‘The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.’ – Psalm 28:7From Toni Clark:
Until about 8 weeks ago I had only ever heard the word “furlough” in a church setting, in relation to mission partners usually coming back to the UK for a period of a few months of rest. But now it is on the news most days in relation to the Government supporting employers paying wages to their staff who can’t work at the moment.
There’s another word that similarly we now hear quite a lot in the news and that is “shielding”, in relation to those people who are the most vulnerable to Covid 19 and who need to be protected from the risk of catching the virus. I remember hearing the word “shield” and being reminded of the song which starts “I will bless the Lord forever, I will trust him at all times” and which has the words in the chorus “you are my shield, my song….” I love how hearing a word in an everyday situation can just trigger a thought of God, a song or a verse in the Bible.
And then I was reading Psalm 28 a few days ago and this verse really struck me. The word “shield” leapt out at me – God is our shield.
This is a short Psalm, just 9 verses, and it starts as a song of lament, a cry for help amid a threat from evildoers in their midst. It’s not clear whether the threat is to the individual or to the whole community but whatever it is, the writer turns to God in their time of trial. The writer knows that no matter how difficult life is, whatever the threat is, God is with them, he is their strength and shield – he is the ultimate protection.
We may not be physically threatened by evildoers but we may feel under threat and not sure where to turn at the moment. This verse sums up what our response should be perfectly – the Lord is my strength and my shield. He is all we need, he gives us strength when we feel weak or uncertain. He is our shield when we feel threatened or afraid. All we have to do is trust in him, and he helps us. Knowing God is with us gives us that sense of peace that helps us conquer the fears and worries we may have, that is the shield and protection we get from God. When we realise that our hearts will leap for joy for we know we are not alone, and we sing praise to God.
Especially in dark times it can be easy to focus on the bad, the threat. What this Psalm shows us is that when we turn to God for our shielding, we can trust him and he will help us. Therefore our response is one of joyful, heartfelt praise – and a great song to sing is the one I mentioned at the beginning of this blog “I will bless the Lord forever, I will trust him at all times”.