In part 1 we discussed how God is our shield providing us the cover from the onslaught of fear and the opportunity to press ahead with our calling to the gospel of the kingdom. We may be restricted in our movement but not in our fellowship and outreach as they merely metamorphosize in to new and innovative forms keep up with our ever changing landscape.
Take the next part of the verse
3 But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
The next step David takes to deal with fear is to relocate his glory. He states that God is his glory, it is God who lifts up his head which means that which makes him happy and proud or that which “makes his day” is God.
Fear arises because we have placed our hopes of happiness and satisfaction upon the rather shaky foundations of our own glory. Check out how we feel on pay day compared to tax day when we have to pay our dues to the government. How about the feeling we have waking up on a Sunday morning to go to worship compared to just before our trip overseas for a fun filled tour of Hawaii ? What makes us happy reveals where our source of glory is located.
On the other hand the emotion of fear arises when the source of our glory is threatened. If our much hoped for promotion is denied. When our jobs threatened by the current economic recession. The overhanging threat of the Covid 19 infuses a constant state of uncertainty and tension. Every day we scan the statistics, desperate to find a break in the news. A new vaccine.A miracle cure. A magic herb. The reason why fake news is so much part of our landscape is because our nascent fear leaves us vulnerable because we are always mentally grasping at straws to alleviate our psychological angst. Yet the current crisis is nothing new. In Genesis 11 we read that the people began an immense building project.
Genesis 4: 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”
The stated reason is the same reason we do anything in life ...to make a name for ourselves ...instead of fulfilling our calling to reflect His glory as His image we want to seek our own glory. We read in the rest of the chapter how the wheels fell off that wagon pretty fast as God frustrated their aspirations by confusing their speech. Ever since then all we have been ever doing in life seems to be building our own towers whether they be concrete or digital. Inevitably, something comes along and it all falls apart. Robert Maynard Persig, a well known American philosopher actually concluded “ Any effort that has self glorification as its end point is bound to end in disaster” This is simply because we live in God’s world and under His terms though we only realise it when things fall apart.
David’s story is no different. He started out well as a humble servant of God . He was described as a man after God’s heart and with God’s hand on him, he grew the kingdom of Israel to phenomenal greatness. The story then takes a familiar turn. He sowed the seeds of his own disaster when his arrogance and pride led him along the path to adultery and murder. Eventually, his own family fell apart with the armed insurrection from his very own son. His world has been upended, the once mighty king is now hounded by his son Absalom. The Crown Jewels have been scattered in the dust and the loving adulation of the masses has turned into the hounding screams of a lynch mob. He has lost everything, everything that ever mattered to him. Eventually, the crisis passed and he is back on the throne but it would be a safe to say that David would never look at his crown in the very same way again. David is forced to relocate the source of his
glory to the only foundation which is truly unshakeable.
The times of suffering and threats lay siege to the very foundations of our glory and God uses these times to shake the trees and seek out genuine fruit. When our tree is shaken we are forced to locate our glory.
We are forced to re-evaluate our lives and our activities. The once busy schedule, that all important job all under threat of being swept away just as if a tsunami had roared over us. We begin to ask ourselves “what really matters in our lives?”
If we start to do that, then the Covid 19 crisis will bring real opportunity. We begin the process of relocating our glory to His glory. We being to look at the world as the way we should instead of
the way we have.
Take a look at Isaiah’s prophecy which forms the hope of Israel in the Old Testament.
Isaiah 60:19 The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. 20 Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended.
Isaiah is saying that our lives this side of eternity are uncertain and painful because of our reliance for glory is on temporal sources like the sun and the moon. Our smiles will rise and fall with the sun and moon every day . However there will come a day, that the Lord will be our light and glory. His light will not dim and His glory is constant.
The point is to transfer our hope of glory to an eternal source. The process begins today and it is fully realised when the Son of God returns in blazing glory.
When our glory is relocated in Him our fear will naturally fade like the morning mist because of His blazing glory. Relocating our glory in Him requires that we worship Him. We learn to magnify His name. This is like looking through the Hubble Telescope the best of its kind located out of this world. It brings the brilliance of a billion stars within the four corners of our screens and it causes us to be immersed in awe and wonder. It fills us with pleasure, excitement and joy as our human nature has been built to respond to beauty and we respond by worshipping the Creator. Where do you think our fears would have gone when the depths of our souls are enthralled by His majesty?
This was what we were created for. Fear is an anomaly. There was no fear in the garden of Eden. We were never made for fear we were made for worship
3 But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
When we relocate our glory He is the one who lifts up our heads. Remember the expression “with our heads held high” which means to display pride and confidence. We no longer trust on our own glory as the basis of our self esteem. The only approval that is absolutely essential to us is His and we have it.
Look at the next verse
4 I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
The “holy hill” is a reference to Zion the tabernacle , the presence of God where atonement was made for sin by animal sacrifices that pointed forward to a time when the Lamb of God would provide atonement for us so that we too can gain approval from God.
The result of David’s reliance on God as his shield, his glory and his approval is total peace and comfort.
5 I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
He gets through another day. The fear has evaporated and instead he is confident enough to ask God for victory.
7 Arise, O LORD! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;you break the teeth of the wicked.
His final declaration is one done in faith
8 Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people! Selah
Look at the remarkable contrast of what David is now saying versus what the people were saying of him in beginning of the Psalm 3
2 many are saying of my soul,“There is no salvation for him in God. Selah
He now has the confidence and strength to speak up against the overwhelming opinion of his detractors and all the naysayers who have counted him down and out. God has the last word! Let this psalm be our prayer and let His peace, comfort and strength be ours as we declare that He is our shield, our glory and the lifter of our heads.