"But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head." - Psalm 3:3
"How many foes arise against me," cried David. I feel the same! Every day, the path to holiness carries me through enemy territory. Even worse are the foes within my own heart: irritability, unkindness, lust, laziness, procrastination, anger, lovelessness, etc. The foes without beckon to the foes within, and together they form an unholy alliance against my progress along this path.
"BUT YOU..." What a wonderful word is that disjunction - "BUT!" Were it not for the Lord's protective shield, I would certainly fall. God guides me through this enemy territory, this hostile land, with protection from the enemies both without and within. In terms of the former, He openly declares His intention to "put a hedge around me, my household, and everything I have." To paraphrase Satan's indignant and frustrated accusation in Job 1:10, Satan says, "I can't get at him, God- your hedge is too strong!" Exactly! That's the whole point! God has openly declared His intention to filter through those temptations He'll allow to come to us, and those He won't allow. Such a filtering prerogative and intention is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13: "No temptation has overcome you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
"God has openly declared His intention to filter through those temptations He'll allow to come to us, and those He won't allow."
The words "he will not allow" show a clear determination on God's part to filter the temptations Satan would bring against you, so that you are able (with His help) to make progress along the path of "obedience, which leads to righteousness" (Rom. 6:16). Without that shield, Satan (who studies and knows our weaknesses and natural inclinations... perhaps he even keeps records of our sins, both for future accusations and future temptations) would be able to crush us under a torrent of temptations that would be too strong for us to withstand. Without that shield, we would surely lose everything we value in this world, and our character would be soiled beyond our own ability to recover. We would be, according to the Apostle Paul, "disqualified" (1 Cor. 9:27) from future usefulness in ministry to our Lord Jesus Christ.
If Satan couldn't tempt us successfully, he would just as soon destroy us physically. He'd rather kill us and send us to our heavenly reward, than to see us continue to steal people from his wicked kingdom by leading them to faith in Christ. So, like David here in Psalm 3, we would see ourselves beset by physical enemies - people who work to destroy us, perhaps even kill us. But until we have "served God's purpose in our own generation" (paraphrasing Paul's words about King David in Acts 13), we are carefully shielded by God. Thanks be to God for His protective, shielding care!