How many are my foes! How many up against me rise! The psalmist is amazed by the growing opposition. How many?! It is a familiar feeling to many of us. How many? How many more difficult days can there be? How much more worrying news? How many more challenges for our world and our future?
But rather than allowing fear and worry to triumph the psalmists find courage and confidence in the knowledge that God is present. They dwell on what they know of God’s character, they draw strength and faith from God’s actions in their lives so far. They meditate on God’s encompassing protection, in the evocative image of a shield.
The shield is the most often mentioned ‘weapon’ in the Psalms, reminding us of God’s protection, our help, our shade and our strength. Focusing on God as a shield, the psalmist can inspire us to lift our heads up in faith, despite an uncertain future. We may rattle our swords in anger or frustration, but this shield, God’s shield, is much more powerful.
Recalling all God has done for us before, how God has sustained us safely through other dark nights, we, like the psalmist, can pray for deliverance with confidence and praise, knowing that deliverance comes from God alone.
God of protection and blessing, You surround us, sustain us and shield us, Your actions of yesterday give us assurance for today. God of promise and deliverance, Lift our heads, our hearts and our hopes, So we may look confidently towards tomorrow. Amen
Jo Clare-Young is an ordinand at Westminster College and member of Cuxton URC in Kent
Sing Psalms (C) Psalmody and Praise Committee, Free Church of Scotland, 15 North Bank Street Edinburgh, EH1 2LS.