression and sorrow? It is to lower our head. David penned in Psalm 38:6, “I am bowed down greatly, I go mourning all the day.” Do you know seasons like this? Are you in a time of life that your head is down?
I want to remind you that God is the “God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). It is the “Joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). God has the ability to lift your head! He will come to your rescue. He will not fail. He is a shield about you. He knows how to deliver his people.
Pray in the same pattern as David. Pray, “But You, O Lord” this acknowledges God and that your faith and life are centered upon Him. “Are a shield about me.” God is our protector. Psalm 5:11 says, “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.”
Pray to the Lord, “My Glory.” It is God’s Name, His reputation that is on the line. He will come through and He will give you His glory. Lastly, pray, “The lifter of my head.” Don’t expect to stay in your depression. The Lord will lift your head. He will deliver you swiftly. Look to Him, call on Him and trust in Him with all your heart.