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But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. Psalm 3:3 (NIV)

King David has gone down in history as being a mighty warrior, battling giants, defeating perennial enemies of God’s people and bringing peace to the Promised Land. He was a courageous leader. Patiently waiting until God placed him on the throne, building around him a loyal and respected army, unifying the twelve tribes ofIsraeland making her a force to be reckoned with. Throughout the Old Testament, in the years following David, the Kings of Israel are compared to David in their military valor, leadership and perhaps most importantly, their allegiance to the God of Israel.

With all of his victories, there was one battle that King David never consistently overcame: the battle for his heart. While he is referred to as the ‘man after God’s own heart’, David’s heart wandered from the path he so desperately wanted to follow.

David’s struggle with the heart is shown in its ugliest form in the story of Absalom, the son of David who so longed for his father’s attention that he was driven to start a rebellion among David’s own people. A rebellion that tore the palace apart, dividedJerusalem, and threatened to destroy the nation ofIsrael.

We can weather the storms from the outside with courage, but the battle for our hearts, the battle from within can destroy us. During this time of humility and disgrace, David is driven from the throne, and pens the words of Psalm 3. Tucked away in the words of this song from his heart, verse 3 offers us encouragement during our time of weeping and anguish; during those times when love has been ripped from our hearts.

Three truths from this little verse should energize us to follow him:

“You are my shield around me…” The word shied is better translated as a buckler, as a coat of armor that encircles a man entirely as he goes into battle. We are protected from the attacks the great enemy uses against us. Those attacks may come from people, even from religion. Those attacks may come from above us, below us or behind us. What a wonderful picture for us to hold on too. Se can’t possibly see all the attacks that are coming our way, but our shield and protector, the Creator-God of the universe, our Heavenly Father who loves us with a never ending love, has set his power on protecting us from attack.

“You…are my glory”. Does Gods’ protection mean we won’t suffer? No. Does it mean there won’t be hardship? No. But along with the things God allows into our lives is the promise that he will strengthen us to endure and grow stronger. In the midst of his humiliation, when many of his most loyal subjects deserted him and he was forced to leave in shame, David remembers that some day he would return in triumph. He may not have been sure how that would come about, but he trusted his Lord. Present suffering didn’t keep David from seeing future deliverance. Whether sitting on the throne, or running in disgrace, David was confident his God would deliver him. How true for us as well. As we endure this present struggle on the journey of life; during those times when the wounds of our heart seem unbearable, our hope is eternally set on the Lord.

“You, Lord…lift my head high.” It’s easy to spot someone on the street who is enduring hardship and pain. They walk with their heads towards the pavement. It could be a momentary struggle or a life-long battle they are facing. Their pain could be recent or the festering puss of a wound scabbed over, but full of infection below the surface.

The person who lives in confidence walks with his head held high. His eyes are to the future, not the present. His focus is on others, not himself. Their eyes are full of life, not of emptiness and sorrow. During those times when the pain is too great; the pressure too severe; the future too dark and worrisome, we in our human frailty can not so much as lift our heads to see the future that lay ahead of us.

No worries. Our lord and savior Jesus Christ lifts our head for us. When the journey is too harsh and the enemy too great for us to see our way through, we need only see Jesus. Are you struggling in the journey? Let him be the one to lift your head. Trust him to show you the hope you have for the future. He is your shield of protection. He believes in you when everyone else abandons you. He shows you hope for your future.

PRAYER: Lord God, I’m tired. The attacks from outside aren’t nearly as painful as the battle that rages within. Thank you for your promise of protection. Help me to feel your arms around me. Thank you for your salve of healing for my wounds. Empower me to live strong in adversity. Thank you for lifting my head so I can see the future glory you have for me. Amen.

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