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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 84:11



For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Adam Clarke Commentary

For the Lord God is a sun and shield - To illuminate, invigorate, and warm; to protect and defend all such as prefer him and his worship to every thing the earth can produce.

It is remarkable that not one of the Versions understand the שמש shemesh, as signifying sun, as we do. They generally concur in the following translation: "For the Lord loveth mercy and truth, and he will give grace and glory." The Chaldee says, "The Lord is as a high wall and a strong shield; grace and glory will the Lord give, and will not deprive those of blessedness who walk in perfection." Critics in general take the word as signifying a defense or a guard. Instead of שמש shemesh, sun, Houbigant reads שמר shemer, a keeper or guardian, and says that to represent God as the sun is without example in the sacred writings. But is not Malachi 4:2, a parallel passage to this place? "Unto you that fear my name, shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings." No MS. countenances the alteration of Houbigant.

The Lord will give grace - To pardon, purify, and save the soul from sin: and then he will give glory to the sanctified in his eternal kingdom; and even here he withholds no good thing from them that walk uprightly. Well, therefore, might the psalmist say, Psalm 84:12, "O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee."

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

For the Lord God is a sun - The Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate render this, “For the Lord loveth mercy and truth.” Our translation, however, is the correct one. The sun gives light, warmth, beauty, to the creation; so God is the source of light, joy, happiness, to the soul. Compare Isaiah 60:19; Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5.

And shield - See Psalm 84:9.

The Lord will give grace and glory - Grace, or favor, here; glory, or honor, in the world to come. He will bestow all needful favor on his people in this life; he will admit them to glory in the world to come. Grace and glory are connected. The bestowment of the one will be followed by the other. Romans 8:29-30. He that partakes of the grace of God on earth will partake of glory in heaven. Grace comes before glory; glory always follows where grace is given.

No good thing will he withhold … - Nothing really good; nothing that man really needs; nothing pertaining to this life, nothing necessary to prepare for the life to come. Compare 1 Timothy 4:8; Philemon 4:19.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 84:11

For the Lord God is a sun and shield.

God a sun and a shield

This is a startling conjunction of emblems. A “sun”: the centre of a system of worlds--the very synonym for splendour--so glorious, that it has been worshipped by multitudes as Divine. A “shield”: an implement in human war, at first simple and rude, made of twigs, or skins, or metal--a piece of merely human handicraft. What could the sons of Korah have meant when they sang that God was sun and shield? God is sun and shield--

I. In His distance and in His nearness. The fiery globe ninety-one millions of miles distant, and the shield worn on man’s left arm in battle, close to his very heart, are both emblems of Him of whom men often cry, “Oh that I knew where I might find Him!” and to bring whom near men sometimes use their telescope of logic; but who is moreover so near, that in Him we live, and move, and have our being.

II. In His greatness and in His gentleness. The sun so great, that if all the planets were fused into one, six hundred would not give the bulk of the sun;--and that shield that shelters the bleeding brow or wounded limb, are both alike true figures of God.

III. In His holiness and in His benevolence. God is light, dazzling, unapproachable. God is love, etc. In Him mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. The God I sometimes dread is the God to whom to cling. (U. R. Thomas.)

A least for the upright

I. Blessings in their fulness. “The Lord God is a sun.”

1. Then, if God is mine, I have not only light, but I have the source of light.

2. God is a sun: that is infinity of blessing. There is no measuring it.

3. It is an immutability of blessedness (James 1:17).

4. There must be added concerning God as a sun--that He is for ever communicating His light and heat and excellence to all who are about Him. I cannot conceive the sun shut up within himself. An unshining sun is a sun unsunned; and a God that is not good and pouring forth His goodness has laid aside His deity. It is contrary to the very notion and idea of an infinitely good God for Him to restrain His goodness, and keep it back from His people.

II. Blessings in their counterpoise. One blessing alone might scarcely be a blessing; for in being too great a blessing it might crush us. We may have too much of a good thing. We want some other boon to balance the single benediction. So notice here, “The Lord God is a sun and shield.” “Sun and shield” hang before my eyes like two golden scales. Each one adds value to the other. When God is a sun to His people it may be He warms them into temporal prosperity with His bright beams, so that their goods increase, their body is in health, their trade succeeds, and their children are spared to them: they are grateful to God, and joyful because of the blessings which He has bestowed upon them. When everything is bright with us the Lord knows how to sober His children’s spirits so that they use, but do not abuse, the things of this life. Even when they most abound with worldly joys He makes His people feel that these are not their heart joy. He shades us from the noxious effects of wealth and content. He suffers not the sun to smite us by day. Is not this a gracious style of counterpoise? It is also a great mercy that when God gives His people great spiritual joys He usually gives them a humbling sense of themselves at the same time. Its gives them grace so that they can be full of assurance, and yet full of holy fear; always rejoicing and yet never presuming; lifted up, and yet lying low before the Lord.

III. Blessings in their order. The Lord is to us first a sun and then a shield. Remember how David puts it elsewhere:--“The Lord is my light and my salvation.” Light first, salvation next. He does not save us in the dark, neither does He shield us in the dark. He gives enough sunlight to let us see the danger that we may appreciate the defence. We are not to shut our eyes and so find safety, but we are to see the evil and hide ourselves. Ought we not to be very grateful to God that He so orders our affairs? Ours is not a blind faith, receiving an unknown salvation from evils which are unperceived; this would be a poor form of life at best. No, the favour received is valued because its necessity is perceived. The heavenly sun lights up our souls and makes us see our ruin, and lie down in the dust of self-despair; and then it is that grace brings forth the shield which covers us, so that we are no more afraid, but rejoice in the glorious Lord as the God of our salvation. Then notice the order of the next two things--grace and glory: not glory first: that could not be. We are not fit for it. Grace must first blot out sin and change the nature. We could not enter glory or enjoy it by any possibility while we are sinful at heart. Grace must renew us or glory cannot receive us.

IV. Blessings in preparation and blessings in maturity. “The Lord will give grace and glory.” Grace is glory in the bud; you shall see the rod of Aaron full of blooming graces; but this is not all--glory is grace in ripe fruit: the rod shall bear ripe almonds. The Lord will give you both the dawn and the noon, the Alpha and the Omega, grace and glory. What is glory? He that has been in heaven five minutes can tell you better than the sagest divine that lives; and yet he could not tell you. Nay, the angels could not tell you, you could not understand them. What is glory? You must enjoy it to know it. Glory is not merely rest, happiness, wealth, safety; it is honour, victory, immortality, triumph.

V. Blessings in their universality. “No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Is there some good thing which does not come to us by the Lord’s being our sun? We shall not lose on that account. Is there another good thing which cannot be included in God’s being our shield? We shall not be deprived of that. Is there some good thing that cannot be comprehended in grace? I cannot imagine what it can be, but if there be such a thing we shall not miss even that. Is there some good thing that is not comprehended even in glory? Well, it does not matter, we shall have it; for here stands the boundless promise--“No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The privileges of the righteous

I. What God is.

1. A “sun.” His people are not strangers to happiness, and they derive it all from Him.

2. A “shield”--always at hand, impenetrable by any weapons, capacious, encompassing, adequate.

II. What God gives.

1. Grace--Divine assistance and influence, springing from the free favour of God. It is often expressed plurally: we hear of the graces of the Holy Spirit. When it regards truth, we call it faith;--a future good, hope;-trouble, patience.

2. Glory. This denotes splendour, fame, excellency displayed; and the sacred writers apply it by way of distinction to the transcendent dignity and sublime happiness reserved in heaven for the righteous.

III. And what does He withhold? “No good thing.”--O how full and comprehensive is the language of promise!

1. Behold in it the grandeur of His possessions. He who engages to withhold no good thing must have all good things at His disposal.

2. Behold in this promise the wonders of His liberality. All earthly benefactors shrink from a comparison with Him. He acts by no ordinary rule of bounty, by no human standard of beneficence. “As the heavens are higher than the earth,” etc.

3. Behold in this promise the wisdom of His dispensations. He has qualified His engagement, and regulated our hope, by the goodness of the things insured. Let us then drop not only our murmuring, but our anxiety.

IV. Whom does God regard in all these exceeding great and precious promises?--“Them that walk uprightly “in reference to self, others, God. (W. Jay.)

The Lord God a sun and shield


1. A “sun.”

2. A “shield”; protecting His people from the sword of Divine wrath, and from their spiritual adversaries.

II. What God will do for His people. He will give--

1. Grace.

2. Glory.

III. What God will not withhold.

1. Any necessary instruction.

2. Any needful correction.

3. Any requisite support. (T. Dunn.)

God as a sun and shield

I. The nature of God in general.

1. A “sun.”

What is it that makes the day? Is it not the sun? And so what is it that makes the happiness of the Christian but even God Himself? Seeing the Lord God is a sun, we should then hence learn to rejoice in that light and comfort which He does impart, and which we receive from Him. We should still desire that the light of His countenance may shine upon us more and more, and nothing should be more grievous to us than the withdrawing of this from us.

