But you, O LORD, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy mountain. I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me. Psalm 3:3-5 NLT
One of the not so fun parts of getting older is not sleeping as well as I once did. As a child, I slept like a baby- well, actually better than a baby, I slept all night long. Sleeping well has served me well all of these years. But more recently, I have found my sleep patterns to be a bit broken up. Waking during the night may seem unpleasant, but actually, it has its good points. I get a lot of reading and writing accomplished.
Sometimes though, my lack of sound sleep can lead to worry. Worry about my kids, their kids, any future great grand-kids and even the great-great grandkids that I will never know. As a mom and Oma, I can find lots to worry over. I can worry about things far in the future.
David had a lot on his mind as he wrote Psalm 3. He was on the run from his son Absalom who had dethroned him and planned to kill him. David’s concern was not an unreasonable worry. He was in danger, and he knew it. But he also knew that he was God’s chosen king.
We can learn a lot from David and his predicament. David acknowledged to God that he was in danger, and then he took his mind off his worries and put his eyes and thoughts squarely on the Lord. He chose to take his eyes off his enemies and put them onto the One who could protect him. He wrote these words, But you, O LORD, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. This statement wasn’t a prayer of David’s but a declaration of a fact David understood to be truth.
David had been Saul’s armor-bearer (1 Sam 16:21), and he understood what the job of an armor-bearer entailed. He would have known; if needed, he was to hold the shield in front of Saul and protect him from the enemy. The shield was thick and tough- much like the scaly hide of a crocodile. Nothing could easily penetrate the shield.
In writing this Psalm, David sensed his armor-bearer, God, was present and in control. God would hold up a shield around David in his defense. David also knew that it would be God who would lift his head. Lifting David’s head was not to bolster David’s pride or to puff him up but was to impart David with strength and power to complete his God given assignment. God would fulfill his promise to protect David, and this knowledge lifted David’s head.
So, here is what we can learn from David. First, we should feel free to share how we feel with the Lord since there are threats to our security and well-being in our world. But just like David, we must not stay focused on those threats. David knew that his circumstances were not where his security rested- his safety came from the Lord.
We must move our focus onto Jesus- the One who carries our shield and lifts our head. Once we turn our focus onto the one who defends us, we too can lay down and sleep peacefully because the Lord guards and watches over us.
In Psalm 4:8, David wrote words of truth for us; In peace, I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD will keep me safe.