But you o Lord are a shield about me, my glory and the one who lifts my head. I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. Psalm 3:3-4
I like to break scripture down word by word sometimes. I usually end up coming away from that with a much clearer picture of what the scripture is really saying, sometimes a completely different point than what I'd always thought. I'm not a Bible scholar, I don't know Hebrew or Greek – I just use a Strong's Concordance with Greek/Hebrew references. Usually I use the online version at biblestudytools.com (in case you want to check up on me or dig in yourself). I also use Packer & Tenney Illustrated Manners & Customs of the Bible for some background information. I chose that particular reference for one very important reason – it was the only book of that type on my bookshelf and over the years I've grown comfortable with it.
Even if it seems silly, I still look up almost every word. More often than not I've found the definition I've grown accustomed to no longer means the same as it did in these early writings.
Now that we have all the disclaimers out of the way, here goes!!
Shield – to defend, cover, surround
There were mainly 2 types of shields used during this time – one was a smaller, lighter shield
allowing the fighters to maneuver quickly and easily- think; Captain America.
The other was a large, rectangular shield which covered the entire body – think; A Door.
These shields were large and heavy, making it difficult for soldiers to maneuver quickly or easily and often required a shield bearer to go ahead of them to provide covering.
About – behind, through, round about, on behalf of
- through = as an action
- behind = in a sense of shutting
- about = in a sense of fencing
Glory – honor, abundance, splendor, dignity, reputation with a sense of heaviness or weightiness
Lifts - to be set on high, raised, exalted, set up
Crying – call out (with the name of God), to give name to, be named with a sense of encounter or meeting
Answered – respond, testify, respond as a witness with a sense of dwelling, to sing or utter tunefully
Holy – apartness, sacred, dedicated, hallowed, consecrated
Now....to insert these definitions into these verses.......
But you o Lord are a shield (a surrounding cover of defense) about me (as a fence) my glory (my honor, dignity & reputation) and the one who lifts (sets up, exalts & raises) my head. I was crying (calling you by name to meet me) to the Lord with my voice and He answered (responded, testified, sang) me from His holy (sacred, consecrated, dedicated) mountain.
When I cry out to the Lord intending for Him to meet me where I am, He responds! He doesn't respond in a panicked or terrified or uncertain voice. To utter or speak in tune paints a picture of a God who is not freaked out by my situation, or afraid of what ever it is that has terrified me. He meets me there and sets up a shield that will fully cover and protect me. In doing so He exalts me, He raises me up above the panic, the pain, and the situation. He becomes the protector, source and the entirety of my dignity and honor and my reputation.
In my opinion, NOBODY sings this song like The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir!!