“O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no salvation for him in God.’ But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.” Psalm 3:1-6
David wrote this psalm when he was fleeing his impetuous son Absalom, who had ordered the murder of his half-brother Amnon for raping his sister, set General Joab’s field afire, conjured up a revolt by stealing the hearts of Israel, and conspired to take over the kingdom in his father’s stead. At the time, although he still had hundreds of loyal supporters, all was bleak for David as he wrestled with a broken heart and fear for Israel’s future. I imagine him overwhelmed with grief and regret at realizing the sons of his flesh had repeated his own sins of lust and murder, and the consequences were coming hard and fast, and reeling with a sense he’d failed again as a father and as the righteous leader God had in grace called him to be. David knew deep in his soul that the LORD would never leave him or fail at His purposes, yet the foes of opposition and doubt all around him snarled a deafening chant against what was true. Until David looked up. His God, his shield all around him, lifted his head and heard his cry. (2 Samuel 7:8-13; 13:1-15:18)
There are days when it seems every way we turn, where there are decisions to be made, temptations to flee, conflicts to handle, tasks to perform, pressures to achieve, opposition to combat, we’re surrounded by enemies taunting us with doubt, discouragement, depression. ‘God isn’t really interested, you are a loser, that habit can never be broken, you’ll never get well, what difference do you make?’ When we listen to these ‘thousands’ round about us, we succumb to defeat, but when we recognize we are surrounded by the LORD our shield and lifter of our heads, our perspective changes to one of courage, trust, and peace. Wrapped securely in the LORD, we might hear, but cannot be touched by, the enemy.
“The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders.” “You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.” “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.” Deuteronomy 33:12; Psalm 32:7,10; 125:2
My LORD and Shield, please give me the wherewithal to shrug off enemy voices and lift my head above any doubt or despairing to You. Attune my ears to Your truth, and cause me to live freely in the joy of my salvation, the surrounding of Your grace, the splendor of Your glory. (Psalm 51:11-12)