O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying to me, “There is no help for you in God.” 3 But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head. I cry aloud to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah I lie down and sleep; I wake again, for the Lord sustains me. I am not afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. Rise up, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. Deliverance belongs to the Lord; may your blessing be on your people!
At the writing of this Psalm David was in a great deal of trouble. His own son, Absolam, had led what seemed to be a successful rebellion against him. Many of his previous friends and associates forsook him and joined the ranks of those who troubled him. David’s situation was so bad that many felt he was beyond God’s help. Those who said this probably didn’t feel that God was unable to help David; they probably felt that God was unwilling to help him. They looked at David’s past sin and decided that this was all what he deserved from God. They said that God was against David, and he was just getting what he deserved. This thought was most painful of all for David – the thought that God might be against him and that there really was no help for him in God.
Although many said there was no help for him in God, David knew that God was his shield. Others – and there were many, couldn’t shake David’s confidence in a God of love and help. When he was under attack from a cunning and ruthless enemy, David knew that God was his shield. This wasn’t a prayer asking God to fulfill this; this is a strong declaration of fact: ‘You, O LORD, are a shield around me’. God was more than David’s protection. He also was the one who put David on higher ground, lifting his head and showing him glory. There was nothing glorious or head-lifting in David’s circumstances, but there was in his God.
Have we all not at times wondered how glorious it would be if we had a faith like David? I know I have! David knew beyond doubt that God would protect him. Can we say the same?
God sustains us in our sleep, but we take it for granted. Think of it: we sleep, unconscious, dead to the world – yet we breathe, our hearts pump, our organs operate. The same God who sustains us in our sleep will sustain us in our difficulties. Thanks be to God.
You, O Lord, are the shield around me. You are my glory, the One who holds my head high. Make me worthy of your protection. Help me to endure and to show your love to others, For Jesus’ sake, Amen
Ann Barton – Worship Leader at Whittlesford URC in the Eastern Synod