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O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
“There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
Arise, O Lord!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the Lord;
your blessing be on your people!
This is a song of lament written by David. It was when his son Absolom rebelled against him and David had to run for his life. What a heartbreak! This Psalm was most likely written by David as a member of the people of God so they could adapt it for us during their times of distress.
It is a great Psalm when you feel you are in a desperate situation. The story of Absolom is found in II Samuel 13-18. But this urgent portion is found here in II Samuel 15:12-13. The full story is full of intrigue, murder, treason…you name it. It is probably there. Oh yes, and vanity. Absolom was a very vain man. It ended up being his undoing.
That first section indicates that people thought David’s situation was hopeless even for God! (vss. 1-2)
What character of God do we see here?
One clue to the answer is seen in the second section where he addresses God,
“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.”
God is seen as a Shield or Defender of David…and His people.
For this reason, David was able to lie down and sleep and be sustained. (As seen in section 3) Only realizing that God is protecting us in times of danger, can we sleep and get rest. If David had enemies before, he had even more now, because of Absolom! Yet knowing God was his shield and protector, David was able to sleep and rest knowing God was his shield.
In this case, God was bringing harm to David’s enemies. That is often what He does to our enemies too.
Not only was God his shield, God was giving his enemies a good throttling if they needed it…striking them on the cheek, hitting them in the teeth? He wasn’t sitting passively nearby and letting life happen to them. He was actively shielding David from his enemies, protecting him from danger.
Think about how the fact that God is your shield affects your life.