“FOR the Lord is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.”
It is by request that we attempt to take hold of this portion of Scripture, and to write upon it, not knowing whether what we shall be led to say will be of any benefit to any one. We think the key of this text lies in the expression, “Them that walk uprightly.” Who is it that walks uprightly? The Psalms, as well as all other portions of the Old Testament, have for their main object to testify of Jesus: his life, sufferings, death, resurrection and glory. This is especially true of the Scripture we have taken under consideration here. Christ is the upright, man, and they only are upright who are in him, and who, through him, are raised above the power and dominion of sin, and above the condemnation of the law God made man upright, but he did not remain upright. Adam fell from his uprightness and became prostrate under the sentence of God’s holy law. All the children of Adam are alike fallen in sin. All remain in sin except those who are made upright in Christ and through the power of his resurrection. “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Not one of us is able to walk uprightly before God in Adam. It is only as we are in Christ that we obtain any uprightness in the sight of God. That which man considers upright is often mistaken as being acceptable in the sight of God, but men can never be any judges as to what is right in God’s sight. Let us walk ever so uprightly in the eyes of the world, that does not say that our uprightness is the kind that God approves. In order to be approved in the God’s sight we must be accepted in the Beloved. It is not a question of whether we accept God, but whether God has made us accepted in Christ. Since, then, Jesus is the key of our text, as he must be of every text if we are to declare the truth, it follows that no good thing will God withhold from them who are in Christ Jesus, that to them God is a sun and a shield, and that to them he will give grace and glory. The Lord God is a sun to his people, he is their light, their understanding, and they walk in the light of this understanding, which the Lord God sheds within their hearts and souls. He is the light of his holy city, the church, so that no sun by day is needed there, nor any moon by night, for there is no night there. The reason there is no night there is because the church is no more under the law (the night dispensation), but under grace. In our article a month ago we tried to write on this subject of “light.” We cannot write more now than we wrote then upon this subject. We tried to show at that time how the Lord God is the sun of his people. But he is also a shield to them. This shows him as their protector. The shield, in olden times, was held between the warrior and the enemy. The darts of the assailers fell upon the shield, leaving the warrior himself unharmed. How wonderfully this shows what the Lord is to his people, in that all the temptations of the adversary were hurled at the people of God, but were caught by the Lord God, who, in the person of Jesus, stood between his people and all danger, receiving in himself all their afflictions, and bearing in himself the penalty of all their transgressions. The angel of his presence is ever about those who fear his name. Nothing shall hurt nor destroy one single one for whom Christ died. For them he has taken from death its sting and from the grave its victory, so they do not even need to fear what the last enemy may do to them. The gifts of the Lord to his people are grace and glory. The text says he gives them. If he gives them, then they do not earn them. If they receive them as the reward of their merit, then they are not gifts. Anything that one pays for, and which comes as the reward of service rendered, is not a gift. The grace and glory of God are bestowed upon his people as wholly free and unmerited gifts through Jesus Christ the Lord. This is the grace, or free favor of God, in which our salvation for time and eternity is all bound up. The glory which he gives is that glory which Christ had with the Father before the foundation of the world, and which Jesus prayed to the Father his people might enjoy with him as the outcome of the death and resurrection of Christ.
Then, in the last verse under consideration, we see the expression, “O Lord of hosts.” “Hosts” means an immense number, a great multitude. God is the Lord of a great multitude, which no man can number. The “hosts “ are those, an innumerable company, redeemed unto God by the blood of his Son, out of every nation, kindred, tribe and tongue and people under heaven. As a holy benediction comes the conclusion of the Psalm: “Blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.” To have that trust and confidence in God which is alone the product of God-given faith is to have that treasure laid up above, where moth and rust cannot corrupt, and where thieves cannot break in unto and steal. We cannot tell any one how to trust in the Lord, and it is not possible, we think, for one to tell another how to do this. It is easy to trust him when God gives us faith to trust him, but it is impossible to bring about that trust of ourselves. One essential to trusting in the Lord is that all confidence in self must be destroyed. Not until the flesh and sense and self have betrayed us, and shown themselves as no longer worthy of our trust and confidence, will we turn therefrom by the grace of God unto that perfect trust in God which nothing but grace can bring about in us. It is infinitely blessed for a poor sinner to have this trust in God, for it is a perfect trust, which can never be betrayed. All of us, perhaps, have had friends who have failed us in times when we most needed friends, but here is One that sticketh closer than a brother, a rich and almighty Friend; he is not slack concerning his promises toward us, who has promised to be with his people always, even unto the end of the world, and beyond. Those who trust in Him are founded upon a rock; like Mount Zion they shall never be moved, nor ever be ashamed. We are made ashamed of those among men in whom we have misplaced confidence. Never shall God’s people be ashamed for their trust in him. He is our strong tower and rock of defence, a very present help in trouble. L.
Elder H. H. Lefferts
Signs of the Times
Volume 87, No. 8
April 15, 1919