Keep Your Head Up
Monday, March 16, 2015
Psalm 3:3 (ESV) But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
How do you react when you see something coming at your head? I instinctively duck. Even when I see a slight movement out of the corner of my eye, like my wife reaching for something, I duck. No, she has never hit me and I have no reason to fear her, but my first reaction is for self-protection. When I see a bird fly in front of the windshield of my car, I duck, even though there is no danger that it can hit me. My natural response to impending danger is to put my head down and get out of the way. Life is primarily lived on the defensive.
The same may be true of our spiritual lives – we tend to live on the defensive. We are consistently afraid of the evil that surrounds us in the world. When things are going great, we are anticipating their collapse. When things are fine, we wonder when reality will return and things will get worse. And when things are terrible, we cower in fear of what more might happen. We believe that when one bad thing happens, two more are on the way because bad things always happen in threes. We have a permanent downward bend in our spiritual spine from keeping our heads down.
I’m learning to keep my head up in my physical training throughout the week. My trainer is a stickler for maintaining a solid core by keeping my head up when I am exercising. Keep the back straight and the core muscles engaged by keeping your head up and looking forward. That’s good advice for all of life.
God intended us to live with our heads up, but it’s only possible if the core is strong. A strong core gives us the balance we need to look up without falling over. (Personal experience)
In Psalm 3, King David was in a terrible spot in his life. He has been evicted from Jerusalem by the rebellion of his son Absalom who wants to be king. He has fled to a cave. He cries out to God, O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! He has heard the gossip about him as people say, “God will not deliver him.” He is tempted to believe them. But, he proclaims his faith in God with this incredible statement of hope – you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. Notice the three things David proclaims as truths that show the strength of his core:
- God is a shield around us– the shield of faith is not one-dimensional protecting only one direction of attack – God’s shield is all around us. Charles Spurgeon, the great British preacher, explains it this way – God’s shield is a protection which shall surround a man entirely, a shield above, beneath, around, without and within. Oh what a shield is God for his people! He wards off the fiery darts of Satan from beneath, and the storms of trials from above, while, at the same instant, he speaks peace to the tempest within the breast. God protects us from every direction.
- God bestows glory on us– it is glorious to find joy in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. It is glorious to see the future glory God will bestow upon us in His presence one day. It is most glorious to realize that we are experiencing the glory of His presence in our lives today, and nothing can separate us from His love. No matter what the world is saying about us, God is with us!
- God lifts up our heads – When we have been shamed, God lifts our head in honor. When we have been sick, God lifts our head in health, with the ultimate healing coming in His heavenly presence. When there has been sorrow, gladness comes in the morning. When we have fallen, there is restoration and reconciliation. When we appear defeated, there is victory, for we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. In all these respects the Lord is the lifter up of our head.
So when life throws things at your head, stop ducking. I know it’s hard to conquer the natural reactions of the flesh. Even though I know the windshield will protect me, I still instinctively duck when I see something hurling towards it. But I immediately lift my head because the shield has done its job. We may still instinctively duck from spiritual attack, but with the shield of God around us, and His glory in us, He lifts our head to face any danger, because greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. Lift up your head and face the day with confidence. God has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.