2. A “shield.”

God is not a shield at large to all sorts of persons whatsoever, but He is a shield and buckler to His children, and to such persons as by faith cleave unto Him. To these He is a shield indeed, and it is that which is matter of great peace and encouragement to them, especially in times of danger and uncertainty. And accordingly, further, we should learn from hence to improve Him, and make use of Him upon all occasions: we should betake ourselves to Him for protection, who has expressed Himself ready hereunto, and drawn out that virtue which is in Him to this purpose. There are two attributes in God especially which redder Him to us as considerable in this respect--His truth, and His power. The truth of God, He is a shield in regard of that (Psalms 111:4). All those gracious promises which God has made for the protection of His people, they are so many shields unto them, under which they may cover themselves. And then His power, that is another of His attributes which is useful in this regard: forasmuch as He is stronger than any evil which can happen unto them.

II. The particular expressions of God’s nature to us.

1. Affirmative. “The Lord will give grace and glory.” He might have said, has given for the time past, or does give it for the time present, but He chooses rather to set it in the future--will give for time to come, hereby to signify His constancy and unweariedness in this respect, and the continuation of His blessings to us. The gifts themselves here mentioned are of two forms: grace and glory, the one pertaining to this life present, the other to that which is in heaven.

2. The negative. “No good thing,” etc.

The believer’s blessings

Let us consider the several characters here given of God, and the several blessings which, in one way or another, these several characters ensure to the righteous.

1. It is the combination of characters which we regard as most deserving of attention: “The Lord God is a sun and shield.” If we consider God as a “sun,” there is much of grand and gorgeous imagery which comes sweeping before us. God is emphatically our “sun,” our source of light, as showing us ourselves. Conscience is the candle of Deity; and it will burn long and brightly in the natural man, though he thicken the atmosphere with the impure vapours of passion and lust; but it is not the candle of Deity which can search the dark corners of the heart--it must be Deity itself. “O Lord,” says the psalmist, “Thou hast searched me and known me”; and again he prays, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts.” God, as a sun, saith, Let there be light, and there is light., and as it was in the first creation, this light discloses an unshapen chaos; and man looks into Himself thus suddenly and supernaturally illuminated; and everywhere may he discover nothing but moral confusion. Even the light itself is the only beautiful and glowing thing--all on which it rests is deformity, wildness, and corruption; and ever after God is a sun to the man, by enabling him to carry on that very process of research and discovery which is indispensable to all progress in righteousness. According to the expression of St. Paul--“He who commanded the light to shine out of darkness hath shined in our hearts.” And just as it is when the sunbeam finds its way into a darkened room, you see a thousand floating moats which would otherwise have escaped observation; so the piercing rays of Deity, entering the solitudes of the soul, will cause the chambers which had passed for cleansed and garnished, to appear full of the atoms of a widely diffused sinfulness. The light is carried into the corners which had been hitherto overlook

1. The sun shows him the hopelessness of the task in which he is engaged, and finds him fresh work to do, leaving him as far off as ever from completion. But now turn your thoughts on the combination of characters--“The Lord God is a sun and shield.” As a sun He shows me more and more my sinfulness; but then as a shield He gives me power to oppose it, and an assurance that I shall conquer. As a sun He discloses so much of the enormity of guilt that I am forced to exclaim--“Mine iniquities are like a sore burden, too heavy for me to bear!” But then, as a shield, He shows me how He has laid the load on a Surety who can bear it away into a land of forgetfulness. As a sun He makes me daily more and more sensible of the utter impossibility of my working out a righteousness of my own; but then, as a shield, He fastens my thoughts on that righteousness of His Son which is mysteriously conveyed to all who believe on His name. As a sun, in short, He brings facts to my knowledge, inasmuch as He brings myself and mine enemies to my knowledge, which would make the matter of deliverance seem out of reach and hopeless, if He were not at the same time a shield; but, seeing that He is a shield as well as a sun, the disclosures which He makes as a sun only prepare me for the blessings which He imparts as a shield; making me desirous, and fitting me to receive them. Who, then, shall wonder that under the combination of the characters of God the psalmist should break into expressions of confidence and assurance? Take the catalogue of things which inasmuch as we are fallen creatures, God as our sun instructs us to fear, and you find that, inasmuch as we are redeemed creatures, God as our shield enables us to defy. Who, then, shall doubt that there results from the combination of characters exactly that system of counterpoise which is generally to be traced in the dealings of the Almighty? Who can feel, if indeed he have been disciplined by that twofold tuition which informs man first that “he hath destroyed himself,” and then that “God hath laid help on One who is mighty,” the former conciliating, the latter encouraging--the one making way for the other, so that the sinner is emptied of every false confidence, that he may be tempted to courage--who, we say, can fail to draw from the combination of the Divine characters the inference drawn by the psalmist--to exclaim, that is, after recording that “the Lord God is a sun and shield, He will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

2. Let us now examine more attentively the psalmist’s expression of confidence, that “He will give grace and glory.” Did David mean that God will “give grace here,” and “glory hereafter”? No doubt the words are susceptible of this interpretation; and a very noble meaning it is--referring everything to the free gift of God, the power through which we become meet for heaven, and the heaven itself into which the righteous shall enter. And yet it would appear as though the psalmist were referring specially to what takes place upon earth. He applies the “shield “and the “sun” in his description of Deity, though it is only at present that God is as a shield to His people; in the higher state of being there will be no enemy, no difficulty, and, withal, no need of a shield. And if the “sun” and the “shield” may both be most properly referred to the Divine character, as a present display of grace, the “glory” may be presumed to belong to the Divine dealings, as at present experienced. In other words, “grace and glory” are represented as in some sense one and the same, as though grace were glory, and glory were grace. The truth contained in the clause is, then, that which may be derived from the saying of St. Peter, when he bids us “be sober, and hope to the end; for the grace that is to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” “The revelation of Jesus Christ” is to be at the consummation of all things, when everlasting happiness shall be entered on by the faithful; and nevertheless it is grace, not glory, which, according to the apostle, is then to be brought to the Church--an intimation which is only to be explained by identifying grace with glory--by supposing, that is, that glory differs from grace in measure, rather than in kind. And this is what we consider is taught by David in our text: he speaks of what God now communicates to the believer; but he speaks both of grace and glory. He represents, that is, grace as glory commenced, and glory as grace consummated. We do not wish to confound the engine with the work, or to make out that the process is the result. Of course, in strictness of speech, grace is the instrument, glory the produce. But if the glory lie in the being freed from sin, and if it be grace which is gradually setting us free, the hope of grace is the true “hope of glory.” Nor is it only freedom from sin which grace effects. It effects also consecration to the service of God. There are none but true Christians who really fulfil the great end of their being--that of promoting the glory of their Maker; and it is not through the working of any mere human principle that they propose to themselves so sublime an object. There must have been a change in the affections, a withdrawment of the heart from temporary interests, a vivid recognition of the position which we occupy through creation and redemption, ere the end at which our actions aim can in any degree be for the honour of God it is therefore to grace, as a principle implanted by God, that we ascribe every effort to advance God’s glory. If it be the direct result of the workings of grace that we are led to consecrate ourselves to the service of the Most High, let grace have unrestrained sway, and dust and ashes though we be, should we not become ineffably glorious? It will not be the robe of light that shall make us glorious, though brighter threads than sunbeams shall be woven into its texture; it will not be the palm and the harp that shall make us glorious, though the one shall have grown on the trees of paradise, and the other have been strung with the Mediator’s hands. We shall be glorious, as ministering to God’s glory--glorious as devoted to the service of the Almighty--glorious as employed on the business, and delighting in the commands of our Maker--glorious with a more than angel’s glory, because entrusted with more than an angel’s freedom. And if this be our glory, yea, then, poetry may give her music to what she counts more beautiful, and painting its tints to more sparkling things; but Christianity, the scheme of human restoration, recognizes no glory but the living to God’s glory! If this be our glory, where is the word which describes glory so emphatically as “grace”? Grace is that which produces consecration to God’s service, and therefore is grace nothing less than glory begun. (H. Melvill, B. D.)

The sun and shield

The psalmist here embraces both nature and art in his illustration, setting forth what God is to His people. What the sun is to nature, what the shield is to the soldier, God is to His people: He also gives grace and glory.

1. God’s blessing to His people set forth under the figure of the sun.

2. The Lord is also a shield. This emphasizes the heroic side of the Christian’s character. It means war, and protection in that war. God stands between His people and their enemies.

3. God will give grace. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” But we cannot work a thing out until it is first placed within, God gives us grace in the germ. Like the eagle that is in the egg, like the forest in the acorn, it takes time to develop.

4. God will give glory. The glory of creation is man. The glory of man is his soul. The glory of the soul is the grace of God within it. The kings of earth cause Daniel and Joseph to be clothed with royal robes, but God will clothe us with His own hands, with heaven’s best wardrobe out of the ivory palace. (W. N. Richie, D. D.)

The privileges of the upright

I. What is God?

1. A “sun.” The source of--

2. A “shield.”

II. What does God do? He gives--

1. Grace.

2. Glory--the completion of grace.

3. All good things--everything necessary for life.

III. Who are the characters likely to share this felicity? “Them that walk uprightly.” (M. Wilks.)

The Lord God a sun

Perhaps no other object in nature has so many attributes that fit it to represent a supreme and invisible Source of power, and life, and government, as the sun. It has peculiar aptness in representing a pure and spiritual God. These silent, mysterious, rejoicing influences of sunlight, that give to the heavens and the earth a charm that no tongue or pen has yet expressed, symbol to us the universal influence of the Divine mind that pervades creation with silent, invisible, life-giving power. What other symbol could give such a conception of purity, vitality, diffusiveness, continuance, and life-imparting power?

