Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God is flawless. He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”
We mostly see the kinds of shields mentioned here in museums. Old wood and metal shields aren’t much good against modern weapons of war. They can’t stop bullets, grenades, and rockets. But we get the idea. An old neighbor of mine had two sheets of metal wrapped around his pecan tree. It was a shield to keep the squirrels from getting all the nuts. Our cars have windshields because it is hard to see where you are driving with a sustained wind of 70 miles an hour in your face. At that speed even a little bug hitting you in the face could cause injury, and it would be kind of gross.
So God is our shield, our protection, to keep the things that hurt us away. When we sin we can try to pretend it didn’t happen. We can justify and defend ourselves by making excuses for our behavior. We can try to make up for it with our sad attempts at community service or restitution. But none of those things will get us off the hook in God’s court of law.
We can also take refuge in God by repenting and confessing our sins, and letting his grace and forgiveness take over. Then Jesus’ cross will shield us from the justice we deserved. Then we will be free from our guilt and changed by his love. Then we will find safety and security for our souls behind the shield of God’s grace.
Beyond this, who knows how many times each day God has been our shield from physical danger and we didn’t even know it? Because you left for work a little early or a little late one morning, you weren’t going through some intersection at the moment a distracted driver was texting, ran the red light, and t-boned the car that had the right-of-way.
You have probably never heard of Elise O’Kane. She was a United Airlines flight attendant who tried to sign up to work Flight 175 the day it was hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center in New York. While bidding for the flight she entered a wrong code. It scheduled her to work a flight between Boston and Denver instead. Computer problems kept her from correcting her mistake. Who knows how many times you or I have been saved from tragedy on a smaller scale because the God who is our refuge has been directing our lives and protecting us from harm.
None of us have been entirely immune to tragedy, either. There, too, God’s power and promise work for our protection. From his prison cell in Rome the Apostle Paul once wrote the Philippians, “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel…Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly…I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” Which is just what it did.
Do you long to be secure? Run to the God who is your refuge. His power and promise will shield our body and soul.