Fear can be a very reasonable emotion, especially if one is beset by thousands of people on every side. I can only imagine the stress of David’s life. Every external factor should suggest to David that he should fear, yet these external factors do not rule in the inward peace. David desires to be delivered from his external circumstances, but his attitude is not contingent on them. Surrounded by enemies, God is his shield, so he will not fear.
Easier said than done. But if we are to believe the Psalmist, we are to believe that fear does not have the final say regardless of your external circumstances. When David says ‘Salvation belongs to the Lord’, he surrenders his control over the physical environment and political circumstances of Israel. He enjoys peace amongst chaos because his inner life is shielded by God. His retreat behind that shield is a renunciation of his own power, a surrender of ability to affect the external world filled with threats. His cunning, power, persuasion, military prowess and personality are not his shield against the suffering coming his way. Salvation belongs to the Lord, not David. Only God can bring peace amid suffering, for God is the only impenetrable shield.
Meditation: Count your sufferings in this life. These can be external, like a job or kids. They can also be sinful desires and actions, those things which, whenever you are reminded of them, bring you to repentance. See those as the army surrounding you, baying for blood. Imagine their attacks clanging off of Christ who defends you, and think what it would be like to feel peace in the middle of a battlefield like that, because your God stands in front of you.
Lord, how my foes increase!
There are many who attack me.
Many say about me,
“There is no help for him in God.”
But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.
I cry aloud to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain. Selah
I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me.
I will not be afraid of thousands of people who have taken their stand against me on every side.
Rise up, Lord!psalm iii (csb)
Save me, my God!
You strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the Lord;
may your blessing be on your people.