I. Observe its universality, as a fit emblem of the universal power of God. It is, in its centre and power, definitely located, as it were; and yet it reaches itself out, and fills immensity, and is as much in the east as in the west, in the north as in the south; and it pervades with endlessness, and, at the same time, every part of the vast physical domain of God. As much at night as by day is the stream falling down and beating upon this globe; and all the forces of light, its life-giving power, are borne, in this immeasurable flood, through infinite space. And is it difficult to rise from this glory of fulness to some faint conception of a mind that issues and impels streams of influence that go forth and fill the vast domain of existence? Is it impossible, when matter so nearly takes the proportion of universality or omnipresence, that mind, more ineffable and subtle and mobile than matter, should be able to bear itself abroad into the infinite realm?

II. Consider, also, that this forth-streaming of light and power from the sun has been going on through incomputable periods of time. The historic period of this earth--that, in other words, which records the appearance of the race of man upon it--is relatively short, being but five or six thousand years; while the scientific periods--namely, those which are known only by the interpretation of physical facts--are inconceivably greater. And through the one and the other, doubtless for millions of years, the sun has poured its vast stream of influence, undiminished. Nor is the source apparently wasted. For all purposes of illustration, it may be said that the sun gives without wasting, and is infinitely abundant, after measureless periods and spaces have been filled, in its luminous supply. Thus we rise to the conception of a mind that shoots forth creative and nourishing energy, and that pours it unwasted down through the ages of time, boundless, fathomless, undiminishing.

III. Consider also what an image of abundance the sun affords. The leaves of the trees, the blades of grass, all the parts of the growing vegetable kingdom, and the infinite swarms of minor insect life--all of them go to illustrate the thought of abundance, of multitudinousness. But what shall equal in these things the abundance of that solar flood that fills the heaven and the earth, that penetrates the soil, that saturates with heat rocks and stones, and that moves on for ever and for ever with illimitable processions, and everywhere both carries life and finds it? And where else shall there be anything that at all, for an illustration, equals the conception which we strive to form of the creative abundance of God, whose thoughts are for ever brooding, and yet whose life for ever is developed, and who is perpetually changing chaos into organization, and making organization progress through endless cycles of evolution, and through an inconceivable multiplicity of details?

IV. Consider its stimulating and developing power. All things presuppose the sun. It seems to us unthinking, as though everything had been created with its life within itself; as though animals had their life within themselves; as though vegetation had its life in itself. Nothing has. That sun which the beast does not recognize, that sun which the insect does not know, is, after all, its father and its mother. I ask the daisy, “Who is your father?” and it speaks to me of the seed and the root; while I know that the unplanted sun is the father of the daisy. I ask the pastures, “Who has created you?” and they speak of the showers; no blade of grass speaks of the sun; but I know that the unbaptized sun has, by its light of fire, baptized these its children, and that there is nothing that grows in Nature, of animals, or birds, or insects, or plants, that is not the immediate result of that unconscious sun that works everywhere. And when men say to me, “Show me the presence of your God; show me some sign that He is in human affairs, guiding them: you talk of the Holy Ghost, of the Spirit of God, of the Divine inspiration, and of the soul of man as being born thereby; now, give me some token that it is so”--when men say this to me, I point them to all the world, and say, “By the same signs and tokens by which you recognize that the life of the globe is in the sun, that is a myriad of leagues distant; the sun, that sounds no trumpet and waves no banner; the sun, that steals silently through the air, and that works, though you see not the working, but only the fruit of working--by these same signs and tokens you may recognize that the life of the soul is in God.”

V. The sun is the centre of attraction, the holding-force of the universe. Its invisible power harnesses all planets and stars. It guides the earth in all its courses. It is a government, in short. It not only gives vitality to all things of the earth, but it surrounds the earth, rendered vital, with guiding power, and holds it in its movements. So God is the centre of power, and the centre of government. By maintaining those eternal laws by which the human soul acts, He sits central. As the sun sits central in the solar system to hold the planets that roam only by its permission, so God sits central in the universe, holding this globe not only, but all its habiliments; and all its habiliments not only, but the soul of every man; and the soul of every man not only, but all that is in the human soul.

VI. Consider that generosity and impartiality which the sun exercises. It makes no discriminations and distinctions. I have growing in my garden the portulaca in beds, for the sake of its glowing colour. You know that it is first cousin to purslane--a weed that everybody who undertakes to keep a garden hates. I have hoed it, and pulled it up, and denounced it, and spurned it, and given it to the fire and to the pigs with maledictions. But I cannot find out that the sun exercises any discrimination between the purslane growing in my garden and the portulaca, r call one flower and the other weed; but God’s sun calls them both flowers. In this it is the emblem of God, who “maketh the sun to rise on the evil and on the good,” etc.

VII. Prolific and intimate in benefit as the sun is, it is observable that only a part of its benefit is thrust upon man, and that that part is mainly that which concerns his lower necessities. If we would go further, and use the sun as artists use it, and draw out its subtler elements of beauty, we must study its laws in that direction, and obey them. If we would derive from the employment of the sun its more perfect fruits and harvests, we must take the steps necessary to this end. Not upon every one does it thrust these bounties. They must be inquired for. So it is with the Sun of Righteousness. He sheds a providential watchfulness and protection upon all men, without regard to character; but if men would go higher, and perfect the understanding, refine the moral sentiments, purify the heart, and come to be God-like, developing the God that is in them, for this there is special labour required. (H. W. Beecher.)

The sun an emblem of God

What the natural sun is to material nature, God is to this world and its tenants, especially to those who fear His name. Of all the figures employed indicating some features of resemblance to God, there is none more beautiful and appropriate than the sun. “It is a pleasant thing for the eye to behold the sun,” i.e. to enjoy the effect of his diffused and reflected radiance. Earth and its countless inhabitants are deeply indebted to his vivifying rays. He is the source of all that quickens and beautifies nature, and thus has become the emblem of many blessings.

1. In all probability he was the first natural object which had the religious homage of man, and this may suggest the thought that the human mind delights in mysteries--in the insolvable more than the apparent and simple--as man could not easily prostrate himself before any object more mysterious in its nature. There is no searching of the sun; our eyes are too weak to stand the ceaseless ocean of light that emanates from him. How much less can we search the sun’s Creator. Contrasted with Him, myriads of suns are like so many dark bodies. His revelation of Himself in His works, and in His Word, in His Son, and in our souls, is more than sufficient for the comprehension of any finite mind and beyond the ken of the most philosophic eye.

2. The sun is ever the same. Ever since the Creator said on the fourth day, “Let there be light,” he has faithfully performed his function. Generations live and die; empires wax and wane; but he is the same from age to age, and gives his light to the father and the son; and shines upon the babe in his cradle as well as years after upon his grave, when numbered with the tenants of mortality. Thus the psalmist, in speaking of the kingdom of Christ, says, “His name shall endure for ever: His name shall be continued as long as the sun.” God is unchangeable. He is “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” His being fills every point of duration, “the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.” His thoughts and purposes are immutable. “The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever; the thoughts of His heart to all generations.”

3. The sun is larger than all the other planets.

It is difficult go conceive an adequate idea of his magnitude. If all the planets from Mercury, that receives a continual stream of light from him, to Neptune--that is three thousand and six hundred millions of miles distant from him, somewhere on the confines of creation--were made into one world, it is said that it would require six hundred such worlds to constitute one that would approach the sun in its dimensions. Infinitely greater than this is the disparity which exists between God and the highest, the mightiest, and holiest of His creatures.

4. Of all the works of God the sun is the most conspicuous. He occupies the most prominent position among the planets of heaven. Take him from the constellations of heaven, and all is darkness and confusion. What would this world be apart from God? Confusion, darkness, and unmitigated misery. Blessed be His name, He is here, as the cause of all causes, the force of all forces, the agent of all agencies, the breath of all life, and the source of all good.

5. The sun is most generous. He gives his all freely and impartially; he shineth on the just and unjust; his rays fall upon the sower of iniquity as well as the Christian in devout prayer and meditation. It is generally accepted now as being true that there are in the sunbeam three different principles, viz. the chemical, luminiferous, and calorific, and that each has a function to discharge in relation to the fruits of the earth. The chemical has to do with germinating the plant, the luminous assists in secreting from the air the carbon essential to its growth, while the calorie, or heating rays, are required to nurture the seed, and form the reproductive elements. What wisdom displayed in the fact, that the first of these is more powerful in the spring than in the summer, while the second becomes more powerful in the summer, and that in the autumn both are lessened, while the third increases in force; i.e. each principle becomes potent at the time when most required. How eminently adapted to our wants as well as those of Nature.

