But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. (Psalm 3:3 ESV)
One of the things that I love about the Bible is that it doesn’t sugarcoat life. It always meets us where we are at. There are most definitely seasons of life that are filled with joy and abundance, but there are also seasons of difficulty. The good news is that the Bible doesn’t shy away from this reality. Truth be told, we have all experienced difficult, whether it is relational strife, loss of a loved one, addiction, financial issues, etc. These are all realities of living in a world that has been ravaged by sin.
In Psalm 3, David has found himself in an extremely difficult season of life. David’s son, Absalom, has led a coup to remove David from the throne and now David is fleeing for his life (see 2 Samuel 14-15). It is in this mess that David writes these words. In verse 1-2 David explains the situation saying that many are rising against him. He gives us this picture that he feels like a man who is being crushed by a boa constrictor. The pressure is continuing to mount against David and in this pressure we get a glimpse of four truths about God’s character found in verse 3. David stands on these truths in his time of need. Those truths are that God is sovereign, a shield, a great reward, and the one who accepts us.
In verse 3, David uses God’s name, Yahweh (LORD), which speaks of God’s total sovereignty over everything. It brings to memory how God defeated Pharaoh’s army and parted the Red Sea in order to lead the people of Israel out of slavery on dry ground. David goes on to write that Yahweh is a shield about him. The Israelite warrior had a variety of shields to use, some shields were smaller and some larger. David draws on the imagery of the largest shield available. This shield covered the entire body of the soldier so that there was no vulnerability. This is the type of shield that God is for those who fear him. No matter what flies our way, we can know that Yahweh is a shield about us. David next says that God is his glory. David’s reward is not found in the throne that he has lost or a reconciled relationship with his son, but rather God alone. God is his prize and great reward. The final truth that we see is the beauty of God’s acceptance. When David writes that God is the lifter of his head, it is a way of speaking about God’s approval. David knows that even in the ugliest of situations, he has been accepted by God.
In our difficult seasons of life, we too like David can know that God is sovereign, a shield, a great reward, and the one who accepts us in Christ.
Written by Pastor Rick Bartek