God as Shade

We all go through periods when we need help from others. As I write this, I hear the Beatles song in my head: “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Who do you call on when you need help?

I’m blessed with several good friends I can call when needed. While my friends are willing to do what they can to help, there are times when there isn’t anything they can do. This is why we need to call out to the one who sticks closer than a brother.

The Psalmist describes God saying, “The LORD is your keeper, the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night” (Psalm 121:5-6).

God is always with us, day and night. Unlike the false gods such as Baal, Yahweh doesn’t sleep. He is always available.

I never really understood what the Psalmist meant by God being the shade on our right hand. I recently learned in times of battle, soldiers would carry their shields in their left hand. Doing so left their right side exposed and vulnerable. Soldiers would often stand beside each other (at each other’s right hand) for added protection. God is standing with us to protect us from harm.

So what about the part about the sun and moon? How does the sun strike someone? Well, I grew up in South Georgia, and let me tell you, it gets hot! I remember hearing stories of people collapsing from sunstroke. Traveling to Jerusalem was dangerous, and the extreme temperatures took their toll. Travelers were also in danger at night; they not only had to worry about wild animals and robbers, but some suffered from “moon strokes,” strokes thought to be associated with circadian variations. The songwriter reminds us God is our protector at all times.

The next time you are outside on a hot summer day, step into the shade and remember this analogy.

When have you experienced God as your protector? I’d love to hear!

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