6. The sun is a fountain from whence flows a perpetual stream of goodness, and is an invaluable blessing to our world. God is an inexhaustible source of all good. He is the primal fount of all mercies. He is not only the Quickener of life, but the Giver and the Sustainer of it. Divine supplies and human wants are balanced. How loving the hand that adapts the blessings to our wants. How numerous they are. Can you reckon them? Life, health, food, raiment, peace, homes, relatives, friends, money, honour, and seasons of innocent pleasure; verily, our life is an endless history of Divine bounties. God gives these blessings to all without distinction. How loudly this calls for our gratitude. But He gives infinitely more to those that love Him, delight in His statutes, and frequent His sanctuary to adore and praise Him. To them He is a sun and shield. As the sun is everything to the earth, so God is to His people--He is their All. (J. Stevenson.)

Children of the sun

We are all lovers of the sun, and give it unwitting homage in a thousand ways. We seek it as if we were new-born flowers asking for a baptism of beauty and fragrance, and, like the birds, we pipe our merriest notes when it has dismissed the chilling clouds. Nor are bees and butterflies more content than are we when it favours us with its encouraging smiles and stimulating caresses. Distant yet near, hidden yet revealed, majestic yet lowly, mighty yet merciful, terrible enough to consume worlds and yet tender enough to open a blossom, vast enough to appal us, and yet beneficent enough to attract us--there can be little wonder that men of reverent temper have found in it touching suggestions of Him who giveth grace and glory. “The Lord is a sun.”

I. Then my life may be illumined. No nook or corner of our being need go unirradiated. Open the life to God as you open the eye to the sun, and you will no longer be a child of the darkness. We need not dwell in the shadow of sin, in the cave of doubt, in the pit of melancholy, in the cavern of unbelief, in the neighbourhood of gloom: we are called to the sunshine; we can walk in the light as He is in the light, we can tread on bright-topped hills, we can hear the message, “Let there be light.”

II. Then my life may be cheered. He, whose shining sun brightens every earth-spot, making the flowers start up in rare brilliancy, causing the birds to sing their sweetest sonnets, putting a beauteous bloom upon the fruits of the orchard, and dressing Nature in a glorious dress, says to us, “What that sun is to the physical world, I am to the spiritual. I can work a mighty transformation in your lives, can put an end to your soul’s winter, and can confer on you an endless summer. I can warm you through and through with My fires, and in the light of My face you can live perpetually, despite life’s changefulness, and the hard, trying, and perplexing things which come to you--for I am God, your Exceeding Joy, the Fount of Life, the very God of Peace.”

III. Then my life may be enriched. It is God who quickens me from the death of sin, who renews my life from day to day, who gives it its finest expression, who stores it with heavenly treasures, who generates within me the holiest desires, and fosters a thrice-blessed bliss-inspiring hope. Who can tell how rich I may yet become? When I see the gorgeous garniture of the universe, I know that God does not want me to be clad in less than a royal dress. When I see the opulence of Nature on all hands, L am sure He does not want me to fare meagrely. When I observe the superb dome of many-coloured glass above us, the vast panorama of earth and sea full of pictures, poems, and symphonies, I am sure that He intends me to rise to full and rich perfection.

IV. Then my life may be beautiful. Standing in the stream of the Divine Brightness, there is no knowing to what splendour we shall come. Drenched with the glory of His face, we shall have a sweetness far surpassing that of sun-kissed flowers, a ripeness which the fairest fruit will only faintly image, a beauty superior to anything earth has known. (J. Pearce.)

The Lord will give grace and glory.--

Grace and glory the gift of God

I. Viewing the promise as on the side of God, and of His condescension to us His guilty creatures, we may trace it in its source, and in the manner of its fulfilment.

1. Absolutely, grace and glory are the Lord’s; being of the essence of His nature; his property and possession.

2. Relatively to us, grace and glory are the Lord’s to give; He has them so that He may give them.

3. Grace and glory are given from the Father through the Son.

4. Grace and glory are given from the Father through the Son by the Spirit.

II. Consider it now on the side of man, and his need of God.

1. What are the aspects of our condition that make the assurance peculiarly suitable to our case?

2. What more suitable,--what more necessary,--than this promise--“The Lord will give grace and glory”? A right princely and royal gift! And a right princely and royal act to make it absolutely a free gift! It is a procedure worthy of God. And it is the only procedure that could really meet our case. Of His own free will begat He us by the Word. Of His own free will He called us in His Gospel. Of His own free will He puts His Holy Spirit within us, and works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

III. The connection between grace and glory, and the dependence of the one upon the other.

1. Grace comes before glory; and only through grace can glory be reached. Grace first, and then glory. It must be so. Vain will you seek to commend yourselves to God, and win a character and name before Him, if you are not first found willing to be debtors to His mercy and sovereign grace, His full and free mercy.

2. Glory comes after grace; and grace is in order to glory. Why would you have the Lord to give you grace? Is it that you may hopefully press on to glory? Grace is the means to glory. Do you so regard it? Are you anxious, not merely about your personal rest, and ease, and comfort, but about your being put in a position and receiving power to serve the Lord freely, and to enjoy Him fully?

3. Grace implies glory (Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:29-30). What gracious soul is in heaviness through manifold affliction? Let him not faint. Let him seek grace to hold on, in the confident belief that the Lord, giving the grace he seeks, will give the glory for which he is content to wait.

4. Grace prepares for glory; and the proportion of grace determines the proportion of glory; or, to put it in a pointed form, the more grace the more glory.

5. The seals of grace are the pledges of glory. This is doubly true. It is true of the inward seal of grace, which is the Holy Ghost in the heart, and of the outward seals of grace, which are the holy sacraments in the Church. (R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

Grace and glory

The Lord gives; there is nothing freer than a gift, and there can be nothing freer than that greatest of all the gifts of God, eternal life. That expression, “eternal life,” sums up these two things, grace and glory. “The Lord will give grace and glory.” It is His glory to give His grace; and because of His graciousness, He gives glory. Glory never comes without grace coming first, but grace never comes without glory coming last; the two are bound together, and “what God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

I. The first gift: “The Lord will give grace.”

1. The Lord will give grace to all those who feel that they need it, and confess their need. Claim anything as of right, and God will only give you what you have a right to claim, and that will be everlasting destruction from His presence and from the glory of His power. But confess that you are guilty, and stand ready for the death-sentence to be executed, and appeal to the unmerited mercy of God, and you shall have it freely given to you.

2. He will give grace to those who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. Nay, He has given grace to them already. It has pleased the Father that in Christ should all fulness dwell, and therefore fulness of grace abides in Christ.

3. He will give more grace to those to whom He has given some grace. If you have had the first droppings of grace, keep on looking to Him who gave you those first drops, for there is a shower on the way.

4. He will give grace in the form in which it is needed.

5. He will give grace when it is needed. Grace is a thing which has to be used, and the Lord who gives it means us to use it. Whenever God sharpens my scythe, I know that there is some grass for me to cut. If ever He hands me down a sword, He seems by that very action to say to me, “Go and fight,” and He does not give it to me that I may have it dangling between my legs to show what a man of war I am. When you need grace, you shall have grace.

6. He will give us grace to a much larger degree when we are prepared to receive it.

7. He will give grace till it melts into glory.

II. The last gift. When our entire manhood, spirit, soul, and body shall be in heaven, then will this promise be fulfilled, “The Lord will give glory.”

1. “Glory” means, first, recognition. When Christ shall declare that He knows us, and shall say to each one of us, “Well done, good and faithful servant”; when He shall confess us before men when He comes in the glory of His Father; O sirs, when Christ shall call out His poor persecuted followers, and amidst such a scene as never was beheld before, when angels shall lean from the battlements of heaven, and a cloud of witnesses shall gather round about assembled men, when Christ shall say, “You were with Me in My humiliation, and I own you as My chosen, My beloved, My brethren,” that will be glory.

2. The next meaning of the word “glory” is vision. “Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty.” With Job, each believer can say, “I know that my Redeemer liveth,” etc.

3. The third meaning of the word “glory” is fruition. What the fruition will be I will tell you when I have been there. Long ago, we learned that “man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever.” Brothers and sisters, we have enjoyed His Word; we have enjoyed His day; we have enjoyed His covenant; we have enjoyed His love; but what will it be to enjoy God Himself, and to enjoy Him for ever? (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Grace inexhaustible

Mountains have been exhausted of their gold, mines of their diamonds, and the depths of ocean of their pearly gems. The demand has emptied the supply. Over once busy scenes silence and solitude now reign; the caverns ring no longer to the miner’s hammer, nor is the song of the pearl-fisher heard upon the deep. But the riches of grace are inexhaustible. All that have gone before us have not made them less to those who follow us. When they have supplied the wants of unborn millions, the last of Adam’s race, that lonely man, over whose head the sun is dying, beneath whose feet the earth is reeling, shall stand by as full a fountain as this day invites you to drink and live, to wash and be clean. (T. Guthrie.)

