“You, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3
“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.
For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield.” Psalm 5:11-12
“He brought me to the banqueting house,
and his banner over me was love.” Song of Solomon 2:4
God plants in His people a natural desire for security, as well as fire for significance requiring growth and action. By grace He vows to circle us about with His shield of protection and coincidentally lift our head for vision and hope and exultation. There is tension in His involvement with us, but no dichotomy with the contrasts it presents. His banner and favor are meant to propel us to engage with His kingdom purposes in the world with great rejoicing.
For any prescribed life adventure, we want to be enveloped in appropriate gear- unencumbered by excess that would hinder full performance but dressed securely with what would enhance it. When the Lord issues a call to special relationships, work, or ministry, He is refuge, glory, and freedom all at once. Provider, purpose, and joyful passion. It is not only possible to have safe harbor in Him and safe release to fly, but it is His very way with His own and fully consistent with His character and plan. Do we know this beautiful blend and blessing and interdependence of being held fast in love and freed to soar? Of perfect rest and perfect release? (Isaiah 26:3; Hebrews 12:1)
How ready are we for His daily call? Are we in a rut of repetition, slothfully relishing the ‘shield’ of sameness and monotony but going through days and seasons without joy or sense of blessing? Are we tempted to stagnancy, having ‘served our time’ and determined to enjoy the fruits of others’ labor? Do we prefer nestling into our envelopes of safety and comfort to lifting our heads for fresh vision with what God’s arms around us provide by way of support and courage? Where is God issuing a new opportunity to participate in His kingdom work and a call to abandon ourselves to it? (Romans 12:11)
“All for Jesus! All for Jesus!
All my being’s ransomed pow’rs,
all my thoughts and words and doings,
all my days and all my hours.
Let my hands perform his bidding,
let my feet run in his ways;
let my eyes see Jesus only,
let my lips speak forth his praise.
Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus,
I’ve lost sight of all beside;
so enchained my spirit’s vision,
looking at the Crucified.
O what wonder! How amazing!
Jesus, glorious King of kings,
deigns to call me his beloved,
lets me rest beneath his wings.” ~Mary Dagworthy James (1810-1883)
Lord, grant both gratitude for Your gracious, protective envelopment, and grit to raise my head and go engage with Your world. All of me I commit joyfully and confidently for Your great glory.