God in the Psalms No.3
Psa 3:3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD ; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head
We have seen previously that God sees and God acts. God reigns from heaven through His anointed on the earth. He is the Lord. Now all of that could remain purely academic, purely remaining in our mind and leaving the rest of us untouched, but not so for David. The God who is ‘out there’ is also ‘down here’ with us and therefore has effect upon us.
For David, as he flees from his rebellious son, as he fears for his life, he sees the Lord as a shield. Remember what a shield is? Something you hold out in front of you to protect you. We have windshields in our cars to protect us from the wind as we drive. We have shields around x-ray machines in hospitals to protect us from the x-rays. We have shields in nuclear reactors to protect us from harmful radioactivity. We have sunshield creams to protect us from too much sunshine. A shield keeps something away, stops something from harming us. Thus for David, he is able to say that the Lord stands between him and his enemies to keep them from harming him.
But more than this; he says that the Lord is a shield around me. In other words, the Lord’s protection completely surrounds him. There is nothing half-hearted about this protection. It is complete.
When others come against us with words, with unkindness, or with harmful intentions, do we know the security that comes from experiencing the Lord standing between us and them? That’s what it is – a sense of Him standing between us and them, and therefore we can be sure that they cannot harm us. That knowledge means that we can therefore stand there without fear, stand there in the grace of God, knowing that we are God’s children, loved and protected. This means we can smile at our enemies. This means we can pray for our enemies (Mt 5:44). As we stand there, confronted by our enemies, we can know peace and security, because He is there and He surrounds us with His protection.
But there is more in this verse. Sometimes when others seem to be against us, it has the effect of wearing us down. We feel we are in a place of blackness, a place of isolation and loneliness. So what does David go on to say? “You bestow glory on me”. The light of God’s presence seems to shine in our darkness and two things follow. First, we know that we are not alone; He is here. Second, the darkness, the heaviness, falls away as His light shines and suddenly we are no longer cast down. Suddenly we find we are walking with our head held high. As David said, the Lord came to lift up my head.
Yes, this is what this psalm tells us: our God is not just the all-powerful, all-mighty, all-knowing God ‘out there’, but He is personal, here for me. I can experience His presence, here and now. I can know security because He is here and now, to guard me and protect me, to stand between me and those who are against me.
Can we learn to have that sense, that God IS here with us and that He is here FOR us, to love us (for He is love – 1 Jn 4:8), and to protect us, as He stands all-powerfully between us and the people or things that would seek to harm us? He is there to ensure that we are not harmed by them, and He wants us to learn to know Him, know His presence, know His power, know His protection, and in ‘knowing’ we shall be changed.