No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.--

God’s good things lot the upright

It all depends on what you mean by a good thing. It does not follow, for instance, that a thing is good simply because it has a good name. Mankind is governed very much by names, and some very bad and hurtful things go by a good name in the world. The old name for the Cape of Good Hope was the Cape of Storms, but everybody would prefer the later name, though it does not lessen by an inch the height of the stormy waves. The Irish speak of the fairies as “the good people”; not that they have much confidence in their goodness, but because they think it judicious to speak of them in that way. Now, God’s good things are very varied in their names. Some have the best and most beautiful of names. Others again, nominally, are not so attractive. What a lovely name was that which Jesus gave His disciples when He said, “Henceforth I call you not servants, but I have called you friends!” They were raised to a higher level, and not merely got orders as servants, but confidences as friends. Who would presume, however, to call Himself by that name? But I find that Jesus speaks, in another place, of a yoke. That is not such an attractive name. There is no doubt, however, about its being a good thing, if it be Christ’s yoke. It is through the taking of that yoke upon us that we shall find rest unto our souls. I suppose, if we were asked as to the characteristics of a good thing, most of us would say that a very important one must be that it lasts. Well, that is true, above all, of God’s good things. They last. Time has been called “the prince of honest fellows,” for he brings out the real value of things in the long run; and time has proved the value of the Gospel, and the blessings that come to us through it. “Why do I not like that story so well to-day as yesterday?” said a little girl, when her mother told her the same story a second time. It is mostly the way, however. The interest fades with repetition. But the old, old story of Jesus and His love gets more precious and fascinating the longer we live, and the more we think about it. Sometimes we wonder what will be the good things of the next world, the good things that God has in store; for, you see, they have to last such a long time there, they have to last and satisfy us to all eternity. But that is a secret that will be kept till the time comes. Let us only be sure of this, the Lord can provide, and the Lord will provide. And to whom is the promise of the text made? To “them that walk uprightly.” What could be simpler than these words, and yet what could better describe our spiritual requirements? There is something noble in the erect posture. Only man can stand erect. The body does get bent as age creeps on, but the power of Christ can still make straight and keep straight the soul. No debility of age need set in there. (J. S. Mayer, M. A.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 84:11". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For the Lord God is a sun and shield,.... Christ is "the sun of righteousness", and it is in the house of God that he arises upon his people with healing in his wings, Malachi 4:2 he is like the sun, the great light, the fountain of light, the light of the world, that dispels darkness, makes day, and gives light to all the celestial bodies, moon and stars, church and ministers; he is a "sun" to enlighten his people with the light of grace, to warm them with the beams of his love, to cheer and refresh their souls with the light of his countenance, and to make them fruitful and flourishing and he is a "shield" to protect them from all their enemies; he is the shield of faith, or which faith makes use of, against the temptations of Satan; he is the shield of salvation, and his salvation is a shield which shelters from divine justice, and secures from wrath to come:

the Lord will give grace and glory: he gives converting grace, the first grace, and all future supplies of it; he gives sanctifying grace, all sorts of it, faith, hope, love, and every other; he gives justifying, pardoning, adopting, and persevering grace, and all freely; he gives honour and glory among men, fellow creatures, and fellow Christians; and he gives eternal glory, the glory his Father gave him, the crown of glory, life, and righteousness: this is the gift of God through Christ; Christ gives a right unto it, meetness for it, and the thing itself; and in his house and ordinances, as he gives more grace to the humble that wait upon him, so he encourages and increases their hope of glory; and he that gives the one will certainly give the other; for these two are inseparably connected together, so that he that has the one shall enjoy the other:

no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly; that walk by faith, and on in Christ, as they have received him; who have their conversation according to the Gospel of Christ, and walk in the uprightness and sincerity of their hearts; from such the Lord will not withhold any good thing he has purposed for them, promised to them, or laid up for them in covenant; no spiritual good thing appertaining to life and godliness, and no temporal blessing that is good for them; he will deny them no good thing they ask of him, not anything that is good for them; and he will not draw back any good things he has bestowed on them, his gifts are without repentance.

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A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

For the LORD God [is] a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no i good [thing] will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

(i) But will from time to time increase his blessings toward his more and more.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

A sun — To enlighten and quicken, and direct and comfort his people.

Shield — To save his people from all their enemies.

Grace — His favour, which is better than life.

Glory — The honour which comes from God here, and eternal glory.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

11.Jehovah God is our sun and shield. The idea conveyed by the comparison derived from the sun is, that as the sun by his light vivifies, nourishes, and rejoices the world, so the benign countenance of God fills with joy the hearts of his people, or rather, that they neither live nor breathe except in so far as he shines upon them. By the term shield is meant, that our salvation, which would otherwise be perilled by countless dangers, is in perfect safety under his protection. The favor of God in communicating life to us would be far from adequate to the exigencies of our condition, unless at the same time, in the midst of so many dangers, he interposed his power as a buckler to defend us. The sentence immediately succeeding, he will give grace and glory, might be viewed as meaning, that those whom God has distinguished by his grace in this world, will at length be crowned with everlasting glory in his heavenly kingdom. But this distinction between grace and glory being, I am afraid, too refined, it will be preferable to explain the sentence as implying, that after God has once taken the faithful into his favor, he will advance them to high honor, and never cease to enrich them with his blessings. (471) This interpretation is confirmed by the following clause, He will withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly, obviously teaching us, that God’s bounty can never be exhausted, but flows without intermission. We learn from these words, that whatever excellence may be in us proceeds solely from the grace of God. They contain, at the same time, this special mark, by which the genuine worshippers of God may be distinguished from others, That their life is framed and regulated according to the principles of strict integrity.

The exclamation with which David concludes the psalm, Blessed is the man who trusteth in thee, seems to refer to the season of his banishment. He had previously described the blessedness of those who dwell in the courts of the Lord, and now he avows, that although he was for a time deprived of that privilege, he was far from being altogether miserable, because he was supported by the best of all consolations, that which arose from beholding from a distance the grace of God. This is an example well worthy of special attention. So long as we are deprived of God’s benefits, we must necessarily groan and be sad in heart. But, that the sense of our distresses may not overwhelm us, we ought to impress it upon our minds, that even in the midst of our calamities we do not cease to be happy, when faith and patience are in exercise.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 84:11 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.

Ver. 11. For the Lord God is a sun and shield] A universal, all-sufficient, and satisfactory good, proportionate to our necessities.

The Lord will give grace and glory] One would think that were enough, yea, but then here is more than enough, "No good thing will he withhold," &c., and thence is David’s desire so to be about him.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Psalms 84:11

Perhaps no other object in nature has so many attributes that fit it to represent a supreme and invisible source of power, and life, and government as the sun.

I. Observe its universality, as a fit emblem of the universal power of God.

II. The forthstreaming of light and power from the sun has been going on through incomputable periods of time. Man's lamp is daily filled and trimmed, emblem of his own mind, that by rest and sleep refills its waste. The sun needs no trimming. God's lamp and God pour for ever untrimmed and unfilled. He is the God of ages, and yet is not old.

III. Consider also what an image of abundance the sun affords. God is everywhere in Scripture described as fruitful of effects, yet serene, quiescent, still. No being so little as God rests, and yet no being is conceived to be so quiescent as He.

IV. Sunlight not only bears light for guidance and heat for comfort, but has a stimulating and developing power. The sun exerts creative energy. All things presuppose the sun. The whole life of the animal and vegetable kingdom waits day by day for the ministering care and stimulus of the sun. And this is most significantly an image of that presence, and power, and nursing influence which resides in our God.

V. The sun is the centre of attraction, the holding force of the universe. Its invisible power harnesses all planets and stars. So God is the centre of power, and the centre of government.

VI. Consider that generosity and democracy which the sun exercises. The sun bears itself without partiality in infinite abundance and continuity. It is a life-giving stimulus to all things. And it is the emblem of God, of whom it is said, "He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."

VII. Prolific and infinite in benefit as the sun is, it is observable that only a part of its benefit is thrust upon man, and that that part is mainly that which concerns his lower necessities. If we would go further, and use the sun as artists use it, and draw out its subtler elements of beauty, we must study its laws in that direction and obey them. So it is with the Sun of righteousness. He sheds a providential watchfulness and protection upon all men, without regard to character; but if men would go higher and perfect the understanding, refine the moral sentiments, purify the heart, and come to be Godlike, developing the God that is in them, for this there is special labour required.

H. W. Beecher, Forty-eight Sermons, vol. i., p. 345.

References: Psalms 84:11.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., p. 252; R. S. Candlish, Sonship and Brotherhood of Believers, pp. 66, 79. Psalms 84:11, Psalms 84:12.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxviii., No. 1659. Psalm 84—Homiletic Magazine, vol. vi., p. 109, and vol. vii., p. 56; E. Johnson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxv., p. 75.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 84:11. The Lord God is a sun and shield A guard and shield. Houbigant and Bishop Hare. Others read, a fortress and a shield.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, We have here,

1. The Psalmist admiring the beauty of God's ordinances. How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! Externally the tabernacle appeared without beauty, but within all was glorious; there dwelt the Shechinah; there the incense smoked upon the golden altar, and the ministers of God performed the sacred service. More amiable still the gospel church appears, where God incarnate dwells, where incense of prayer and praise is continually offered, and the glad tidings of salvation proclaimed.

2. The fervent longings of his soul burst forth after God: perhaps now he was at a distance from the sanctuary, but his heart was there. My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth, for the courts of the Lord; so intensely were his desires after them: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God; importunate to be restored to the sanctuary, but most importunate to meet God there, and maintain delightful communion with him, in the ordinances of his service. Note; (1.) A soul which has no delight in God's house, can have no lot in his kingdom. (2.) The thing which makes all the acts of worship so desirable, is the communion therein maintained with the living God, the life and joy of our souls; and without this they are dry, barren, and formal.

