David, as God’s Annointed One, expects
and yet still implores God
to shield him from his enemies.
The horror of internecine warfare
shakes the kingdom,
but David sleeps in confidence
that God watches over him
and the nation.
The Psalm is generally headed “of David, fleeing from Absalom” but there is no real proof that this is so. It is suitable for use by a nation facing civil war, by a nation facing invasion, or by anyone under any kind of attack, like Job. I use it against my personal demons.
The Psalm can be interpreted as answering the question of deliverance. [Goldingay, John. Psalms, v.1. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic, c2006] Though sources call it “praises”, it begins with a lament. But the praise begins soon, with the wonderful image as God as a shield. The Psalm gives us the example of crying out to God and that he answers. Because of this assurance, we can sleep at night, knowing that we are under His care. I pictured someone wearing one of those “No Fear” t-shirts for the next verses, and remembered the 23rd Psalm. Giving the enemy a slap on the jaw implies humiliating him and the smashing of his teeth gives the image of rendering him harmless [literally toothless].
The theology of this short Psalm is enormous, however. The poet cries, “Deliver me, my God!” But God will answer with His judgment and in His time. You might not be the wronged party, though you think you are. The lesson here is that you have given the fate of your enemy into the hands of God, for God to judge. Once that is done, you let go of the worry and can sleep in assurance.
For those who are journaling with me, I chose to paint a simple shield shape, of mixed browns, looking sort of beat up. Then in more brown, I painted “GOD” on it. You could use the same idea and paint a cross on the shield. Or, choose a different shield: here are 2 YouTube choices