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 (ESV)
But in the depths of my heart I truly know that you, Yahweh, have become my Shield; You take me and surround me with yourself. Your glory covers me continually. You lift high my head when I bow low in shame. I have cried out to you, Yahweh, from your holy presence. You send me a Father’s help.
Pause in his presence (TPT)
But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory [and my honor], and the One who lifts my head.
With my voice I was crying to the Lord, And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah. (AMP)
The Lord stopped me in my tracks this morning as I read this Psalm. I felt the urge to read it in several different translations, and could not help myself in sharing them all with you as well! Sometimes reading something over and over, in different “tones,” helps make the truth sink deeper into our hearts.
It definitely went deeper into my own heart this morning as I hope it does yours.
The truth is, I didn’t want to read anything this morning (how embarrassing). If you read last week’s blog, you’d know it was from Psalm 1 and about not neglecting reading our Bibles, especially during this season. I talked about marinating on the Word and allowing our roots to go deep and therefore bear much fruit, even in dry seasons. More than anything, it was an encouragement to dig deep and continue to pause in His Presence during this time in history.
Now as most of you probably understand all-too-well, the devil is a PUNK, and within days of submitting that little blog I found myself stuck in a cycle of busy activity, interruptions and distractions almost daily that kept me from digging as deeply into my Bible as I had been. When things like that happen, our response should always be to pick ourselves up, shake off the distraction and guilt, and then carry on as if we had never skipped a beat.
But oh, the accuser of the brethren is ready and waiting to pounce with lies and accusation to make us feel bad about whatever it is that we momentarily slipped over. Half the time what we experience is purely an attack from the enemy, who twists things and makes us feel like a hypocrite and like it’s all our own fault. What a jerk.
So here I am this morning, still in isolation, with a few blogs to write and a handful of little tasks to accomplish today. I’m still sipping my morning coffee when I felt the tug toward my Bible. I haven’t actually marinated in it for a few days, so I felt a sense of almost guilt in grabbing my Bible and opening it. But I know that there is no condemnation for me (Romans 8:1) and I can come boldly to His throne (Hebrews 4:16), so I turned to this Psalm and began to allow His Presence to wash over me. After all, I have VICTORY over every attack (Psalm 34:19). So I CHOSE to grab my Bible and read Psalm 3.
Here’s what He showed me, that I think will really encourage you: HE IS THE LIFTER OF OUR HEADS! Even when I feel like I don’t deserve His Presence, even when I feel under attack or when I’m wrestling with external feelings of being a “hypocrite” or whatever the lies may be…HE is a shield around me and HE is the one who lifts my head.
Being the teaching nerd that I am, I looked up a few of these words in the original Hebrew language. The word shield is the Strong’s h4043, the word magen or meginnah, which literally means a scaly hide of crocodile skin which was used as protection and defense.
The Lord is our defense…even when we “feel” that we don’t deserve it! And the word lifter (He is the “lifter of our head”) is the Strong’s h7311, the word rum, which means to be lifted up and set on high; to be exalted; to mount up and rise up.
Take a look at how The Passion Translation says it: You lift high my head when I bow low in shame. He lifts us up and sets us on high. He exalts us with His love. He causes us to rise up, even when we are bowing low in shame. The imagery here is outstanding! I can almost imagine sitting at His feet, unable to make eye-contact while he gently and lovingly takes a finger and lifts my chin up toward His, making me look deeply into His eyes of pure love and full acceptance.
I feel like THIS is how He answers me from His holy hill. His response to those who belong to Him is always LOVE and lifting our eyes beyond the shame. It’s just Who He is.
If I needed another reason to dig deep into the Word today (and every day!) it would be this. Because when I do, He lifts my head. He surrounds me with glory and honor. He protects me and answers me with His Presence, and with “a Father’s help,” and in the midst of all this He breaks off the shame and guilt that the devil has tried to place on my shoulders.
He is so good.
Pause in His Presence.