I will lift up my eyes to the hills — from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The Sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore. (A song of ascents. Psalm 121)
Walking In The Shade Of God
The Sun can be an unbearable burden in the heat of the day as it radiates its power over the earth. Deserts are scorching wastelands baked by the intense rays of an unshaded world. Being cast adrift on the oceans of water, men are desperate to find shade from the burning Sun. When God created light, He also created shade as a reflection of light on a solid mass. There is relief in the shadow of a tree or the cleft of a rock. The atmosphere was created at an exact density and makeup to allow sufficient rays of sunlight to penetrate but to protect the inhabitants from overexposure to dangerous radiation of ultraviolet light from the Sun. God created shade to allow relief from the heat of the Sun. Since the beginning of time, men have recognized the blessing of a little shade to relieve the suffering of heat.
As the Hebrews made their way to Jerusalem to worship the Lord God, they sang familiar psalms and hymns passed down from generation to generation. Songs of ascent describe the attitude of heart of God’s people preparing to worship. One of those psalms is a declaration of trust and faith in the providing care of the Lord God. Throngs of crowds moved toward the house of God, singing of their trust in the providential care of the Lord, singing their only help came from the Creator of the universe. There is no greater help than the Lord who made heaven and earth. Trusting in idols was foolishness. Seeking help from idols was folly. Looking for help from the Lord God of creation was the only true hope.
Trusting in God gives assurance that no harm can befall those who seek Him. He will not allow His children to stumble. The joy of walking in the light is seeing the things that will cause a man to stumble and avoiding them. God lights the way not allowing His children to be tempted beyond their abilities. Sin comes when we ignore the lighted path and stumble anyway. The overshadowing of the Lord is constant because He never slumbers, sleeps, or closes His eyes. Nothing can overwhelm the child of God when they are walking in the light of God.
Worshipping the Lord brings comfort from the heat of the world that bears down upon the soul like the heat of the noonday sun. The Lord watches over His children and shades them from the cruel heat of the day. Like the cooling shade on a hot day, God overshadows His children with a blanket of grace and love to soothe their troubled souls bringing comfort and hope. He will stand next to His children and protect them. The imagery of the Lord being a shade at the right hand is a powerful testimony that nothing is lacking in the protection of God. Being at the right hand is a place of ultimate protection. When a foe comes, those on the right hand are the defenders and protectors. God stands at the right hand of His children, protecting them as a shade in the day. He will not allow the Sun to strike His child nor the moon by night. The soul is preserved from evil by the shade of God’s grace.
Standing in the shade of God’s grace is a choice. Remaining in the heat of the noonday sun will bring death. The world stands in the burning Sun while few have found sanctuary in the shade of God’s protection. Every child of God who submits their will to the Father will find the cooling shade of grace flow over their lives, protecting them from the travails of a sun-drenched world dying of thirst. Jesus invites all men to come to the fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. That fountain is found in the shade of God.