A couple of weeks ago, my hubby let me know we were to pick two songs for an upcoming worship event. He picked this song that had meant a lot to him from a Promise Keeper Album, and though I was familiar with it, it had been a while since I had sung it.
The song comes from Psalm 3, verse 3. It brought me back to the years when my dad, the pastor of our church in Harrison Hot Springs, bought song books for our congregation, all Psalms put to music. The Psalms came alive for me when we sang them regularly, and really, they are songs, poetry that King David and others wrote, set to music for the people.
I love songs and Psalms that are prayers, and this one is no exception. Psalm 3:3 says: “Thou O Lord, art a Shield about me, my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” This is the King James Version, but somehow this language fits the poetic words.
We sang the song, which came from these words, and it has come to surface many times in my head since. I’m learning to pray it. I doodled it, which has become a devotional exercise for me, helping me to focus on the words.
Thou O Lord are a Shield about me: When I think of God as a shield, we can go to the imagery of war. To understand the setting of the Psalms, it was a tribal culture; wars and protection of territory was the norm. I’m glad we don’t live in such brutal times… but again, maybe we do, just in different ways.
I love the visual of seeing this incredible image of God as a covering, a protection, a hiding place. Then this picture came of a safety net… sometimes we can feel like we are leaping into the unknown, or entering difficult circumstances, and there is an assurance that God’s arms are always ready to catch us, even when we fall.
“The lifter of my head.”: The last part of the verse also spoke loudly to me, when I think of the Creator as one who wants to lift my head. “Why are you downcast my soul”, the psalmist laments in another Psalm, and there are times where we feel bent over, misunderstood, weary, and are our heads can tell the story.
I see this especially with friends who struggle with depression, and I ache for them. This week I shared with one… here is good news! God, who loves us, desires to lift up our heads, to give us hope, to give us renewed confidence!
Such is the power of one little verse, which is now a regular prayer and a song I can sing. This is a verse and song that encouraged me this last couple of weeks, and I hope it will do the same for you.