3. He looks upon the little birds, and envies them as it were their happiness. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest, &c. even thine altars: not that we can suppose they literally built their nests in these altars, but near them; either in the houses adjoining to the sanctuary, or perhaps within the sacred inclosure; and this was a situation so desirable to the Psalmist, that with them he longed to dwell. Or, The birds have their nests, and lodge securely; but I, a wanderer, can find no resting-place absent from thine altars, my king, and my God: As such by faith the Psalmist regarded him, and intimates the hope he had, that as a faithful subject, and true worshipper, the Lord would hear his prayer, and bring him to his blest abode. Note; (1.) The meanest abode with God's presence, is better than a palace without him. (2.) They who know the value of the ordinances of God, will seek a settlement where they may be most profitably enjoyed. (3.) When faith can say, My King, and my God, we are sure that all our prayers will succeed.

4. He counts them most blessed, who are continually employed in the service and praise of God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; the ministers of the sanctuary, who were in constant attendance: they will be still praising thee; and surely, if there be ought like heaven upon earth, it is this blessed work. Note; (1.) However despicable in the eyes of men the service of the ministry may appear, it is of all employments the most blessed and honourable. (2.) They who draw nearest to God, and serve him most faithfully, see most abundant cause to praise him continually. (3.) All our strength cometh from the Lord; without him we cannot take one step heaven-ward. (4.) When the heart is engaged, we shall walk with pleasure in God's ways. (5.) Our way to heaven lies through many a difficult pass, and they who would be soldiers of Christ, must be ready to endure hardship. But when our tribulations abound, our consolations abound also; and perhaps the sweetest hours of our lives were those in which we struggled with the greatest obstacles. (6.) The farther a soul goes in the ways of God, the stronger it grows: Instaurabit iter vires. (7.) They can never faint, who make God the strength of their heart. (8.) It will be the unutterable felicity of the faithful soul in the heavenly Zion, to behold the King in his beauty, and to enjoy the uninterrupted vision of the blessed God.

2nd, Having testified his earnest desire after the courts of God's house, the Psalmist,

1. Intreats a gracious acceptance of his prayer. O Lord God of hosts, able to save to the uttermost, and supply the desires of every longing soul, hear my prayer, and give an answer of peace: give ear, O God of Jacob, our covenant God. Behold my present situation, and the ardent breath-ings of my heart, O God our shield, my protector, and the sure hope of every believer; and look upon the face of thine anointed; either himself, God's anointed king, or the Messiah, for whose sake he hoped God would be gracious to him; and in whose intercession he trusted, more than in his own supplications. Note; (1.) God's praying children may confidently expect their Father's blessing, and be assured that they shall not seek his face in vain. (2.) When God is our shield, then shall we be safe from fear of evil. (3.) Our confidence toward God stands solely on the foundation of the Redeemer's all-prevailing advocacy: when we look to him with an eye of faith, God will look on us with an eye of favour.

2. He professes the high regard that he had for God's courts. For a day in thy courts, spent in the blessed work of prayer and praise, meditation and communion with God, is better than a thousand spent in every delight which earth can give. I had rather be a door-keeper, employed in the meanest offices, as the lower Levites in the temple, or stand at the threshold, as the poor beggar, Acts 3:1-2 in the house of my God, which endeared relation afforded him the most enlivened satisfaction, and made the house of God so desirable, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. Note; (1.) They who never found delight in God's house and worship, prove themselves utter strangers to his grace and truth. (2.) One hour's communion with God is as much superior to all the joys of pleasurable sin, as heaven is higher than the earth.

3. He shews the ground of this preference. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; a sun to enlighten our spiritual darkness, and cheer us with his bright beams of love; a shield, to protect us from every danger. The Lord will give, freely and abundantly, grace, according to all our necessities; preventing, justifying, sanctifying, comforting, grace; and glory eternal in the heavens, the free gift of God in Jesus Christ our Lord, to every faithful soul. No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Indeed, what good can be conceived, which these two, grace and glory, do not include? Be it therefore our care to walk under the influence of such great and precious promises, and in simplicity and godly sincerity to approve our fidelity to God.

4. They who perseveringly trust God's promises are and shall be partakers of all this blessedness. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee. Though he may be unable to appear before God in his courts, he shall have all the blessings of the ordinances of which he is deprived. God is his portion, and what can he wish for more?*

* We have in these Reflections considered the Psalm according to its common interpretation; and have, indeed, in our Reflections observed this rule in the general.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

A precious view, this, in the double sense of it; and which plainly shows to whom it peculiarly belongs. Jehovah Elohim, in his threefold character of person, is all this abundantly. What signifies our darkness when Jesus is the light and the life of the soul? What power have enemies when Jesus becomes a shield? And if he give grace, he will also give glory; for grace is the Spirit's earnest and pledge of glory. It is the token of divine assurance. Grace here is to glory hereafter, as the bud is to the flower.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae



Psalms 84:11. The Lord God is a sun and a shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will be with hold from them that walk uprightly.

THE choice which every true Christian makes, affords matter of astonishment to the ungodly world. He prefers a life of godliness with all the odium attached to it, before all the pleasures and honours which he could possibly enjoy in the ways of sin. They, who look no further than to the concerns of time and sense, are amazed that so many sacrifices should be made without any visible recompence. Doubtless the choice of Moses must have been deemed marvellously absurd in the palace of Pharaoh [Note: Hebrews 11:24-26.]; as that also, which David deliberately made, must have been among his ungodly courtiers. But the reason assigned for it was sufficient to justify him in the eyes of every rational being [Note: ver. 10, 11. “I had rather,” &c. “For,” &c.].

His words lead us to shew,

I. The character of true Christians as here described—

“They walk uprightly” both towards God and man. Integrity in our dealings with man is an essential part of true uprightness, yet it is far from being the whole of what is comprehended in that term. Many act honestly from a mere sense of honour, while they pay no regard at all to their duties towards God. But sincere Christians act in a very different manner, they have respect to God in every thing, that they may approve themselves to him.

They search out their duty diligently—

[A child of God will not conclude hastily that he knows his duty. He is aware of the deceitfulness of sin, and the wickedness of his own heart. He knows that, if he blindly follow the dictates of an unenlightened conscience, he may commit murder itself under the idea of doing God service [Note: John 16:2. Acts 26:9.]. He therefore desires to have his judgment informed. For this end he reads the Holy Scriptures — — — and begs the Spirit of God to guide him into all truth — — — He is glad of instruction and reproof from his fellow-creatures, that he may be preserved from error. And the one desire of his heart is, to be freed from every undue bias — — — and to fulfil in all things the will of God.]

They perform it uniformly—

[Every true Christian labours to do unto others as he would have others do to him. But he does not rest satisfied with this. He strives to maintain the mastery over all his motives and principles of action — — — He endeavours to have his tempers regulated according to the word of God, and the example of his Lord and Saviour — — — He moreover watches unto secret prayer. He lives a life of communion with God — — — and of dependence on God — — — He would not make any exceptions or reserves — — — He longs to be free both from partiality and hypocrisy; and desires rather to descend from a throne to the place of a door-keeper in God’s house for the maintenance of his integrity, than to rise from the place of a door-keeper to a throne through the smallest violation of his duty [Note: ver. 10.]. He says with David, I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way [Note: Psalms 119:128.]. And with him also he prays, “O that my ways may be directed to keep thy statutes [Note: Psalms 119:5.]!”]

What delight God has in such characters we may see, if we consider,

II. The blessedness that shall be accorded to them—

We are here distinctly told what God will be to them—

[There is scarcely any thing noble or useful in the sphere of nature or of art, which is not used to illustrate the goodness of God towards his people. To the upright he will be “a sun.

How welcome is the sun to one who has been groping his dubious way during a long and dreary night [Note: This metaphor must not be taken in its full extent, but only in reference to a traveller.]. His path is now made clear, and he is enabled to avoid the stumbling-blocks which before obstructed his progress. Nor are its beams less refreshing to his body, than its light is useful to his feet. He now shakes off the anxieties and cares with which he was before disquieted. He feels his spirit exhilarated; and prosecutes his journey with ease and pleasure. Thus does God arise on those who have been sincerely occupied in doing his will. He causes light to arise in the darkness [Note: Psalms 112:4.]. Even when they were in darkness, he was a light unto them [Note: Micah 7:8.]; but now he dispels all the clouds, and shines upon them with healing in his beams [Note: Malachi 4:2.]. How sweet the change when the light of God’s countenance is thus lifted up upon them! How plain is now the way of duty, which before was dark and intricate! And how pleasant is it to “run the way of his commandments, now that their feet are set at liberty!”

He will also be to them “a shield.” The more upright they are, the more will Satan and the world combine against them. Men will strike at them with the sword of persecution; and Satan will cast at them the fiery darts of temptation. But God will “compass them with his favour as with a shield.” If they be wounded, he will heal them again, and overrule their momentary pain for their greater advantage. As for their head, he will surely protect it in the day of battle. He will perfectly secure them from every fatal blow. Nor shall any weapon that is formed against them be ever suffered finally to prosper [Note: Isaiah 54:17.].

