11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
12 For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
The imagery of God’s protection in this Psalm is unmistakable. I love the picture painted here in the last two verses – taking refuge in God, having Him spread His protection over us, and being surrounded with His favor “like a shield.”
Our response to this safety is joy. It’s the relief felt when you narrowly miss a car accident, the comfort of a parent’s voice, the calm after the storm. We are grateful for God’s guarding guidance on our path. And so often we are unaware of the security He gives to us. I’ve noticed in my life that the scary, painful times often lead me to appreciate God’s provision in the good times. No, God doesn’t cause the bad things, but if life was perfect what need would I have of a Savior?
When I have a nasty paper cut on my finger that stings whenever I move my hand, I give thanks that my hands are generally whole and pain-free. When my sinuses are filled with pressure I praise God for my usual good health. And even in the pain of losing my children, I appreciate the gift of having them in my life for a moment.
David’s words in this Psalm are no different. While these two verses end it, the rest is a cry for help, begging God to defend him in the face of evil. His gratitude and joy flow out of fear and sorrow. How often that happens in life! Thanks be to God that we will one day rejoice and give thanks without the tears and pain!