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Saturday, April 09, 2005

Sun, Shield; Some Thoughts

The title of this blog is Sun and Shield. In case anyone wonders, it's from my life verse, Psalm 84:11. I posted on that verse previously. Since that post, I have discovered that the ASV version of the Bible is public domain:

Psalm 84:11 For Jehovah God is a sun and a shield: Jehovah will give grace and glory; No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. (ASV)

I understand that Jehovah is an outmoded word, but I'll use it, since the translators did.

Jehovah God is a sun.

The sun is an enormous energy source. The sun converts about 4 million metric tons of mass into energy per second. Why is that important? It is important because we get light from the sun. It is important because we are heated by the sun. It is important because we get our food from the sun. Green plants turn the sun's light energy into food.

God is a source of energy. He is responsible for the Sun being there in the first place, but He is also our source of spiritual energy, of light that lets us figure out what to do, of heat that keeps us from growing spiritually cold, of food that sustains us on a regular basis. The Lord God is our spiritual sun. Without Him, we couldn't see what to do, we'd grow cold, and we'd starve.

God is a source of energy. He provides. I won't list all of God's provisions for me. I couldn't, because I don't remember them all, and I wasn't smart enough to see God's hand in some of the things he provided. He did provide for me, and He is providing for me now. To state the obvious, I've got a computer, a phone connection, and enough sense to type this. God provided for me by allowing me to find Tolkien while working in a college library as an undergraduate, to find C. S. Lewis in the children's books section of the University of Wisconsin library, by allowing me to be accepted for attendance at a National Endowment for the Humanities summer program on bioethics (the only scientist), and in so many other ways.

Some of the sun's energy is light. The word, "light," often means guidance in the Bible. God provides, and he guides. I can't prove it, but I believe that I was guided divinely, in answer to prayer, to my current job, and to my only wife. I believe I was guided, in answer to the prayers of some of my ancestors, and others, to salvation.

Jehovah God is a sun--He provides, He guides.

The psalmist also described God as a shield. Now, even though shields are a thing of the past, we know what shields were for. They were for protection, for keeping the weapons of an enemy from injuring or killing the bearer.

The sun pours energy into space in all directions, and some of that hits us, and it's a good thing it does. But that energy is not an unmixed blessing. Every day, I apply sunblock to my head, and other exposed parts of my body. I need a shield from ultraviolet radiation, which is there even though I don't see it or feel it. There is a spiritual enemy, who is insidious, trying to affect us. We need a constant shield from the attacks of that enemy. Probably the greatest temptation for me is pride, thinking that I am important, and self-sufficient. That attack is subtle, often unrecognized, but almost constant.

People chose to wear a shield. Not only did they choose to wear a shield, but they also chose not to do some other things. Choosing to wear a shield is a choice with consequences. You can't play the piano and wear a shield. You can't play volleyball and wear a shield. In Old Testament times, you probably couldn't shoot a bow and arrow and use a shield at the same time, or play a harp and use one. Following God is a choice, and like all choices, it means we are also not choosing something. But it's a choice that is worth it.

The subject of the verse is "Jehovah God." Taking God as our God is a choice. We say "I'll do what you want, not what I want." We are choosing not to be our own god. But it's the right choice, and it's worth it.

For Jehovah God is a sun and a shield.

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