Whilst God himself thus becomes their light and protection, he informs us further,]

What he will do for them—

[He will give them grace. Certain it is that he must have given them grace before, or else they never would have been able to attain to real uprightness. But, as their conflicts increase, he will give them more grace [Note: James 4:6.]. As particular occasions call for it, he will give them seasonable grace, even in the very time of need [Note: Hebrews 4:16.]. And if their temptations should exceed all that ever were experienced by man, he will give them grace sufficient for them [Note: 2 Corinthians 12:9.]. “My grace is sufficient for thee,” is his word to every soul, however buffeted by Satan, or ready to sink under the violence of his assaults. “They shall receive continually out of Christ’s fulness, even grace for grace.”

He will also give them glory. His favours to them shall not terminate with their present state of existence. He will not only make them more than conquerors here, but will give them an unfading crown of righteousness and glory in a better world. Whatever felicity the angels enjoy in heaven, that shall his saints also participate. And as our first parents were banished from the tree of life for yielding to the tempter, so shall they, who resist and overcome him, be admitted to the tree of life that grows in the midst of the paradise of God, and shall go no more out for ever [Note: Revelation 2:7.].

“Nor will he withhold from them any thing that is truly good.” Were wealth and honour good for them here below, they should possess it. If God withhold those things from his people now, he does it because he knows that they would not, on the whole, be good for them. He that gave his own Son to die for them, will assuredly give them all other things that will promote their welfare. They shall never want any thing for body or soul, for time or eternity.]


1. How truly blessed are they who are upright before God!

[This is the Psalmist’s own reflection [Note: ver. 12.]. He varies indeed the term by which he describes the people of God; but his meaning is the same; for none can be upright except those who trust in him, because nothing but the grace of God can make them so: nor do any trust in him without receiving that grace which shall make them upright. The manner in which he expresses his reflection, is worthy of notice; he does not merely assert it as a fact, or appeal to men for the truth of it, but appeals to God himself respecting it. “O Lord God of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.” How strong must have been the conviction of it in his mind! And can any thing be more clear? To have the Lord God himself for their light and defence, and to have all the blessings of grace and glory ensured to them by the unalterable promise of Jehovah; what can they have more? Let every upright soul then rejoice; for he is and shall be blessed. And let all be stirred up to walk worthy of their high calling. So shall God be glorified in them; and they, ere long, be glorified with him for evermore.]

2. In what a pitiable state are the generality of mankind!

[There are many who are honest and just even among the heathen. But, alas! the generality labour not in earnest to find out their duty; nor do they know any thing of that unreserved devotedness to God which characterizes the true Christian. Is God then a sun to them? Is he not rather a cloud of darkness to them, or rather, I should say, a consuming fire [Note: Exodus 14:20. Hebrews 12:29.]? Is he a shield to them? Is he not rather an irresistible adversary [Note: Matthew 5:25.]? Will he give them grace and glory? Shall he not rather visit them with wrath and fiery indignation [Note: Romans 2:8.]? Will he withhold from them no good? Is there not rather a time shortly coming when they shall not have so much as a drop of water to cool their tongue? O that men would consider this! Surely their state calls for much compassion. Let every one lay this to heart. Let every one seek to be found “an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.” And let it be the one ambition of us all to be found of God in peace, without spot and blameless [Note: 2 Peter 3:14.].]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

A sun, to enlighten, and quicken, and direct, and comfort all his people; whereas they that live without God in the world walk in darkness, and know not whither they go, as is said, John 12:35.

Shield, to save his people from all their enemies, and from those dreadful and deadly miseries which attend all other men.

Grace; his favour and friendship, which is better than life, Psalms 63:3, and all the blessed fruits of it.

Glory; not the vain-glory and splendour of this world, of which David would not have spoken so magnificently, because upon all occasions he expresseth a great contempt of those things; but the honour which comes from God here, and that eternal and ineffable glory laid up for God’s people in the future world.

No good thing; nothing that is truly good in itself, and which is good for them; for sometimes afflictions, which are evil in themselves, are good and necessary, and highly advantageous to good men; and the good things of this world would do them much hurt; which is verified by frequent experiments.

Them that walk uprightly; that worship God sincerely, and order their conversations aright; which clause David seems to me to add designedly to prevent or remove an objection against what he had now said, which might be taken from his own case, whereby it appeared that God was no such sun or shield to him, but exposed him to great and sore calamities; which being certain and evident, David here assigns the true reason of it, which was not from any defect in God’s goodness and sufficiency, but only from his own gross miscarriages, whereby he had clouded this sun, and cast away this shield, and forfeited these privileges by departing from his integrity.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

11. A sun—To enlighten, enliven, and gladden. See Malachi 4:2; Psalms 4:7.

Shield—The symbol of defence. Psalms 84:9.

Grace and glory—The idea is, salvation and honour. The spiritual sense must be put foremost, and the honour is that, primarily, which God gives to a pious nation or individual. 1 Samuel 2:30; Jeremiah 43:4.

Uprightly— See on Psalms 15.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 84:11. The Lord God is a sun — To enlighten, quicken, direct, and comfort all his people; whereas they that live without God in the world walk in darkness and know not whither they go, as is said John 12:35; and shield — To defend them from all their enemies, and from those dreadful and destructive miseries which attend all other men. The Lord will give grace — His favour and friendship, which are better than life. Psalms 63:3. And all the blessed fruits of it, especially the influences, gifts, and graces of his Spirit; and glory — Not the vain glory and splendour of this world, of which David would not have spoken so magnificently, because, upon all occasions, he expresses a great contempt of these things; but the honour which comes from God here, and that eternal and ineffable glory laid up for God’s people in the future world. No good thing will he withhold — Nothing that is truly good in itself, and which would be good for them. This should be well observed, because sometimes afflictions, which are evil in themselves, are good, and necessary, and highly advantageous to good men; while the good things of this world, as they are called, would be very hurtful to them, as is verified by frequent experiments. From them that walk uprightly — That worship and serve God sincerely, and order their conversation aright. Which clause David seems to add designedly, to prevent or remove an objection against what he had now advanced, which might be taken from his own case, whereby it appeared that God was no such sun or shield to him, but exposed him to great and sore calamities. Of which, as being certain and evident, David here assigns the true reason, which was, not any defect in God’s goodness and all-sufficiency, but only his own gross misconduct, whereby he had clouded this sun, and cast away this shield, and forfeited these privileges by departing from his integrity.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Kissed. Or, "embraced," like friends, as the ancient psalters read. The people practised these virtues after the captivity, and more particularly in the Church of Christ. (Calmet) --- At the time appointed, He reconciled sinners to his Father, having satisfied his justice, (Berthier) and displayed his own mercy. (Menochius) --- Thus justice is strictly observed, and peace made between God and man. (Worthington) --- The justice of the Father and the mercy of the Son kiss each other. (Du Hamel) (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

is a sun. Figure of speech Metaphor. The only occurrence, in the Psalms, of this metaphor. It is used of Messiah, Malachi 4:2

grace and glory. Not the former without the latter (Romans 8:29, Romans 8:30). The former is the flower, the latter the fruit.

No good thing, &c. Figure of speech Tapeinosis = every good thing, beyond all mention, will He give.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield. This assigns the reason why the favour of the Lord with poverty and exile is preferable to riches and home without God. For the Lord God ( Yahweh (Hebrew #3068) 'Elohiym (Hebrew #430)) is a sun to enlighten (Psalms 27:1; Isaiah 60:19-20; Malachi 4:2; Revelation 21:23), and a shield to protect on all sides. Faith has already laid hold of the answer to the prayer in Psalms 84:9, "Behold, O God our shield."

The Lord will give grace and glory - "grace" now, and "glory" hereafter: as in Christ's case the sufferings come first, accompanied with "grace" to bear them, the "glory" afterward and abidingly. On the contrary, the "glory" of the wicked man's house may now seem "increased," but "his glory shall not descend after him" when he dieth (Psalms 49:16-17).

No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly - in the uprightness of faith (Habakkuk 2:4); in sincerity toward God and integrity toward man (Psalms 15:2).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

A Sun and a Shield

The Lord God is a sun and a shield.—Psalms 84:11.

An ancient legend tells that Abraham, in his untaught devoutness and yearning reverence. took the sun for his God until he observed the setting of its beams in the west. In the absence of authentic revelation, it is no more strange that reflective and reverential minds should exclaim, in the presence of a world of light, “The sun is our God,” than that the Heaven-instructed Hebrew singer, dwelling in the light of God’s countenance, should declare, “The Lord God is a sun”; for a more fitting material symbol of God than the sun it would be difficult to find, whether we consider the vastness of it, the glory of it, or the beneficence of it. Hidden by its very glory! So far off, yet finding out our distant world and bathing it in its genial warmth, breathing about it a new hope! So mighty, yet so gentle! Stooping not only to the lowest and least forms of life, but ministering to its hidden and shapeless beginnings.

