The Lifter of my Head

Sometimes in life it feels like the troubles keep piling up. One upon another. Unavoidable circumstances, sudden detours, difficult people. It can get discouraging, wearing, down right exhausting. I’ve felt that way the past few days. It seems like this world is out to get me!

I think David felt a bit like that when he wrote Psalm 103. “O Lord, how they have increased who trouble me. Many are those who rise against me. Many are those who say of me, ‘there is no hope for him in God.’ Selah.” David wrote this as he was fleeing his capitol city, running into the wilderness to escape his own son Absalom’s approaching hoards. And it was true. Many of his own friends and servants deserted him, declared him hopeless and without help. But they didn’t know God like David did. They assumed God had removed his blessing from David. Or maybe they thought David’s God wasn’t actually powerful enough to protect him from his own son. Whatever their reasons, many forsook David, and taunted him as he fled the city.

But David knew better. I love his bold proclamation in verse 3: “But you, O Lord, are a shield to me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.” In his God, David saw three things that kept him from utter despair in the midst of trouble upon trouble.

  • A Shield—David saw God as his protector. He was not alone or on his own. He knew God was with him shielding him from evil.
  • My Glory—As a king David could have gloried in his fabulous wealth, power, property, or reputation. If he had, then surely his glory would have come to ruin on this day of disaster. But instead David gloried in the Lord. He knew that Absalom could not take away his glory. No one could.
  • The lifter of my head—David’s head was understandably bowed in sorrow; it was likely also bowed in regret, possibly even shame. David knew that Absalom’s rebellion was in part a fulfillment of consequences for his own evil actions earlier in his reign. But instead of sulking or dwelling on that, he looked to the Lord as the one who would lift his bowed head. In Psalm 34:5 David declares, “Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy. No shadow of shame will darken their faces.” He knew that only in looking to God for help would his bowed head be lifted—his dignity and joy restored.

As I face one difficulty after another, piling on to the point that I find my head and my shoulders bowed, it is refreshing to find in David a reminder of where my eyes must remain focused. I cannot say when the troubles will end. This world is out to get me. Jesus said so. “In this world you will have tribulation.”  But Jesus continued, “Take heart, for I have overcome the world.” Indeed Jesus affirms what David proclaimed. In the midst of chaos and trouble, we can take heart because He is the Over-comer. He is my shield, my glory, the lifter of my head.

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