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Praying

The other day I was reading through Psalm 3 and it really spoke to my heart. I offer this word of encouragement to you today in hopes that it helps refocus your faith. King David wrote this Psalm at a time when he faced many troubles from within his own family. His son, Absalom, had determined to overthrow David as king and usurp the kingship to take it as his own, but his bold move came with violence. David was forced to combat his son’s act of rebellion with violence in his own defense. David was discouraged and grieved, knowing the inevitable outcome of those events. There could only be one king.

We all face times when it feels like troubling circumstances rise up against us. The many negative voices of worry, unbelief, betrayal, fear, anger, doubt or grief amplify the feeling of being overwhelmed, sometimes even to the point where our emotions lie to us and tell us, there is no help from God.

Sometimes we think to ourselves, “God, where are you? Where is my help? Why am I going through this, and why do you seem so far away?”

Our emotions will lie to us. When I was feeling discouraged and defeated, it came strong in my spirit that my emotions were lying to me. When we are in a state of discouragement or depression, it’s incredibly difficult to perceive the truth because our emotions are working against us. That is why it is important to be able to separate ourselves from our feelings and take a logical approach to overcome negative thoughts bombarding our minds. If our emotions are lying to us, then we cannot measure truth by the way we feel. What then can we trust? The WORD of GOD. Jesus is the Word. He is holy and without any darkness or deception. “God cannot lie when he makes a promise, and he cannot lie when he makes an oath. These things encourage us who came to God for safety. They give us strength to hold on to the hope we have been given.” Hebrews 6:18

Let me direct your attention to Psalm 3 and then I will show you how God spoke through His word to bring encouragement to me. If it encouraged me, it can do the same for you, too!

Psalm 3

Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!

Many are they who rise up against me.

Many are they who say of me,

“There is no help for him in God.” Selah

But You, O Lord, are a shield [a]for me,

My glory and the One who lifts up my head.

I cried to the Lord with my voice,

And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah

I lay down and slept;

I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.

I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people

Who have set themselves against me all around.

Arise, O Lord;

Save me, O my God!

For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone;

You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.

Salvation belongs to the Lord.

Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah

In the very place where we see the first selah (at the end of verse 2), the psalmist has spoken out of his raw emotions and said, “Many have said, “there is no help for him in God.” Selah. Oh, how many voices clamor for our attention! This word, selah, means ‘pause and reflect.’ In other words, stop and consider what you just said. Are your words aligned with faith, or unbelief? Reconsider what you’ve been thinking and rehearsing. In the very next line, it’s as though David did reconsider the direction of his conversation and decided to hit autocorrect. Selah is a word often used as a musical interlude, but it also has another meaning that suggests it is an instinctive response to the awe and wonder of God, whereby the individual makes their praise louder.  

Change your conversation and it will shift your emotions, because faith comes by hearing, and reminding yourself to hear the faithfulness of the word of God. You must speak it out of your mouth! I have been in such a pit at times that I could barely muster the effort to speak words of faith, and my faith had not risen to meet the challenge. Yet, I put my hope in God and persevered until my heart and emotions adjusted to believe the word of God. Persevere! Faith will rise if you continue to wage war against the unbelief! “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who put their trust in Him.” Psalm 18:30.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.” Psalm 46:1

The next stanza of the psalm declares that You, O God, are a shield for me. That word in the Strong’s Concordance is #4043, magen or megginah. In the NAS Exhaustive concordance, it’s the Hebrew word origin from ganan, also meaning shield. It has several associated definitions which include these thoughts:

a)      Armed, as in a warrior armed for combat.

b)      Buckler, also known as a shield bearer or one that protects their fighting companion.

c)      Large.

d)      Scales, likened to the scales of a crocodile.

e)      To make slippery, as in being rubbed with oil so that the enemy’s arrows would slide off the anointed shield.

f)       A treasure.

All of these definitions are meaningful because they define what the Lord is to us. God made a promise to Abraham in Genesis 15:1 when He said, “I am your shield and exceedingly great reward.” This is a promise for us, too.

The blood of Christ is a shield.

God’s promises make up our shield.

His covenant with us is a shield.

His righteousness imputed to us is a shield.

God’s love and mercy is a shield.

The joy of the Lord is a shield.

Worship is a shield.

The prayers of the saints are a shield.

When we delight ourselves in the Lord, He is our shield.

