Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O Come O Come Emmanuel"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 121:5b – The Lord is your shade at your right hand. (NKJV)
One day, I was studying Psalm 121, and as I do quite often, I checked my Dutch and German Bibles. I noticed that in those two languages, there is only one word for shade or shadow, the emphasis being on shadow. That made me think more about the word "shadow", as in the shadow that we see when the sun shines.
When I was a little boy, I remember discovering my shadow. It was going along beside me, and it did not matter how fast I ran or how quickly I stopped — it was still there. I tried to outrun it and outmanoeuvre it, but it was still there — it did not matter what I did.
That is the way it is with God, whether we act according to His will or not. Whether we are aware of His presence or not, He is there. That is one of the main messages of the Advent season, which begins today:
Matthew 1:23 – Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (KJV)
He is our shade in times of trouble, and He is always with us. The psalmist asks the question, "From whence comes my help?" And then comes the immediate answer: "My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." (Psalm 121:1b-2 NKJV) No long explanations, just a plain statement. Then it continues with the assurance that God is always with us: "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." (Psalm 121:5-8 NKJV)
Moses told the people of Israel that whatever happens, "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV)
God assures us that He is always with us: "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV)
Jesus Himself assured His disciples (and us!): "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV)
How wonderful and reassuring it is to know — really know — through Scripture and faith, that God is always with us!
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we get such comfort from the knowledge that whatever happens, wherever we are, You are always with us. We thank You for this assurance, in Jesus' name. Amen.