But You, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts up my head.
Don’t you just love those days? The kind of days where if its not one thing, its another. If it can get messed up, it will be. For me, these are usually Mondays, especially ones proceeding an amazing, powerful Sunday. I wake up a little too tired, shower a little too long, make my coffee and forget it on the counter, and get out the door just in time to get stuck behind the school bus. Ah, yes. Those days.
I think David wrote Psalm 3 in the midst of one of those days. It seems like everyone is out to get him. Things are looking pretty grim, people are even questioning whether or not God can help the poor guy.
And then? Selah.
Selah. I spent a significant amount of time this week hunting down a meaning for that one little word. After consulting a multitude of pastors, biblical commentaries, and the handy-dandy Google, I’ve come to two conclusions:
- No one is really sure what “selah” means.
- God ordained it into the Word, so it must be significant.
I’m very fond of how one source defined it as “pause and reflect”. It is also summarized beautifully in this commentary:
…the subject to which the word is attached should be spread out, meditated on, and attentively considered by the reader.
In other words, God is saying, “Mmm, that was juicy. Go ahead and soak that up for a few.”
So David is going through a pretty tough time. He could break down and fall apart. He could react violently. He could throw his hands up and surrender. But what does he do? Selah. He pauses. He reflects. What he says next blows my mind!
“But You, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts up my head.” David has just considered his circumstance and chose to turn His eyes to the Lord. He doesn’t begin whining to God. He doesn’t start praying for his circumstance to change. He testifies what he knows to be true: God will protect me. He will glorify me. He will restore me.
There is so much that can be unpacked in that statement. He is your shield. He is the one who glorifies you, that He might be glorified. He is the one who lifts your head back up and sets you back on your feet. Selah. Spend some time just thinking about these truths. How would your tough days look different if you responded like David does?
Sometimes our circumstance is more than just a “bad day”. Sometimes its almost impossible to look up because the pain is just too intense. If that is your circumstance, I believe that verse 5 is for you. There were a few days this past autumn where I really disliked my circumstance. I had reached a realization that teaching was challenging and I was not nearly as good at it as I hoped to be. My family was experiencing significant hardship. We were also in the midst of recovery from Hurricane Sandy. My life was not what I thought it would be. I felt like a loser and a failure. Everything I knew was falling apart.
It is on those days were Psalm 3:5 may be all you can do. I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me. Sometimes our days are a series of merely getting by and then finding the strength to get through the next one. But the Lord does sustain us. He is mighty. He is tireless. He is ruthless.
Regardless of what trouble lies ahead of you, choose to react in praise and know the Lord will sustain you.
Father God, Help us to remember to just ‘selah’ in the moments of trial we face. May we be quick to praise You and trust Your strength. May we rely on Your might to sustain us. Help us to find peace in You through all our storms, Your incredible peace which transcends all understanding. Amen.