David says “I will not be afraid” in Psalm 3:6 and yet the circumstance in which he wrote was certainly the soil in which ungodly fear most naturally thrives. He was running from his own son Absalom who was attempting to take the kingdom from David his father. David had “adversaries” (v. 1), they were “many,” they had “increased” (v. 1) and they had “set themselves against” David “round about” him (v. 6). In spite of all this David could say “ I will not be afraid” of these enemies. In fact, he puts a number on the many who had increased against him: “ten thousands of people” (v. 6). What could possibly sustain David and enable him to have this sure confidence in the middle of such a deadly seemingly out of control situation? The truths that are revealed in verses 3-5 are truths that can sustain us in the face of our enemies or in the face of any circumstance in which there seems to be no possible human delivery.
First, David recognized that the LORD was a “shield about me” (v. 3). In Psalm 139:5 David said this: “You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.” David could face his enemies because God was a shield about him. If you have trusted in Christ alone for your salvation then the same God who was a shield to David is your shield. When we fear in the face of enemies or circumstances we show our trust is in ourselves not God who is our shield.
Second, David recognized that any future glory that he was to receive would come from God not people. Therefore, he did not have to worry about that glory coming about because it was not dependent upon people around him but upon the LORD his shield around him. When we fear people or circumstances we show that our trust for future glory is in people and things and circumstances. But in actuality, the glory that is rightly ours by God’s grace in Christ is not dependent upon people or circumstances. It is dependent upon God’s grace. Consider what Peter says:
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:6-9).
David had it right, the LORD was his glory and the one who “lifts my head’ (v. 6). We get in trouble when we depend on ourselves or others to lift our head. God will do that for the humble at the right time. We do not have to fear.
Third, David did not have to fear because he was crying to the LORD during this difficulty. And David knew this: “He answered me from His holy mountain” (v. 5). In other words, David did not have to fear because God heard and answered and did so from His “holy mountain.” David was confident that the LORD would answer from the place of His revealed presence among the people of Israel, Jerusalem and what was at this point still the Tabernacle. But notice that it is from the LORD’s “holy” mountain. No matter what we face we can be confident that God hears and answers from His holiness. His response to us will never be tainted with sin and it will always be an answer that is in keeping with His majesty as God. He will answer according to His holiness of purity and His holiness of majesty therefore come what may we need not fear.
Fourth, David did not have to fear because even when he slept God did something. Before we consider what that was, notice that David did sleep! He is surrounded by enemies that are increasing. When you are the king and you are on the run in your own kingdom, things are not looking good. In such a situation sleep is not exactly on the priority list or even an easy task unless something supernatural is taking place in your heart. The only way David could sleep in all of this was because He was at rest in God who was His shield, who was His glory, and who heard and answered from His holy mountain. And while David slept he was convinced of this: “the LORD sustains me.” We would do well to live our awake hours like we necessary have to live our asleep hours-dependent upon the LORD alone. The difference is we must choose to consciously acknowledge that we are dependent upon the LORD alone even when we are awake and making necessary choices. There is no need to fear, God sustains you when you sleep and when you are awake.
You may not be a king on the run (I highly doubt you are!), but you may be aware that you have enemies or that the circumstance in front of you right now feels like your animate enemy. If you are the LORD you need not fear: He is your shield, He is your glory, He hears and answers from His holy mountain, and even when you are asleep He is sustaining you. Fear not what is in front of or all around you, fear the One who takes away all fear.