He is our shield, our protector and defender. He is our Man of War. Make it personal, He is your Man of War! He is your fighting companion, you have not been abandoned in the middle of a fight. He is large and provides a big shield! His shield is likened to the impenetrable scales of a crocodile, and nothing can actually harm us as long as our shield of faith is up. Psalm 23 says He sets a bountiful table for us. In the middle of whatever we are going through, God forces our enemies to sit back and watch as He blesses us with food from His word, and comfort and assurance of His tender love towards us. It’s His grace that keeps us safe. Psalm 23:5 also tells us that God anoints us in the presence of our enemies, and our cup is filled to overflowing. That is abundance. Abundance is not limited to finances. Abundance includes peace, comfort, assurance and many other intangible treasures. To anoint something means it was usually smeared with fragrant oil. This was done for a variety of purposes. In ancient times, shields were anointed or rubbed with oil to make it slippery so that arrows launched towards them would slide off. The Holy Spirit sets us apart as a consecrated vessel and anoints us as an act of ownership to the Lord Jesus, and it’s the anointing that teaches us His ways. The sick are anointed with oil as an act of faith that releases the power of God to heal. Anointing the head was also a means of welcoming a traveler and to provide a refreshing, which came from the fragrances of the herbs and spices used to make the soothing oil. Anointing was also used to empower people for witnessing and service to the Lord. This means that we are supernaturally empowered for a specific role or purpose, and we are upheld by the Lord’s victorious right hand, according to Isaiah 41:10. Remember, Jesus has already won the victory, so don’t let the enemy’s lies try to tell you there is no help from God! We are anointedempowered and equipped to overcome any battle.

He is my glory and the lifter of my head. The word glory means abundance, wealth, riches, to be honored, but it also means to be held in His bosom. This is where we can draw close enough to find peace and rest our head, a place of feeling safe and secure. He holds us in our weariness and refreshes our soul. This is why the Lord is the One who lifts our head. He is our encourager. He lifts up our chin to focus on HIM rather than the problems at hand so that we can remember we are seated in heavenly places next to Him. We are above all the demonic spirits that make war against us, seated in Christ in a place of triumph, but you must dig the treasure out of the word in order to “see Jesus” and get the revelation found in His word. This is how God grows His children in wisdom and knowledge to mature their faith.

I cried to the Lord and He heard me. There’s another selah. Pause. Think about it. Jesus said He knows His sheep. He listens for our voice and He hears us. Even when we may feel alone because we can’t sense His presence, He is right there with us. His promise is that He will never leave us or abandon us. He would not be a good shepherd if He left his flock to fight for themselves. Sheep have no defense. They are completely at the mercy of their shepherd.

Moving into verses 5 and 6, it says “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.” He is our peace and our sustainer.  “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves all around me.” The Lord is our confidence. Declare it out loud: Lord, you are my confidence.

In the last stanza we see that God is our salvation because He gives us room to breathe. He is our deliverer and our man of war. He is our rescuer, and our blessing.

Friend, I want you to know that no matter what you are dealing with, God is your strength and a very present help in time of need. When God wants to increase your anointing, He gives you a problem. It’s the crushing, the stripping away of self and the determination to adopt Christlike behavior during wrestling with your flesh that increases the anointing in your life. Our wrestling is to crucify our flesh when it protests and wants to demand its own way. God always sends a pressure test to see where we need more refinement. He knows what the stress test will expose, but we need to recognize the poor responses that are still inside of us and offer them to Him. We must renounce agreements with spirits of darkness and repent of behaviors that are of our old nature, so that Christ can be formed in us. We must decrease so that He can increase. This can only occur when we surrender our right to be right and give up our right to feel offended with God or others. The enemy looks for ways to shipwreck our life, reputation and ministry. He can use a lot of things to discourage our faith, but in the midst of the problem Satan’s goal is often to bring us into agreement with a spirit of accusation. That is the thing that will actually stop the forward movement of releasing us into destiny. When we are hurt, angry or frustrated over a situation, we often look for someone to blame. Blaming someone else causes us to feel justified in our attitudes or decisions, but it’s the trap the enemy wants us to fall into. If we are judging someone else, or entertaining accusation towards God, it’s pride. Mercy triumphs over judgment. Satan knows we are less likely to put it all on the altar and let God deal with our attitudes, but that is what will cause us to be in alignment with a spirit of accusation, which is rebellion towards God. Always check your heart. Is the accuser maligning God or someone else in your thoughts? Are you aligned with the accuser? God wants us to buy gold and be refined through the fiery trials. The only way out of that pit and back on the road of forward progress is through repentance, surrender, and forgiveness. God wants the gold to be produced in us, because then we have something valuable to share with others. It’s the answers they need to be able to pass the tests in their own lives. People are desperate to know, “How did you get through that trial? What brought it to an end?” The answers will certainly be humility, surrender, confession and repentance. Remember, as much as Job endured, it was his prayers for others that released a double portion of restoration!

The more we worship, the more oil is released, making our shield even more slippery so that the enemy’s fiery darts slide off us like water off a duck’s back. Those darts can’t find a place to latch onto us because we learn to guard our hearts with all diligence. As we are changed, we take on more strength and produce God’s attributes in our intercession for others. He makes us into what He is, a shield and an umbrella of protection for others through our intercession. We are those warriors armed for war. Let us take back our dominion and move to higher ground. Amen.

One Comment

    • Linda Ilias

    • 3 months ago

    Wow, how powerful!!! What INCREDIBLE insight! Thank you Laura! I need to reread this bc there’s so much to digest! I can’t tell you how much this speaks to my heart! ♥️

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