But you are a shield around me, O LORD;
you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.

Psalm 3:3

David wrote this Psalm at one of the low points in his life. He was running from his son Absalom who was trying to steal the Kingdom from him. Rather than stay and fight to retain his leadership of the kingdom, David runs to avoid losing his own life, the lives of his leadership team and bloodshed in the city of Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 15:14)

An aside: I paused in my writing to discuss David and Absalom with my husband. His summary is perhaps better than mine. Here’s how he describes David’s thoughts at the time: “My son Absalom wants to kill me and become king in my place. Let’s run for our lives…But wait! I have to write this song first!” It made me laugh out loud!

Phil can be irreverent at times, and it’s one of the things that make him such a great teacher. People remember the crazy things he says for quite a long time because of the way he puts them. It’s a gift I don’t have.

Imagine how hurt, embarrassed and afraid David must be. Out of that emotional place, He wrote Psalm 3. When I read verse 3, I was reminded of what we learned from Romans 8:30 in part 4 of my series titled “The Me I Don’t Even Recognize.”

29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Romans 8:29-30

This passage teaches that those people who come to know Christ have been called, justified and glorified. (Read the whole series if you missed it. There’s some great content about those words.) The word “glorified” relates to our Psalm and means praised, celebrated, held in high honor, and to cause the dignity and worth of some person or thing to become manifest or acknowledged. And from the context of Romans 8:30, we see that God has already done it!

David didn’t have the privilege of having the book of Romans to study from, but he knew the Lord so intimately that in the midst of being chased down by his son, he was able to write the very same thing as Paul: That God bestows glory on His children. Imagine how important that was to David at that point in his life. He was saying “Father, my son may be trying to ruin everything I’ve done in my life and is trying to kill me, but You hold me in high honor. You celebrate me. You lift my head when it falls to my chest in defeat or shame.”

What God did for David, He will also do for you, friend.

I usually interpret the first line of the verse – “You are a shield around me, O Lord” – to relate to protection from physical harm, but seeing it today and coupling it with the second half of the verse, I wonder if David also had in mind that God is the shield around his emotions – the One who constantly encourages so that David is not defeated in his spirit.

I need that God around me, sometimes more often than I’d like to admit. Life has a way of beating us down – there is always more to do and there are always setbacks; discouragement is always nearby. But for those of us who love the Lord, we have a shield against that discouragement. He bestows us with glory. He lifts our heads. He is passionately in love with us.

My walk with the Lord was revolutionized when I came to understand that God is my greatest cheerleader. I mean no disrespect to the Lord – He is so very much more than that, of course – but for the longest time I saw Him as my personal judge – the One who constantly evaluated my performance and found it lacking. I hope that’s not where you are, friend. I hope you’ve come to know Him as I have – the One who sees me as I will one day be, and who is ever encouraging me to become that person. He has already bestowed glory on me; He has already made my worth known; He has already celebrated who I am and He holds me in high honor – already!

He is the God who looks down from heaven and smiles to Himself as He sees me pursue Him in the midst of the life He has given me. He looks down and says “See her – she’s my girl – she’s doing great – she’s so faithful, so loving, so kind, so smart, so passionate, so talented, so…….” Now of course, I’m not all those things – yet! But as He shields me from the discouragement that would be so easy to succumb to, He lifts my head and I can begin to believe that I really am those things.

What He does for me, He is happy to do for you. If you don’t know Him, I encourage you to get to know Him and make Him Lord of your life. He will be your greatest cheerleader, your shield and the lifter of your head.

For a clear presentation of what it means to know God, click here.
For a discussion about what it means to make Him Lord of your life, click here.

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