You are my lamp, O LORD,
the LORD turns my darkness into light.
—2 Samuel 22:29
But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me;
my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
That God is “glory”—or “excellence”—beyond our understanding, none can deny. But do our hearts look up to Him today in humble, earnest worship, and know the truth, and speak the truth—”Thou are MY GLORY“? Our safety lies in the fact that He possesses us. Our deepest, holiest joy comes only when we humbly say in the hour of secret worship: “Thou art mine.” Oh, Lord my Glory, be Thou my shield this day. Amen.
The Lifter Up of Mine Head
Oh, Thou who hast given
Thy glory to me,
Anoint my blind eyes
Till Thy glory I see.
Lift up my bowed head,
Be my shield and my light,
Till Thy radiant glory
Shall banish my night.
[Taken from Wonderful Names of Our Wonderful Lord, by Charles E. Hurlburt and T. C. Horton. Copyright © 2002 by Barbour Publishing, Inc.]
I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for You alone, O LORD,
make we dwell in safety.
According to Dr. J. Vernon McGee, Psalm 3 has been called a “morning psalm:” in other words, a good psalm with which to start the day.
He calls Psalm 4 “an evening prayer.”
I love the way Dr. McGee puts it: “In spite of all the problems and troubles that David had, he trusted in the Lord. He could sleep at night … He simply trusted in the Lord, pillowed his head on the promises of God, and went to sleep.”¹
Imagine! David “pillowed his head on the promises of God, and went to sleep”! I love the visual imagery this conjures up.
A good night’s sleep is something our bodies need in order to regenerate and get ready for the next day. But for many of us, sleep problems dominate our lives. When we don’t get the refreshing and restoring deep sleep we need, we suffer the physical, psychological and emotional effects throughout the next day, and often beyond.
I’ve always been a very light sleeper. I will fall asleep almost immediately, but then wake up at the least bit of sound. After years of sleepless nights, I’ve learned to wear ear plugs. These do a great job of muffling the harsh sounds that jar me awake. Certain sounds slip through anyway every so often, like the barking of neighbors’ dogs or the annoying beeps of a smoke detector that needs new batteries.
As I begin to fall asleep, there is usually a hymn going through my mind, one of several that I’ve somehow remembered from listening to Scripture songs over the years. I drift off while praising the Lord in my mind and heart and this, plus the silence that surrounds me, usually puts me right to sleep. And I notice that when I wake up during the night to change positions, that same song is still running through my mind.
But then there are the nights when I can’t sleep, no matter what I do or think about. That’s when I need to remind myself—like David did—to pillow my head on the promises of God, letting thoughts of anything else work their way out of my mind. I need to relax and allow Him to comfort and soothe me through any negative or unsettling thoughts, which only work against my desire and need for sleep.
Beloved, no matter how much or how little sleep we get, one thing should be a constant source of comfort to us: that the Lord is always with us while we sleep, keeping us safe in His care. And no matter if our night is sleepless or not, we can still rejoice in each new day and take comfort from the knowledge that the Lord is:
- OUR SHIELD
- OUR GLORY
- THE LIFTER OF OUR HEADS
Now that’s something worth counting on!
¹Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee. Copyright © 1982 by Thru the Bible Radio.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and do not lean on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight.
Over the years, the Lord has given me several life verses. This Proverbs passage was the first one and is probably dearest to my heart because it was one of the reasons Rick and I started talking online. He and I both cited this passage in our profiles because we both love this verse. And here we are, over 18 years later, still relying on the verse that brought us together!
Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
yes, wait for the LORD.
No one likes to wait.
I can remember when the only ways we got in touch with each other was to phone them or send them actual written letters. I know, I’m dating myself here! Then email became the preferred method of communication because it was so much quicker.
We still use email but most of us now text our messages to each other because that is even faster. And don’t even get me started on how much we rely on social media like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to instantly transmit our thoughts.
We rush through fast-food drive-thrus.
We even drive faster than we should because posted speed limits seem impossibly slow to us.
How many times have you been waiting for an elevator where you or someone else has already pushed the “up” or “down” button. The button is already lit up but then another person approaches and presses the button again because that will obviously make the elevator arrive faster.
And check out the “Walk” light image above. In big cities, most people walk to their destinations. Waiting at crosswalks is always interesting. Many people repeatedly push the button that changes the light as if the light will immediately change in their favor. Some people step off the curb as they’re waiting so they’ll have a head start when the light does change. And then there are those who are so impatient to get across the street that they won’t wait for the “Walk” light to appear. They dodge cars as they force their way to the other side.
It strikes me that all of this is similar to the way we sometimes approach God when seeking direction in our lives.
Sometimes we swamp God with prayer because we think we might get our answer faster.
Other times we’re like those who step off the curb while waiting for the “Walk” light: we know God will answer our prayer but we step out ahead of His timing.
And how about when we rush headlong with our agenda without waiting for God to show us His will? We mistakenly proceed on our own to do what seems best to reach our goal but how often do we get tangled up in what might have been because we jump so far ahead of God’s timing?
Beloved, I have been there more times than I can count! Waiting for God is not easy, is it? Sometimes that kind of silence can feel like forever. We start to think we’re praying the wrong way or that God doesn’t understand how urgent our situation is.
Beloved, God knows exactly what is going on in our lives and in our hearts. He has always been aware of what we need—before we were even born! His timing is always exactly right!
Even though I am still in a season of waiting, I am faithfully trying to remember that:
…with the LORD one day is as a thousand years,
and a thousand years as one day.
—1 Peter 2:8
What that means to me is that even though I may think it’s taking too long to see the Lord’s will in my life right now, that doesn’t mean He isn’t already working things out.
This is exactly the time for me to keep on praying while waiting and trusting. How about you?
I’ve been doing a personal study of the Psalms and read this one the other day. Psalm 29 is filled with David’s appropriately magnificent praise to our awesome Lord. He is Holy, powerful and majestic, ruling the universe with glory and strength. The Lord—the great I AM—reigns as King forever!
A psalm of David.
1 Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings;
honor the Lord for his glory and strength.
2 Honor the Lord for the glory of his name.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
3 The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea.
The God of glory thunders.
The Lord thunders over the mighty sea.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
5 The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars;
the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf;
he makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord strikes
with bolts of lightning.
8 The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks
and strips the forests bare.
In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”
10 The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
The Lord reigns as king forever.
11 The Lord gives his people strength.
The Lord blesses them with peace.