The Lifter of My Head (Psalm 3)


“O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no salvation for him in God.’ But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head” (Psalm 3:1-3).

The way of discipleship is the way of the few, the way of the minority. Jesus taught this truth in his mountain message. The majority travel the road whose gate is wide and whose way is broad. The way less traveled is not the popular way. Those who walk its path are also those who are sometimes persecuted and maligned. Traveling the narrow way with the few can be disheartening.

David’s prayer of Psalm 3 seems to have come from such a disheartening time in his own life. One of the lowest points in David’s life was a consequence of Absalom’s conspiracy against him (2 Samuel 15). David’s own son undermined him in an attempt to overthrow his rule and seize the throne for him. In so doing he “stole away the hearts of the men of Israel.” The people of Israel increased in their loyalty to Absalom and their rejection of David. Imagine David’s state of mind in the wake of such circumstances, as he fled from Jerusalem—weeping with his head covered and barefoot!

Psalm 3 reflects David’s dejection and discouragement. His adversaries have increased. The growing rejection is accompanied by the charge that God will not deliver him.

As David offers his prayer, he acknowledges that God is with him and protects him. He affirms his trust in God as his shield of protection and the one who lifts up his head from his depression and despair. He has found peace and strength of heart because the Lord has answered his cry. His courage is renewed, even in the face of the many who oppose him. In the end, he can with confidence affirm what so many were denying: “Salvation belongs to the Lord.”

Psalm 3 reminds us as believers that, no matter what challenges we may face in life, God is our shield and the lifter of our head.

We should be anxious for nothing. Take everything to him in prayer. His peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

“If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31-39).

Dan Petty