For the month of August, I have taken on the invitation of reading through the book of Psalms in the Bible. I’m using the YouVersion reading plan – you can find a reading plan for yourself, if you want.
As I’ve been on this journey this month, I’m struck by the words of David in the early chapters. He is writing a lot about needing someone to come to his defense. He’s on the run. He’s got adversaries all around amidst the challenging moments and circumstances he’s facing. You can see by his words, his distress – you can feel the emotions he’s battling.
I’m struck by my own outlook when I encounter such opposition. I might struggle with the same feelings of difficulty, but I seem to stir myself up for action. I try to push back. I’m usually on a quick path to clear my name, challenge the accusations and come to my own defense.
Ever wonder why that is?
Why are we so quick to look to ourselves to fight back?
Now, here comes the weird transition that is my brain – it made me think of an Atari game. I know this next statement is going to date myself, but I’m prepared for the fallout: Space Invaders.
Even if you haven’t seen this game – you’ve seen many like it. There is this line of adversaries approaching you. You’re left to defend yourself against incredible odds. You hide behind things to block their artillery and you fire off your own.
But, the feelings of isolation and despair increase as the opponents approach all the closer and your energy, battle strategy and fortitude wanes.
What strikes me about David in these early passages, is his vision. Sure he sees his opponents attacks. He even points them out. But his vision isn’t near-sighted or locked in on only that. His vision is broader and bigger than his adversary alone.
He doesn’t rush to become his only line of defense. He looks to someone BIGGER to be his ultimate defender. He continually calls out to God, to come to his defense. He trusts his actions and re-actions in the moment to someone other than himself. We live in a world that preaches self-defense and that is appropriate, but is it all? If you and I are always the ones defending, than any sense of rescue is never experienced. And there is great encouragement, beauty and relief in a rescue. When God rescues – He gets bigger to me. If I never give him the permission to rescue me, I keep Him away and I only feed my craving for independence. And I tend to get tired, alone and defeated.
When we can get to a place of leaning on God to be our defender we can ultimately rest in the midst of strife. We are not alone. Putting your trust in God, while in the middle of the struggle, is a well placed faith. That is courageous. It is also very freeing.
God is a shield around those that look to him. He is the ultimate defender.
From the LORD comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people. ~Psalm 3:8
How does it change your outlook, to see God as your defender?