God our Shield

"After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward" (Genesis 15:1).

"Are you on the Lord's side?" I asked of a gentleman I chanced to meet.

"Yes," he replied "by God's grace I am, and, better still, He is on my side." I was delighted with his answer, for it proved that He knew the God of the Bible — the One who has revealed Himself for our joy and blessing in the work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But there are many who are truly trusting the Saviour, who dare not give such an answer; they would deem it presumptuous to say that God was on their side, poor failing sinful creatures as they are; yet this is the blessed truth in which He would have their hearts to be established.

Hear His gracious words to Abram. "Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward" (Gen. 15:1). What a glorious statement I and how safe must Abram have been since the Almighty was his protector! And Abram did not cavil or doubt, for we read, "And he believed in the Lord, and He counted it to him for righteousness" (v. 6)

God as our shield is strikingly set forth in the case of the Passover in Egypt (Ex. 12).

Abraham's children had multiplied exceedingly and become very great, but they were all slaves, groaning beneath the tyranny of hard and cruel masters.

God looked upon their sorrow and undertook their deliverance. He would lead them out of Egypt and bring them to Himself, that they might be His own people, His treasured inheritance. But His holy character required that a righteous basis should be found upon which He could do this The sprinkled blood of the paschal lamb was this basis, it spoke of the life of a spotless victim having been surrendered on behalf of those who were sinful, and so under the penalty of God's judgment. It was a type of the Lamb of God whose blood was shed for us.

The word of the Lord came to those Israelites by the mouth of Moses: —

"Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.

"And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts, with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.

"For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you" (Ex. 12:21-23).

The words, 'the Lord will pass over you,' are full of significance and comfort; they do not mean that He would merely pass by the door where the blood was, but that He would halt before it, and cover those within it from all harm.

The use of the word translated "passover" in other Old Testament scriptures will prove this. In 1 Kings 18:21, it is translated "halt," the sense, as the context shows, being to hover. A remarkable instance is found in Isaiah 31:5, "As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also He will deliver it; and passing over He will preserve it."

How striking is the figure! With all the tender solicitude of the mother-bird for her young when danger threatens, so the Lord hovers over those who are His. This is the meaning of Passover. The Almighty stood as sentinel and shield outside the doors that were blood-marked, and did not suffer the destroyer to enter in.

And God's Passover in Egypt is the type of the way He deals with every soul that, obeying the gospel, flies to the precious blood of Jesus for shelter. That blood bears witness to the fact that righteous judgment has been executed, and the righteousness that inflicted the judgment must protect those on whose behalf that judgment was borne: so that in every attribute of His being the blessed God must pass over such, taking the place of their Shield and Justifier. His mercy and love and tenderness and grace are all on our behalf, and not only so but His very righteousness is our justification. The knowledge of this fills the heart with triumphant praise, so that we can take up the glorious boast of Romans 8:31-34, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" . . . It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth?"