For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly
It was a bright, sunny day at the beach, a perfect day to relax and read. Yet the glare of the sun was so intense my sunglasses weren't enough to block its powerful rays. As I shielded my eyes, Psalm 84:11 came to mind, "The Lord God is a sun and a shield" (a beautiful promise for God's children).
I wondered, though, how could God be a sun and a shield? It seemed incompatible. As I thought about it, I realized the Psalmist gives us a clue as to the meaning from the second part of the verse, "The Lord will give grace and glory . . ."
The earth's sun brings light and life to the world. Likewise, God brings light and life to those who trust in him.
God is holy—he is pure, faultless, and without sin. In Scripture, His glory-presence is often depicted in light and fire and is associated with his judgment (Deut. 4:24; Ps. 21:8-9; Heb. 12:29), as well as a sign of His holiness and covenant with his people (Gen. 15:17, Ex. 3:2-5). When Moses received the law, it was atop a fiery mountain (Ex 19:16ff). And when he asked to see God's glory, the Lord said, "You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." Yet, what did God do for Moses? He shielded him when He passed by (Ex. 33:18-23).
In the New Testament, before Jesus began his earthly ministry, John the Baptist called people to turn from their sins. He said that Jesus would baptize his followers "with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Mt. 3:11). John called Jesus the true light (Jn. 1:9). Jesus himself said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (Jn 8:12).
As the earth's sun exposes darkness, God's glory-presence exposes sin: "(The Lord) will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts" (I Co 4:5).
When we are in Christ, God shines his light into the dark, stained-with-sin recesses of our hearts and minds, exposing and cleansing our sin, yet we're not destroyed. Why? Because Jesus' death on the cross shields us from God's wrath. "Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God" (Ro. 5:9).
Today's verse holds a promise too, "No good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly." Friends, we can only be upright, that is "blameless," when our sins have been forgiven and our debt paid!
Pray with me: "Dear God, Shine your light into my life to expose the darkness of my sins. Forgive me and help me to follow you. Thank you for being the shield of my life! Amen."
Copyright 2012 / 2019 Sarah Keith
Teach children about God's glory presence. Check out our Bible curriculum, Lighthouse, An Overview for Children on the Book of Acts and the Glory of God. (K-5th grade)