God’s Favor Is A Shield

This evening as we were gathered around the dinner table, finishing up a delicious feast of hard and soft-shelled tacos prepared by my stunning wife, we read and discussed Psalm 5 together.  (We are currently reading through the Psalms as a family.)

Quite briefly, in this Psalm, David is making some observations about the wicked, and the righteous; their relationship to one another, and their relationship to God.

What struck Ezra (age 5) about this Psalm was how

Satan tells the bad guys what to do dad, and God tells the good guys what to do.  But God is stronger than anyone (Nehemiah in agreement: “yeah, God is stronger!!!”), so those good guys are gonna win in the end dad.”

I love my little Ezra.  And I love that he loves the Bible.

What struck me was the last verse of the Psalm.

Psa. 5.12 For you bless the righteous, O LORD;

you cover him with favor as with a shield.

I hadn’t thought of that before – part of the blessing upon the righteous is that the favor of the LORD acts as a shield of protection for us.

The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (accessed in my handy Accordance program) has this to say about that word favor:

This masculine noun occurs over fifty times in the OT. It carries three major shades of meaning. The primary one is the “favor” or “good will” of God (Deut 33:16; Isa 60:10; Ps 5:12 [H 13]; 30:6, 8 et al).  The root frequently describes God’s pleasure with his servants; the “pleasure” or “favor” of kings (Prov 14:35; 16:13, 15 only) and all men (10:32; 11:27 et al.).

What a delightful discovery.  Because of the Gospel (in Jesus God sees me as righteous), God acts toward me with divine favor, good will, and pleasure.  How marvelous this is on its own!  But the Psalmist says there is more to it than that.  As I am enveloped by that good will, it also acts as a shield about me.

I look forward to chewing on the ramifications of this truth in the days ahead.  Let me know if you have any insights you’d like to add.

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