Today marks the next installment in my weekly “life verse” series. This passage from Psalm 84 is a real anchor Scripture in my life:
I like how the Bible describes God as a sun. The sun is the focal point of our solar system, and its influence impacts everything on our planet, as well as all the other planets, too. By the sun our circadian rhythms are set, which allow us to establish regular schedules of sleep and wakefulness; also, the sun is essential for growth, and is a vital source of nutrients like vitamin D that keeps our bodies healthy. Put another way, the sun is in inescapable influence that impacts everything and everyone.
I also like how the Bible refers to God as a shield. A shield is inpenetrable, and is designed to protect the one who is holding it. A properly made shield cannot be defeated, and can deflect all of the attacks that come its way. In fact, a shield is greater than anything that may attempt thwart it, and is generally stronger and more resilient than the person carrying it.
So, God is like the sun in that He impacts everything and everyone all the time, and He is like a shield because He is our Protector and Defender, and simply is greater than anything or anyone who may come against us.
But there’s more! God gives us gifts, too. According to this verse, He gives us grace, favor, and honor; grace allows us to receive things that we have not rightly earned, and favor and honor speak to the God-ordained positive regard others have for us. God promises to give these things to us, but there is a condition attached – more on that later.
Now comes my favorite part of the verse: “No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly”. This is a comfort to me. Right now, when things are so difficult, it’s easy to feel like I’m missing out on God’s best – that He’s holding out on me in some way.
However, according to this passage, the very opposite is true – God is not a stingy Father, and He does not intentionally withhold good things from His children. I have to remember that His definition of “good” is often very different than mine; what I consider to be a “good thing” may be harmful to me, according to His all-knowing mind. This is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of my faith – when my assessment of a situation in my life is different than the Lord’s, and I need to trust His wisdom anyway.
So here’s the condition in the verse: I need to be a person who “walk[s] uprightly”. I had to think about this and attempt to understand what the Bible means by “uprightly”. I looked in the dictionary, and perceive that “upright” had two primary aspects to it:
- Being positionally upright (as in standing straight up); and
- Being morally upright (moral rectitude).
By the way I see it, “walking uprightly” means maneuvering through life according to God’s design. If I try to “walk” any other kind of way, I may be able to get from one place to another; however, if I’m not getting from point A to point B in the way that God wants, then and I am not walking uprightly.
Similarly, from a moral perspective, walking uprightly implies making a decision to align my life with God standards. So, in order for me to receive the promises in this passage in Psalm 84, I must aim to be a person who seeks the mind and heart of God in all aspects of my life (note that this doesn’t mean that I’ll always accomplish this – failure is as much a part of life as a growth and success are – but I must aim for this target).
I think Psalm 84:11 is a pretty great verse! It reminds me that God is powerful and strong; and that He promises to bestow good things on His children – as God chooses to define “good,” that is – as long as we purpose to follow His design for our lives.
Here is my prayer for today: Thank You, Lord, for the promises found in Psalm 84:11. Help me to always remember that You are a good and powerful God who keeps His promises – always. When my faith begins to waiver (and let’s be honest – it does), please direct my mind and heart back to this passage of Scripture. Remind me of Your character – Your unchangeable goodness, trustworthiness, and faithfulness. In Your name I pray, Amen.