Were you ever bullied? It seems like most people have been at some point in their lives. My bullying happened in elementary school. It was not devastating or violent, just ongoing. Most days on the playground, someone would call me a name related to my weight. One boy was particularly fond of calling me “Tubbo.”
But then, I changed. In 8th grade, I decided I didn’t want to be fat anymore. I started running. When I got to high school, I joined the cross country team. I loved it. I still was not “skinny,” but I was no longer fat. I was healthy.
I had a new identity: I was a runner.
But then there was a moment when it all came back. It happened while I was running a race my senior year. There was a boys team from another school doing their warm ups on the field next to the course. One of them made a comment about putting weight limits on cross country uniforms, and all of them laughed. I had been laughed at before, but this time, it was different. It was a group. And it was after I was secure in my new identity. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stop running and punch them, or run harder and prove them wrong. I was sure I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide.
I thought I had a new identity. But yet, old foes, many foes, came back.
David was familiar with foes. His, though, were more dangerous. He was a shepherd who was chosen by God to be king before the old king was off the throne. So, he spent a lot of time on the run. King Saul was, understandably, threatened by the future King David. So, he tried to kill him. Many times. But eventually, King Saul was taken from power and David did become king. He was no longer a future king. David was the sitting king. He had a new identity.
Except that even with his new identity, David's time spent running from foes was not over. One day, it came back. In a worse form than before. This time, it was his son Absalom who rose up against David. Absalom wanted the throne. David had to run for his life again, this time, from his own flesh and blood.
When David was on the run this second time, he wrote Psalm 3.
LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.”
But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain. – Psalm 3:1-4
David could have felt secure in himself. He had a tremendous history of achievements. He was a rich and powerful king. But, David was secure in his identity as king not because he was so great at it, but because he knew it was the Lord who had given him that identity. It was the Lord who had lifted his head high. It was to the Lord that glory belonged. And therefore, it was in the words of the Lord he would trust. It was the Lord who would be his shield.
When David was surrounded by foes, he did not say, “But I…” He could have. He could have said, “But I am the king. You are wrong.” No, He said, “But you, Lord…”
How many are my foes…. but you, Lord…
We face many foes in this life. Sometimes we get breaks from their torments, but they usually come back. Sometimes the foes are the voices or actions of others. Sometimes they are the voices in our own head. When we face these foes, let’s follow the example of David. Let’s root our identity in who God says we are.
How many are my foes… but you, Lord…
Say that I am chosen. (1 Peter 2:9) Say that I am loved. (Colossians 3:12) Say that I am forgiven. (Ephesians 1:7) Say that I am a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Say that I am Your child. (Galatians 3:26-28) Say that I am Your handiwork. (Ephesians 2:10) Say that I have gifts and a purpose. (Ephesians 2:10)
How many are my foes... But you, Lord, are a shield around me.
How has the Lord been a shield for you?
*Photo Credit: Trix0r from Flickr.com Creative Commons