What Is Your Crown?

Yael Eckstein  |  June 21, 2020

A bejeweled crown against a red background.

I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. — Psalm 16:8

In honor of my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and his lifework helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, I offer you one of his devotional teachings from the beloved Psalms.

You can tell a lot about a person just by looking at the hat he or she is wearing. For example, a construction worker’s hat tells us that he is a builder, while a baseball helmet reveals that person enjoys sports. But then there are the “invisible” hats we wear. At times, we don the hat of a parent; other times we wear the hat of a businessperson. Our hats, both physical and symbolic, define our roles. But there is one hat that defines our deepest beliefs — the crown of God.

Psalm 16 begins with an unusual word. It starts, “A miktam of David.” What exactly is a miktam? Even the Jewish sages had a hard time understanding the term. Some defined it as a musical term similar to other terms that appear at the beginning of many psalms. Others suggested that it means a poem, while some thought a miktam is something a person would always carry with them. Another opinion suggested that a miktam is a crown.

Let’s explore the idea that Psalm 16 is David’s miktam — his spiritual crown, one that he never took off and which accompanied him wherever he would go. Like many hats, David’s spiritual crown defined his identity and directed his actions. But this crown was not made of silver, gold, or precious gemstones. David’s crown was woven with the words of this psalm — words that expressed his deepest beliefs and convictions; words that he lived by every moment of his life.

Every day, we are confronted with many decisions. Those decisions can be as mundane as “what should I eat?” or more significant decisions like “where should I live?” Then there are the more difficult decisions when we have to choose between right and wrong, and the decision is not always easy. In verse 8 the psalmist wrote, “I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Every decision that David made was in the context of God’s will, and because of that, he was able to choose “right” every time and never be shaken.

Jewish tradition teaches that David read this psalm over and over again throughout his life because it reminded him of what he believed and what he stood for. He took these words with him wherever he would go. Psalm 16 was King David’s most valuable crown.

We don’t need to be a queen or king to wear such a crown. We each must form a crown for ourselves created from our faith and convictions. Think of a psalm or Bible verse that reflects your own faith and walk with God. Then commit to “wearing” that belief as your crown, taking it wherever you go and allowing it to guide and dictate your actions and thoughts. As we each do that, we will truly become part of God’s royal family.

Your turn: What is the crown you are wearing today? Share your answer below.

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