‘For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.’
Psalm 84: 11
What is that ‘good thing’?
If you’re anything like me, maybe you’ve read this verse or others like it and thought… “Hmmm, I’m not really sure about this particular promise.”
Because maybe at times in your life it has felt like God has been withholding something good from you… that job, that promotion, that house sale, that partner, that child, that ministry, that new opportunity…
Maybe you even feel that way about something right now.
And if God seems to be withholding something good from you, does it mean that you’re somehow not doing what’s right?
Or conversely, that everyone who does get those ‘good’ things in life, is more right before God than you?
I used to find this verse so frustrating, but lately, I have started reading this passage another way…
What does it mean for God to be our sun and shield?
I think it’s pretty easy to skip over the first part of this verse and just zoom straight into the promise that comes at the end, about God withholding no good thing from those who do what is right.
But have you ever really stopped to consider how this verse starts by saying that the Lord is a sun and a shield? What exactly does this mean, and why is it included within this context?
He is both the sun that lights up the way ahead, and the shield around that comes around us and protects us from danger.
And He is both the sun that shines down on us to offer us it’s warmth, goodness, and joy, and the shield that protects us from being over-exposed to too much, too fast.
He is both our sun and our shield.
When something feels ‘withheld’
If there is a ‘good thing’ that is not coming along very quickly in your life, and it seems a bit like God might be withholding it from you, at least for the present season – ask yourself, why could that be? And ask it specifically through this lens of God being your sun and your shield…
Because He isn’t a God who is mean, or stingy, or punishing, or disinterested in your desires. But could it be that sometimes He is actually shading and protecting us from something that we think we really want, but that He knows might not be very good for us right now?
Maybe that promotion looks good on paper, but perhaps the extra responsibility and hours that come with the extra pay check would push your stress levels up too high, and cause your marriage or family to suffer? Maybe it’s not where he wants you right now, because He still has plans for you where you are?
Maybe that house sale you so desperately want to go through, is not actually the house that God has in mind for you to buy. Maybe there’s something better around the corner, which is not even on the market just yet? Maybe its not the street He wants you live in, or the neighbours He wants you to befriend?
Maybe that ministry that you’re feeling frustrated with because it’s just not growing as fast as you would like, is actually God asking you to be diligent with the small first. Maybe He’s actually more interested in developing your character, and protecting you from experiencing too much success, too fast?
And maybe for me right now, even that ever elusive next pregnancy might seem like my heart’s greatest desire, but actually God knows that this timing is better, and that for now I just need to focus on being the best mum I can be to the son that I already have.
The truth is that when you apply this idea of God as both our sun and our shield, it really does become apparent that He’s not withholding any good thing from us; but in His own timing, He is leading us towards ever greater grace and glory.