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.
An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”
The ongoing and providential care of God toward his people is not always readily apparent. Christians and non-believers alike are involved in car accidents, become victims of violent crime, and experience grave illnesses and troubles of many different kinds.
Yet we have this promise and the example of God’s intervention and protective care for Joseph and Mary, together with Jesus in the face of Herod’s menacing intentions. How do we embrace this idea of God’s protection in the face of the very real troubles we see and experience all around us? That seems to be the legitimate question of those who have experienced grave loss or harm – even while looking to God for deliverance.
The answer lies, I believe, in seeing how God was intervening in the lives of all people through his Son, Jesus of Nazareth. In Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, an epic battle takes place against the promise of deliverance by Gandalf “on the third day.” The armies of Middle Earth suffer greatly for the first days of the battle, until at last Gandolf arrives with reinforcements and saves the day. Intervention comes; it doesn’t always come as quickly as we would wish.
Our redemption has been won by Jesus Christ. He has conquered sin, death, and the devil. The Lord is our keeper and our shade. We can rest in him, and will for all eternity. Sometimes we get a foretaste of that here and now. But even the most remarkable deliverance will pale in comparison to the final deliverance on the Great Last Day.
Jesus survived the plots of Herod when he was a toddler. He did not survive the schemes of the Jewish religious leaders and Pilate’s soldiers’ scourge and cross. Nevertheless, Jesus endured through faith and now is exalted to God’s right hand on high. We look forward to our perfect keeping through faith in him.