“But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.” (Psalm 3:3)
Where are you looking at the moment?
If you are reading this, then you are probably looking at your computer, or a device of some kind, or another format for reading this text. But what about at other times? Where do your eyes go by default? Where do you look without thinking?
I find myself tending to look down.
That’s not just because I have a tendency towards being somewhat pessimistic (although that is probably true). I tend to look down because I focus on where I am. I look at my feet and focus on the present moment and present location. My eyes drift downward to where I am.
I am guessing David was in a similar situation as he wrote Psalm 3. He is fleeing for his life from his own son Absalom. The opening lines confess how many foes he has surrounding him and how many people are rising up against him. It’s a cry of someone who is looking at the present situation and present troubles. It’s the cry of someone looking down.
Then in verse 3, David turns to God and affirms what God is like. “You are a shield around me,” says David. He may have foes surrounding him, but God his shield is surrounding him even closer.
“You bestow glory on my and lift up my head.” What God does for David, even in the midst of trouble, is lift up his head. It is as if God gently takes hold of David’s chin and raises his gaze upward. He takes David’s face and turns it from the ground and brings it up.
In lifting his head, God raises David’s spirits. He moves him from being downcast and despondent to being positive and joyful. But lifting David’s head does something else. It moves his gaze from himself and his feet onto God and His face. It moves his gaze from the present and here-and-now, to the future and what God has in store.
God is the lifter of our heads. He brings us glory and honour, he brings us esteem and value. He lifts our gaze from ourselves and on to him. He moves our focus from the current situation to where he is taking us.
Are you looking down at the moment? It’s quite understandable and it’s important to know where we are and what’s going on. But it’s not where our focus should linger. Instead we need to allow God to lift our head and bring our gaze up, to look on his face and look forward to where he is taking us.