For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. - Psalm 84:11
As we drove to church Wednesday evening, we stared into the sun for much of the trip. At first, I put my sunglasses on, and while it helped, the rays were still too intense for my sensitive eyes. I pulled the visor down, and the visual assault was slightly diminished, but still, I was amazed at how bright the light of the sun was despite my attempts to block it out.
I'm reminded of the interaction between Moses and God in Exodus 33. Moses asked if He could see God's face, but God replied that no one could see His face and live. Instead, God placed Moses in the cleft of a rock and allowed him to view His hinder parts. After this occurrence, Moses came down from the mountain to see the children of Israel, but they couldn't look at him because his face shone with the glory of God. He had a severe case of spiritual sunburn! All of that from merely viewing the hinder parts of God. No wonder he couldn't see His face!
That brings me back to this study. As much as we dig into these titles and characteristics of God, we're still only getting a glimpse of Who He is and what He has to offer. Even if God revealed everything about Himself to us, I don't think we could process it. It's too much for our finite minds to comprehend. He's too powerful. Too awesome. Too unexplainable. That being said, I still want to glean everything I can from these passages, so let's discuss how God is a sun.
1) The sun provides light. - As we've already discussed, God not only provides light; He is light. By Him, we can see all things through eyes of faith. We need not live in darkness. We don't have to fear the shadows. God is our sun.
2) The sun offers warmth. - When I think of warmth, my mind drifts back to my morning devotion time today. My morning ritual is to stretch out on the chaise in the living room with my cozy blanket, a cup of hot tea, my Bible, devotional book, and journal. I love my quiet morning time. This morning, however, there was an addition to my routine—a 67-lb puppy stretch out in my lap, snoring contentedly. Barnabas settled in, savoring the warmth and the companionship. He found comfort and peace, and that's what I envision when I think of warmth. Coziness. Contentment. Companionship. And even compassion.
3) The sun gives life. - The earth would not exist without the sun. We need it. It nourishes the plants and animals. It provides energy to all living things. That big ball of burning gas offers something we cannot live without. Similarly, God gives life. Sure, there are some who deny Him and go it on their own, but are they really living? Life without God is no life at all, for He provides something we cannot live without.
4) The sun promotes growth. - Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm the worst "plant person" in the world. Somehow I even manage to kill artificial flowers. I'm horrible with plants! I love them, but evidently, they don't feel the same about me. Despite my shortcomings, I know enough about them to realize they essentially need three things to survive: soil, water, and sunlight. Two of the three won't cut it. They need them all, and when they receive these things, they not only blossom forth, but they grow into what they're intended to be (that is, of course, if I had nothing to do with their planting or care). God promotes growth in our lives by exposing us to His Word, His promises and Himself. The more we draw near to Him, the more like Him we will become.
For the sake of time, I'll stop at that, but I want you to take a moment and imagine life without the sun. Supposing we could survive (which we couldn't), what would life be like? How would it feel to live in total darkness? Would we ever adjust to the cold? Could we experience life, beauty or comfort? Now, as horrible as that seems, let's take it one step farther. Imagine life without God. What would life be like? How would you feel knowing you had to face all of life's situations on your own? Could we experience life to the full? I don't know about you, but I don't even want to think about it, and fortunately, I don't have to because there is a God. And He is my God, my shield, and my sun. Yes, He is the light of my life!
Or, if you're uneasy about making online payments, you can send a check made out to Dana Rongione. My mailing address is 102 Edwards Street, Greenville, SC 29609. Thank you for your help and support in making this mission trip possible.