One thing I’ve loved about studying the Psalms is the way in which it presents new ideas to me. Part of my misunderstanding of the book before I read it was that I honestly thought it was just a bunch of poems written about God. But one thing that many of the psalms contain are new ways of thinking about God. Just seeing these new ideas about what He is, and what He can be to us, expressed in these psalms helps me expand and grow my own knowledge of the Lord.
This psalm was written by David. In it, he’s on the run from his enemies. There’s so many great words that David writes to the Lord, but I found one moment in this Psalm to be particularly beautiful.
Psalm 3:3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
Shields can be invisible (Star Trek taught me that), and glory isn’t always visible, but the act of lifting someone’s head strikes me as an incredibly physical and intimate thing. David shows moments of being downtrodden and troubled when he’s writing many of the Psalms, but here he gives us such an incredible idea of what the Lord means to him. He calls the Lord the lifter of his head. What a gorgeous sentiment. Too often when we’re feeling troubled or down we try to rely on ourselves or our significant others or our friends or families to cheer us up. We want a pep talk from our mom, or a rousing call to arms from our best friend. None of that’s wrong, but let’s not forget the greatest source of cheer, pep, and rousing calls to arms; Jesus. He is the ultimate lifter of our heads, because through Jesus we have been given the sweetest gift of them all.
Another psalm of David, this one is him sort of talking to the enemies who continue to trouble him. In this psalm, David gives a word of advice to his enemies that I think is worthwhile for all of us.
Psalm 4:4 Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.
The phrase “be angry, and do not sin” appears later in the bible in Ephesians were it’s instructing believers. But even though it was aimed at wicked men here, I like how David words this piece of wisdom. Get mad, but don’t do or say something wrong because of that anger. Take the time to really think about it, lay in bed at night and really get deep about why you’re angry. And be silent. I like to think David was probably saying “and shut up” here, seeing as he was talking to his enemies. But man, I think it’s advice we could all use. Don’t let anger lead you into sin. Be silent, and take the time to really think about why you’re angry. Get to the bottom of it, and deal with it in a timely fashion, something Ephesians touches upon.
Ephesians 4:26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
Getting angry and/or offended by other people can be a real problem in life. I know there are real reasons in this world to be angry, but I think there’s a huge danger of letting anger and offenses build up within us, sometimes without us even realizing it. Anger and offense can steal your joy, it can harden your heart, and it can cause you to stumble in your walk with God. Take the bible’s advice when it comes to anger. Don’t let it lead you into sin, and don’t let it fester. Get to the bottom of it, get it dealt with, and move on.
Another David psalm here. Many of his psalms involve him crying out to the Lord, but the way this one opens really stood out to me.
Psalm 5:1-2 Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning. 2 Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray.
I love the idea this presents. David is asking God to “consider my groaning” and to “give attention to the sound of my cry”. It’s not just his words that David wanted God to hear, he wanted even his groans and cries to register with the Lord. This sort of blows my mind. I love it when my idea of God grows larger, and this verse did that. I can seek the Lord with a groan, and He can decipher the meaning. If I’m so deeply troubled that all I can do is cry out to God, I can trust that God knows the meaning of that cry. Some translations of the bible change the word groaning to meditation, or inner thoughts, but I still find that fascinating and awesome. My God doesn’t just hear my words when I pray. He can dig within my inner thoughts, He can decipher my groans to Him.
God is so massive, you guys. I lose sight of that, sometimes. Especially when He feels so close. Just as I wrote that sentence about Him feeling close, I felt His presence. God is here with me, in my room, at this keyboard, and that’s perhaps the most incredible feeling in the world. But, God isn’t just here with me, He’s this towering, unfathomable, powerful presence. He’s the creator of all things. I need to make sure that as I grow more familiar with Him and feel closer to Him, I don’t lose sight of his awe inspiring scope either. He’s the God of little old me, and also God of the entire universe as well.
David uses the word shield a lot, and that makes sense as he was constantly under attack. But I love the way in which he expressed it in this next verse.
Psalm 5:12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as a shield.
It’s not just a shield of protection here, David says that God covers the righteous “with favor as a shield.” I love that idea. The idea of being surrounded by a shield of God’s favor, it’s such a cool concept. His favor isn’t just above the righteous, or in front of them, but it surrounds them. They’re covered by it. The definition of favor is “an attitude of approval or liking”. Can you imagine being so favored by God that his attitude of approval over you covers you like a shield? It’s hard to be fearful of anything this world can throw against us if we’re living righteous lives, because in that case we’re living surrounded by a shield of God’s favor.
CLOSING AND PRAYER
I love doing these studies. Sometimes we can read our bibles and then ten minutes later have no memory of what we just read. But doing a study like this really helps me engage the material and think about it deeply. I’m excited to be in the Psalms, and I’m excited to see what wisdom and knowledge they have for me as we move forward with these studies.
This post will close out the week here on the blog, and this weekend I’m heading to the lake for a men’s retreat with my church. I’m very excited about unplugging for a few days and just spending time with some great men of God. I expect it to be an incredibly peaceful weekend, and so I want that to be our prayer for today. Not just for me, and not just for this weekend, but let’s pray for peace in our lives. Sometimes, our day to day lives can feel so chaotic and busy. So just ask God today to bring peace to your life. If you’ve got a situation of unrest in your life, ask God to settle upon that situation and just bring a supernatural peace to it.
I love you guys. Thanks for being with me for another week of blogs. God loves you, and He wants to do mighty and beautiful things in your life.