The Law of Protection
Psalm 47:9
The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong to God…

The text has a special appropriateness for troublous times, and in troublous times the Church has often remembered and verified it. When threatened and terrified, hunted and harried, made the victim of earthly tyranny, the object of earthly assaults, the Church has discovered that just where the earthly danger was, there also was the earthly shield — raised up, brought near, and made available by Him who is the Sovereign of the earth, for the assistance of His cause and the safe-keeping of His people.

I. THE SHIELD POLITICAL IS IN THE HAND OF GOD. We refer to the protecting influence of good government. What an unspeakable, yet often forgotten, blessing is the blessing of a civilized and enlightened constitution, considered simply as a shield! It is the principle and the pride of good government like our own that it aims at the throwing of its protecting screen over strong and weak, rich and poor alike, seeking to deal open and even-handed justice to all, without favour and without fear. Well, the shield political is in the hand of God. It is He who appoints it, maintains it, and directs it as need arises or danger demands. What is the practical lesson? For one thing, let there be recognition of God's power and gratitude for God's goodness in extending such a shield, so near, so ample, so strong; thus setting our lines in pleasant places, and appointing us a goodly heritage. Let there be prayer for God's blessing, that those who compose that shield, the living minds that plan, the living hands that execute, may lend themselves more and more to the influence of a Christian spirit and the accomplishment of Christian ends.

II. THE SHIELD DOMESTIC IS IN THE HAND OF GOD. We refer to the protective influence of a pious home. Home is home, indeed, only when it surrounds the growing boy or girl with a whole investiture of pure and affectionate influences — kind deeds, kind words, kind thoughts — and thus forms a quiet pavilion, where the young life can feel itself safe. Let parents grudge no pains, spare no expedients, that tend to the maintenance of this feeling, and the drawing and the keeping of their children together under the shadow of that safeguard which we call home. And let all, whether parents or children, remember that, like other shields, the shield of a happy Christian home is in the hand of God. It is God who erects it. It is God who keeps it together. Therefore, in all that pertains to our home, let God have the guidance, and let God have the glory.

III. SHIELDS SOCIAL ARE IN THE HANDS OF GOD. Here we pass to another protective influence of life, and note the preserving power of helpful and beneficent institutions. We live in an age of organizations. They are with us upon every hand — organizations philanthropic, moral, religious. We have our societies for the promotion of health, the diffusion of literature, the increase of temperance, the preservation of purity. And all these are shields, or are meant to be shields, for the young, the innocent, the feeble, the tempted, and the penitent. The point we should always notice is this, that they are shields in the hand of God. The fact is suggestive of two things we do well to keep constantly in mind.

1. Such safeguards owe their origin to Divine revelation. Philanthropy springs from the plains of Galilee, where the Saviour fed the hungry and healed the ailments of the multitude.

2. They owe their efficiency to Divine grace. A white cross will not keep a man pure; again, it is only a symbol and expression: what will save and preserve him is the same grace of God.

IV. SHIELDS PHYSICAL ARE IN THE HANDS OF GOD. Among the protecting influences of life there is the influence of the powers and processes of natural law. Think of these influences in their broadest and most general sense as a protection and a benefit to the race at large. How wonderfully force balances force, and principle supplements or cheeks principle! — the great and grand resultant being the safety and stability of the natural order we belong to, and the safety and stability of ourselves in the midst of it. Let us believe in a Providence that keeps the feet of the saints, and, if necessary for the keeping of them, can make nature itself a minister of grace. A friend writes thus in a letter: "Did I tell you of my escape from drowning last year in Derwentwater, after my return from Brittany? My canoe upset. But angels that remove some stones out of the way can place other stones in it when needful. So was I preserved!"

V. SHIELDS SPIRITUAL ARE IN THE HANDS OF GOD. Let us select, as our last illustration, the protection afforded by the prayers and the presence of the saints. It is a fruitful and inspiring thought! For as the supplications of the saints go up, from the public assembly, from the household hearth, from the solitude and secrecy of private chambers and private hearts, for a race beset by sorrow and defiled by sin, they interpose a real and a solid barrier between those interceded for and the dangers that surround. Tim world owes more to them than it knows. Why is anger restrained? Why is chastisement delayed? Often for the saints' sake. May He in whose hand are the shields of the earth continue this shield, the shield of earnest and faithful intercession, till those that are sheltered beneath its shadow make their peace with Himself, and become intercessors in their turn!

(W. A. Gray.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted.

WEB: The princes of the peoples are gathered together, the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God. He is greatly exalted! A Song. A Psalm by the sons of Korah.

God's Shields
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