The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I give thanks to Him in song. (Psalm 28:7)
I used this Scripture with a couple in counseling and they asked me to write down my thoughts. It’s an expanded meditation on a single verse that might help you personally or in helping others. Used also in “Christ is Everything to His Followers” and prison work. I number phrases for ease of discussion. Notice the progression in the five phrases.
1. The LORD is my strength and my shield. Christ takes the offensive in spiritual warfare and is our defender too. No matter what ups and downs we face, Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He helps us overcome internal struggles (depression, anxiety, doubt, temptation) and external attacks (from Satan and the world). When we are weak, Jesus gives us some of His almighty strength and His loving presence surrounds us like a shield. LORD (all capitals) translates God’s most personal Old Testament name (YHWH in Hebrew) and Christ’s followers have sweet personal fellowship with the Creator and Upholder of the universe. Since King Jesus is my strength and my shield, what can I be afraid of?
Prayer: Lord, energize us and protect us from all harm. Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil and the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
2. My heart trusts in Him. Christian faith involves our whole personality—mind, heart, and will—knowing, being, and doing. In our mind, we believe what the Lord reveals of Himself in the Bible; we know the Christ we are committing to follow; we understand the facts of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and promised return. In our heart, we have inner conviction that the gospel story is true, right, historical and that Jesus’ work saves us personally and brings us into His family. In our will (choices and decisions), we commit to trusting and obeying Christ (the Person) as our Lord and Savior. If this seems too technical, remember Frances Havergal’s hymn:
Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand, Never foe can follow, Never traitor stand; Not a surge of worry, Not a shade of care, Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there. Stayed upon Lord Jesus, hearts are fully blessed, Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.
Trusting Christ means I can relax, rest, and lean on His everlasting arms. He is so good and loving that He wants the best for us; so wise that He knows the best for us; so strong that He does the best for us. Christ is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. What a Savior!
Prayer: Lord, we do trust you, help us trust you more and better. You are absolutely trustworthy. Take away our doubts and help us overcome our practical unbelief. Help us to prove that we trust you by replacing anxiety with prayer and thanksgiving, presenting our requests to you.
3. I am helped. Notice, as we recognize who Christ is (#1 above) and trust Him (#2 above), He befriends and boosts us; heals and helps us; rescues and retrieves us; saves, sanctifies, supports, and sustains us. A Civil War soldier wrote to his captain: “I knew that wherever I was that you thought of me, and if I got in a tight place you would come, if you were alive.” Jesus is the Friend who sticks closer than a brother, who is risen, never to die again, and who gives us mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. We are always on His mind and the past, present, and future belong to Christ our Commander-in-Chief, so how can we panic?
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!
Prayer: Lord, our help comes from you, the Maker and Master of heaven and earth. Help us run to you first, not last. Help us not to try our own way first, only turning to you as the last resort. That doesn’t honor you and it hurts us. Help us not to be foolish and get it backwards.
4. My heart leaps for joy. When we remember how many times the Lord has heard us and delivered us from troubles, we are genuinely cheered. When we recall how He has come close when we’ve been brokenhearted and saved us when we were crushed in spirit, we really do rejoice. So we must never forget all His benefits or take our Lord for granted. Forgetting Jesus’ goodness causes our gladness to shrivel; remembering His kindness to us swells our joy.
Prayer: I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praises to your name, Most High. The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. Jesus, help me to keep on seeking you.
5. I will give thanks to Him in song. Christ paid our the eternal debt (His death instead of ours) for our rebellion against God; Christ ransomed us 2,000 years ago to make us His followers now. Christ makes us precious to God, with infinite significance, value, worth, and He treasures us. So how can I be ungrateful? How can I fail to adore Him with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, at home and at church? A metrical paraphrase Psalm 100 begins like this:
All people that on earth do dwell, Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice. Serve Him with mirth; His praise forth tell; Come now before Him and rejoice.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you turn my wailing into dancing; you remove my sackcloth and clothe me with joy. Make my heart sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, help me to give you thanks forever and make your gospel attractive to people who do not yet know you and obey you. Amen.
Go in peace, beloved. Walk with King Jesus today and be a blessing to others!