What’s the relationship between sorrow and sagging? When was our countenance wired to fall as a response to becoming aware of our failure? Why, when we’re despondent, does the chin droop? How come the neck naturally bends forward when bad things happen? Where’s the connection between a heavy heart and the need to stare at our feet? Don’t know. You’d almost think there’s a physiological cause-and-effect between feeling down and the ability to hold your head up.
But what I do know, what I was reminded of this morning as I read the third Psalm, is who can lift the head.
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
(Psalm 3:3-4 ESV)
Jehovah, the Existing One, is the One we can know as The Lifter of My Head.
David was on the run from his son, Absalom. Apart from fearing for his life, there was enough shame and blame to deal with as he thought of what he could have done, and should have done, to have avoided this mess. He could draw a pretty straight line between the current dysfunction in his home and his failure to deal with past sin in his home (2Sam. 13-15). And He didn’t have to think too long and hard before reminding himself that his failure to act was tied to his failure to have led by example. Bathsheba an ever present reminder of his own moral shortcoming and compromise (2Sam. 11-12). Uriah’s grave always whispering, “Who are you to insist your kids take the high road?”
So now, as he flees from Absalom his son, as his enemies rise against him, as the doubts surface questioning if God is still for him, David cries out to the LORD. With intense stress and struggle causing his chin to attach itself firmly to his chest, David calls out to The Lifter of My Head.
And his head is lifted.
He’s reminded that his failure has been dealt with by God’s gracious provision. That God does not deal with us according to our sins, but according to His steadfast love toward those who fear Him. That “as far as the east is from the west so far does He remove our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:10-12).
He recalls that his future had been determined by God’s unfailing promise. That he had been promised a throne. That God had said He would establish his kingdom and that He would make his house forever sure (2Sam. 7:16). And that the promise was not founded on who David was, but on what God had determined to do (2Sam. 7:18). It’s prevailing power independent of what David did and assured because of who God is.
He regains his equilibrium as he knows again the strengthening of the inner man through God’s ever abiding presence. That the LORD is a shield about him–an ever present help in time of need. That salvation belongs to the LORD–salvation in the past, salvation for the future, and salvation sufficient to deal with the circumstance of the present.
And the shoulders pull back. The neck straightens up. The chin comes off the chest. And his eyes look heavenward as The Lifter of My Head lifts his head.
“Written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).
Such is the abundant and abiding grace of the One we can call The Lifter of My Head.
And with faces He as turned heavenward, we’ll give Him all the glory.