But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head. Psalm 3
We talk a lot about uncertainty at the moment, and perhaps with good reason: Uncertainty in our economics, uncertainty in our global politics, uncertainty in our immigration policies. Maybe you’re in the middle of uncertainty in your personal life. What’s my vocation? Where does my future lie? And of course, nothing like a good old Valentine’s Day to push those insecurities and fragilities up to the surface, right?
King David knew uncertainty. He wrote this hymn of praise (Psalm 3) while he was being hounded out of his own city Jerusalem by his own son, Absalom.
A messenger came and told David, “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.” Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “Come! We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. (2 Sam 15)
Absalom decided it was time to declare himself King. He’d somehow won the popular vote, and David, his actual dad, a pretty good dad at that, was forced to head into hiding. Nobody had any idea what was going to happen next, but it certainly wasn’t heading towards a peaceful conclusion.
I’m sure about 80% of every worship blog ever written focuses in on the worshipping-heart of King David in times of adversity. Until we learn the habits, we return to the lessons .
Lift My Head
Maybe 18 months ago the exaltation would be to lift your head from your iPhone to re-engage with God’s kingdom around you. ‘We’re so distracted with social media bla bla bla’. In February 2017 it’s more that a lot of our heads are properly down. Life feels heavy. Without wanting to add too much to the hysteria, our world is heading in the direction of increasing chaos. Sure the memes are funny but the situations are worrying. Lies plastered everywhere masquerading as truth. People frozen out of their homelands. Increasing uncertainty. Maybe you empathise from afar, maybe you’re right in the middle of it all. We all continue to pray.
Funny how so many of us who claim allegiance to a different king and a different kingdom — a new world order breaking in — get caught with our heads down so often, scrambling for reason amongst confusion, looking for people to blame instead of someone to hope in. For me it can be a daily struggle, one that I’m often oblivious to.
The million dollar question: How to worship in the midst of uncertainty, fear, betrayal? Lift. Your. Head. Look up. Jesus is there. The same as ever. Seated at the right hand of the Father. He’s a shield around us, David glimpses it. Jesus, our glory, David senses it. Worship is the choice to position ourselves with eyes raised towards our deliverer and our saviour.
And when you can’t do it? When the heaviness tips the balance the wrong way? The kindness of God means that He’s the lifter of our heads. Your Father stoops low, gently places his hand under your chin and helps lift your eyes to the light. That’s the grace of God. Stop for a moment and let the beauty of that image sink in. Or pray the prayer that welcomes His embrace. ‘We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on You’ -one of David’s successors King Jehoshaphat prayed. The deliberate, intentional act of worshipping Jesus isn’t passive and it isn’t a pastime; Worship is political, it’s the beginning of social action. The declaration of Jesus’ Lordship is a hungering for more of heaven and a beckoning in of His kingdom. It all starts with His grace towards us.
For those who’ve been told that their lives are worth little, for those who’ve been humbled by failure too many times. Let Him help you worship again. For all of us, there is an invitation to let the love of the Father heal us, to experience grace, look up and see everlasting victory in the face of Jesus, and total compassion in His eyes. We were made to know him. Whether lifting our gaze or it being lifted for us, worship is the strongest antidote the church has to the distraction and depression that the enemy has prepared to consume us. We hope these songs will help draw you nearer to Him. We hope you will experience what David experienced as again he chose to worship His Father.
From the Lord comes deliverance ||The Lord sustains me ||He answers me (Psalm 3)