My God, My Shield and Jawbreaker

In my study in the book of Psalms, I’ve been parked on Psalm 3 for the last couple days.  Rich!  This blog is a little different in that I will be sharing a little bit of the way I study and meditate.  You can read it straight through, or follow along the meditation.  It will take you a bit longer to do the latter.

Side note:  Today’s Hebrew lesson — In general, David is associated with the authorship of Psalms.  When we see, “A psalm of David,” we tend to think he wrote it.  However, the phrase “of David” does not necessarily indicate authorship.  In Hebrew this phrase is written לְדָוִ֑ד (ledawid). The לְ (lamedh) added before David’s name is a preposition and can mean “about”, “by”, “for”, or “to.” It can be translated as anyone of those prepositions.  Does any of this matter?  Not in the bigger picture, I just think it’s interesting.   The bottom line is this:  Psalm 3 was written about, by, for, or to David in a time of trouble; and, it was written either by the man with the heart, or by someone who knew his heart.  (In the words of Sean Connery in “The Untouchables,”  “Thus endeth the lesson.”)

Back to the meat…

Today, I am using the text from the Lexham English Bible.  I like this translation because it keeps the Name of God, יְ֭הוָה, or Yahweh, in the text.  Most translations that we read today replace His Name with “The Lord.”   I like that too because it follows the Hebrew tradition of saying Adonai in place of Yahweh.  But for this Psalm, I think it is very impactful to realize, and internalize, that it is the Great I Am who is our shield and protector.  Read on.

For reference, here is the entire text of Psalm 3:

3 A psalm of David at his fleeing from the presence of Absalom, his son.
Yahweh, how many are my enemies;
many are rising against me.
Many are saying about my soul,
“There is no deliverance for him from God. Selah
But you, Yahweh, are a shield around me,
my glory and the one who lifts up my head.
With my voice I call to Yahweh
and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah
I lay down and slept;
I woke up because Yahweh sustains me.
I am not afraid of the ten thousands of people
who all around have set themselves against me.
Rise up, O Yahweh; deliver me, O my God;
for you strike all my enemies on the cheek.
The teeth of the wicked you break.
To Yahweh belongs deliverance;
may your blessing be over your people. Selah

Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Ps 3:title–8). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Now that we’ve read Psalms 3 in its entirety, let’s go back together.  Read it with me, as I have been the last couple of days.  Wherever we read “Selah,” pause in silence and meditate on your own.  Afterwards, continue reading and I will share a portion of my meditation on that section.

3 A psalm of David at his fleeing from the presence of Absalom, his son.
Yahweh, how many are my enemies;
many are rising against me.
Many are saying about my soul,
“There is no deliverance for him from God. Selah

Meditate…

Lord, I have so many things that come against me, enemies of my soul that want to steal my attention from You.  I don’t have people armies seeking my life like David did when running from Absalom, but I have enemies that want to chase me from Your presence.  They want to distract me so I will refocus my attention on everything but You till I get to the point where I could say “You can’t deliver me, I might as well be lost and defeated.”  The enemies rising against me are many:

  • Myself and false notions of my identity
  • Misguided and/or misdirected relationship
  • Idols that I create without thinking about it
  • Unnecessary distractions that I allow to pervade my life
  • Things (luxuries, technology, possessions…)
  • Lack of contentment with the “Things” You have provided
  • Personal stuff that doesn’t need to go into this blog… 🙂
  • This list is obviously longer, but you get the idea…

We all have lists of enemies that distract us from a deeper relationship with God.  No matter how deep we go in that relationship, there is always a throng of enemies that wants to break that relationship and get us to say, “There is no salvation (ESV) in God.”  Infact, sometimes it seems the deeper we go, the greater the throng.  But there is hope!  Let’s continue reading:

But you, Yahweh, are a shield around me,
my glory and the one who lifts up my head.
With my voice I call to Yahweh
and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah

Meditate…

Amidst these enemies and their attacks, I call out to You.   You don’t hesitate;  You come down from Your throne to rescue me.  Despite the enemies that surround me and want to distract me, God, You have other plans.  Though I see these enemies and sometimes allow them to distract my focus away from You, You come in like a mighty Warrior and set up a barrier around me with Your very Being.   You become an impenetrable fortress that allows me to get closer to You, to feel safe and secure amidst the enemies that pursue me.  In that safety, You pause and get close enough to me to take my face in Your hands and lift my head to look into Your eyes.   You bring my focus back into perspective.  In Your eyes, I see the reflection of how You see me.

This is the every scripturally present, “But God…”  Thank Him that He always provides that life changing conjunction (but).  It get’s better…

I lay down and slept;
I woke up because Yahweh sustains me.
I am not afraid of the ten thousands of people
who all around have set themselves against me.
Rise up, O Yahweh; deliver me, O my God;
for you strike all my enemies on the cheek.
The teeth of the wicked you break.
To Yahweh belongs deliverance;
may your blessing be over your people. Selah

Meditate…

Because You have shown me how You see me in the reflection of Your eyes, I can rest in confidence.   I don’t have to worry about the pursuit of those enemies, for I am protected, safe in Your presence.  Even though my enemies are so many that I cannot count them, even though there are enemies I can see and enemies I cannot see and don’t know about yet, I am safe… safe enough to fall asleep and know that I will awake from that sleep, rested, because of Your shield about me.

Lord, You have given me rest and I am safe in Your presence.  I am willing to go to battle, but these enemies are more that I can handle.  Lord, I know that You will rise up and defeat these enemies for me, just as You did for David and countless other sons before me.  You can defeat them with a single blow.   You can defeat them with such force that Your single blow will send them flying, knocking out their teeth so they have nothing with which to bite into me ever again!

Lord, the battle is Yours.  The victory is Yours.  Because You have delivered me, bless those I meet through Your Holy Spirit working in me.  Allow me to be a blessing to those I meet and share Your blessing in their lives.  Amen!  Selah

About Todd Bowman

I am a child of God, a husband to Mindy, a father of seven beautiful children of God, a student of the grace of God in Christ, a worshiper, a teacher, a musician and singer, a writer, a nerd, a geek, and a general advocate of mercy and service.
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