This is one of my favorite times of the year to go for a walk along our local canal to the park. We have about 20 resident ducks living there, each one paired off with its mate. Whenever spring arrives, their companionship results in gaggles of little ducklings. Momma likes to sleep right on the edge of the canal bank, her wings sheltering her brood of babies. If I get too near, she scolds me while she fiercely protects her little ones.
It reminds me of one of my favorite bible verses: Psalm 91:4.
This bible verse demonstrates that no matter how lonely or vulnerable I feel, I am secure, protected, and cherished by my heavenly father.
In 2020, Wired’s Matt Simon, interviewed Fay Bound Alberti, author of A Biography of Loneliness: The History of an Emotion. Matt writes: “until the 1800s, solitude was a “cathartic, temporary escape from your fellow humans. Think of a nice hike to take in the majesty of the natural world, for instance. After industrialization, they began to describe it more as loneliness, an involuntary and crippling isolation.” (Simon, 2020) What once was seen as a gift, a time to commune with God and nature has morphed into a feeling of emotional lack. Loneliness often begets feelings of vulnerability because there’s safety in numbers. Even the most introverted among us were designed for community and companionship.
In today’s post, we contemplate God’s faithful companionship and His enveloping protection.
He Will Never Leave You
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Did you know that there many bible verses that talk about God’s companionship? He does not wander off, get distracted by all His other responsibilities, or get overwhelmed by your struggles. For this reason, and because of His intense love for you, He will NEVER leave you; at no time, to no extent, not even by the slightest degree.
Not only that, but many of the bible verses that tell us that God will never leave us also contain a reminder that, because of this fact, we have no need to be afraid or dismayed. Instead we can be confident in the assurance of the presence of the King of the universe. In Gill’s Exposition of the bible, he reminds us that God will “be with us to guide and direct, assist and strengthen, protect and defend, giving us success and victory over our enemy.”
Where Do You Need God’s Companionship?
Where do you need guidance, direction, and companionship today? Do you need to find a way out of your sickness and infirmity? Do you need help knowing what decisions to take next in a specific situation that is crushing your spirit? “Be strong and courageous. Do not be in fear or dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
Where do you need his assistance and strength? Do you have to face the diagnosis; stand up for yourself and end the harmful relationship; take the first step in seeking help? You do not have to face this on your own. “Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Where do you need His success? What enemies do you need to defeat? Do you need help overcoming the lies that you have believed for too long about your value and your worth? How about conquering the fear that paralyzes and holds you back? Do you need to claim the victory that is yours in Christ Jesus? “For the Lord your God is He who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4
He Is Your Shield
“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3
Most of us have a pretty good grasp on the benefits of a shield. While we see them used today by our military and our police force, they have been an essential part of combat for thousands and thousands of years. Framed with wood and covered with leather, brass, or copper, Old Testament shields were a defensive and protective part of their armor. They were frequently body-sized and carried into battle on a soldier’s left arm.
Whenever I think of shields, I think of the Romans. Roman occupation is a fundamental part of the development of England. I grew up visiting Roman settlement areas and dreamt of finding historic coins. I drove on roads that were straight as a whistle that had originally been laid during the Roman occupation. And I confess that I listened to one or two ghost stories about legions of them still marching from town to town.
Their shields were about 4 feet high and 2 feet wide. The soldiers would create formations that looked like rectangles with a shield on every exterior wall, and with the center soldiers holding their shields above their head. As a result, wherever they went, their mobile stockade was virtually indestructible.
God Protects Us From Every Angle
This powerful imagery allows us to visualize the protection of God that encircles us and defends us from every angle, meaning that we can move about our world safeguarded, defended, sheltered, and secure. We do not need to fear the terror of the night or the arrows that fly in the day. (Psalm 91:5) I believe this is never more true when we are at our most broken and in utmost need of his refuge.
This verse concludes with a promise. The One who is a shield about us is also the lifter of our head.
Lift Up Your Head
One of my favorite contemporary songs is “Look Up Child” by Lauren Daigle. Over gentle calypso-style rhythms, she reminds us that even in the middle of the darkness we are not threatened by the war, or shaken by the storm. God is in control, even in our suffering, even if we can’t see it. When the darkness seems to win and our worlds are crumbling, we have to take our eyes off our circumstances and place our focus squarely on God’s confident control of the situation.
I don’t know about you, but when I am in my darkest moments, the last thing I feel like doing is ‘lifting my head.’ Generally speaking, to do so conveys an image of confidence, courage, and determination, which are usually the furthest emotions from my mind in the middle of difficulty, depression, and anxiety. The glorious takeaway from this passage is that we don’t have to do it for ourselves; God will do it for us. He is capable of replacing our sorrow with joy, our darkness with light, and our mourning with dancing.
In summary, if you feel lonely and vulnerable today, take comfort in the fact that God will never leave you. Take advantage of moments of solitude to draw near to Him, and seek His face, His wisdom, and his companionship. Look up. Indeed, trust that His provision and protection will see you through your season of hardship.
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