Could there be a more felicitous and apposite representation of Him of whom an Apostle wrote: “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all”? As the sun opens the gates of day, floods the world with light, gives it without stint to palace or cottage, to peasant and prince, and enables us to discern a thousand pleasing objects, so God shines into our lives and gives us power to see a thousand moral glories. The secret of seeing is not in us. God is the great revealer. We are the organs favoured with the holy visions. We can see only what He is pleased to show us. But He is not slow to reveal Himself to our understanding, nor is the light inadequate. No nook or corner of our being need go unirradiated. If we open the life to God as we open the eye to the sun, we shall no longer be children of the darkness. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Nowhere else in the Old Testament is Jehovah directly called a sun, though the ideas conveyed by the metaphor are frequent. Cp. Psalms 27:1; Isaiah 10:17; Isaiah 60:19-20; Malachi 4:2. Perhaps the prevalence of sun-worship in the East led to the avoidance of so natural and significant a metaphor. Even here the oldest Versions either had a different reading or shrank from a literal rendering. The LXX and Theodotion have: “For the Lord God loveth mercy and truth.” The Targ. paraphrases: “For the Lord God is like a high wall and a strong shield,” reading shemesh (=sun), but taking it in the sense of “battlement” (R.V. “pinnacles”), which it has in Isaiah 54:12. The Syr. gives: “Our sustainer and our helper.” Only the later Greek Versions render the Massoretic text literally.1 [Note: A. F. Kirkpatrick, The Book of Psalms, 509.]

In his Hibbert Lectures on the Religion of the Babylonians Professor Sayce quotes a hymn to Samas the Sun-god, beginning:

O Sun-god, king of heaven and earth, director of things above and below,

O Sun-god, thou that clothest the dead with life, delivered by thy hands,

Judge unbribed, director of mankind,

Supreme is the mercy of him who is the lord over difficulty,

Bidding the child and offspring come forth, light of the world,

Creator of all thy universe, the Sun-god art thou.

Another time Napoleon breaks out [in conversation with Gourgaud]: “Were I obliged to have a religion, I would worship the sun—the source of all life—the real God of the earth.”2 [Note: Lord Rosebery, Napoleon: The Last Phase, 171.]

I heard a Saint cry to the Sun—“Be dim.

Why shouldst thou rule on high with boastful ray,

Till fools adore thee as the God of Day,

Robbing thy Master’s honour due to Him?”

But the sun-spirit, thro’ each radiant limb

Translucent as a living ember coal,

Glowed. At the anger of the seraph soul

His golden orb trembled from boss to rim.

Then made he answer as a dove that sings,

“God’s glory is my glory, and my praise

Only His praising. They, who kneel to me,

See thro’ the waving of my orient wings

A choir of stars with voices like the sea,

Singing hosanna in the heavenly ways.”3 [Note: Lord De Tabley.]


God is a Sun

1. The sun is the centre of power in the system where it stands. There is nothing that can hold out against it. All planets are obliged to own their allegiance to it. They march to its music. They cannot wander or get out of the path which its power prescribes for them. The sun is the governor of the planetary kingdom—central, uncontradicted, unwasting, unexhausted and inexhaustible, steadfast, going forth for ever and for ever. So there is a sublime centre in that higher creation, in conscious human life. In the realm of intelligence, in the realm of righteousness or morality, in the great superior realm of mind, there is a central power. Amidst all the apparent detonations and explosions and miscarriages of minor human life upon this sphere there is, nevertheless, a great central influence that is holding mankind to their career, to their general orbit. The government of God in its extensiveness, in its patient perseverance, in its power universal, could not be more fitly represented than by this symbolization of the sun itself. The universality of God—“omnipresence,” as it is called—is a thing somewhat difficult to be understood, as all things that reach toward or are born of the infinite are to finite intelligence; nevertheless, the outreaching of the sun is everywhere. Both of the poles recognize its presence. The equator never abandons the light and warmth of the sun. Wherever the earth and all its luminaries may travel, and wherever the satellites of the sun may go, there is its power. There is no thunder, no utterance in it. It is silent, but it is there.

Fénelon had many friends affectionately attached to him, in Versailles, Paris, and other parts of France; but in his banishment he saw them but very seldom. Many of them were persons of eminent piety. “Let us all dwell,” he says in one of his letters, “in our only Centre, where we continually meet, and are all one and the same thing. We are very near, though we see not one another; whereas others, who even live in the same house, yet live at a great distance. God reunites all, and brings together the remotest points of distance in the hearts that are united to Him. I am for nothing but unity; that unity which binds all the parts to the centre. That which is not in unity is in separation; and separation implies a plurality of interests, self in each too much fondled. When self is destroyed, the soul reunites in God; those who are united in God are not far from each other. This is the consolation which I have in your absence, and which enables me to bear this affliction patiently, however long it may continue.”1 [Note: T. C. Upham, Life of Madame Guyon, 455.]

2. Another idea is suggested by the sun. Many of us have been oppressed by the thought of a distant God; we sometimes have thought of Him as far away, as having His throne in the remote heaven of heavens. But if the sun can have its being ninety million miles away, and yet can fall with such power as to heat a continent, and with such exquisite nicety as to make the rosebud redden, why should it seem a thing incredible to us that the Creator who fashioned that glorious lamp should dwell apart immeasurably far, yet touch and turn and bless and save humanity? He takes up the isles as a very little thing—the nations before Him are as nothing. Yet He knows the way that I take; He understands my thought; He will not quench the smoking flax nor break the bruised reed. Powerful, yet very far away; thoughtful and tender, though hidden in the distance.

God is the God of all, and yet He is my God. At the same moment He pervades heaven and earth, takes charge of the sustenance, progress, and growing happiness of the unbounded creation, and He is present with me, as intent upon my character, actions, wants, trials, joys, and hopes, as if I were the sole object of His love.2 [Note: W. E. Channing.]

3. God is a sun: that is infinity of blessing. No man among us can conceive the measure of the light and heat of the sun. They are beyond conception great. Light and heat have been continually streaming forth throughout many ages, yet all that has come forth of it is far less than that which still remains. For all practical purposes the light and heat of the sun are infinite; and certainly in God all blessedness is absolutely infinite. There is no measuring it. We are lost. We can only say, “Oh, the depths of the love and goodness of God!” In being heirs of God we possess all in all. There is no bound to our blessedness in God. Further, if God be called a sun, it is to let us know that we have obtained an immutability of blessedness, for He is “the Father of lights with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” God is not love to-day and hate to-morrow; He saith, “I am God, I change not.” There are said to be spots in the sun which diminish the light and heat which we receive; but there are no such spots in God; He shines on with the boundless fulness of His infinite love toward His people in Christ Jesus. “This God is our God for ever and ever.” If we were to live as long as Methuselah, we should find His love and power and wisdom to be the same, and we might confidently count upon being blessed thereby. What treasures of mercy do we possess in being able to say, “O God, thou art my God”! We have the source of mercy, the infinity of mercy, and the immutability of mercy to be our own.

What is the glory of the sun? Is it its power, its energy, or is it not the way in which it finds out things one by one and gives itself away to them? I have watched the sun rising amidst the mountains, crowning them with gold and robing them with purple, until they stood like lords-in-waiting arrayed for the coming of their king, and it has seemed in keeping with the sun’s greatness. But little by little it rose higher, and now it covered the fir trees with glory, and now it lit up the moss of the rock. Still higher rose the sun, and then it reached the meadows, and every tiny grass blade caught its warmth and energy, and every flower had its golden cup filled to the brim. And lower still it went down, to the seeds that were buried in darkness, and whispered to them of hope, and put new strength into them. Think if I could tell the tiny flower how far off the sun is, how many myriads of miles away, how great it is, how splendid in its majesty. “Surely,” the flower would say, “it can never stoop to me, or find me out, or care for me, or minister to my want!” Ah, but it does; it gives itself to the flower with such tenderness and thoroughness as if there were not another in the round world. Surely this is the glory of our God. We think of Him in the greatness of His power. We sing of Him, “Who is like unto thee … glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” But is not this His glory, that He comes to us away by ourselves, one by one, and gives Himself to us separately, stooping to the lowest, reaching to the farthest off, finding out the most hidden? The sun is not going to put to shame the ingenuity of our Father’s love.1 [Note: M. G. Pearse, The God of our Pleasures, 56.]

Behold the sun, that seemed but now

Enthroned overhead,

Beginning to decline below

The globe whereon we tread;

And he, whom yet we look upon

With comfort and delight,

Will quite depart from hence anon,

And leave us to the night.

Thus time, unheeded, steals away

The life which nature gave;

Thus are our bodies every day

Declining to the grave;

Thus from us all our pleasures fly

Whereon we set our heart;

And when the night of death draws nigh

Thus will they all depart.

Lord! though the sun forsake our sight,

And mortal hopes are vain,

Let still Thine everlasting light

Within our souls remain;

And in the nights of our distress

Vouchsafe those rays divine,

Which from the Sun of Righteousness

For ever brightly shine!1 [Note: George Wither.]

4. Without a favourable medium and a suitable object, the sunlight can do little. All the sunlight of all time cannot illumine a man who is blind. The suns of all the seasons can avail nothing for the dead. There must be the faculty to receive the light and to respond to it. The sun cannot give life, it can only develop it. It cannot transform the nature. But He who is the Light of the World is also the Lord and Giver of life. See Him by whom grace and truth come to us. See Him as He bends over the couch of the dead maiden, and, taking her by the hand, says, “Maiden, arise.” See Him as He lays those fingers on the blind man’s eyes and says, “Be opened.” In Him the blessed grace of forgiveness is ours. His coming is in relation to our sins—His very name is Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” He gives to us a new nature whose instinct it is to know God and to serve Him. He will give grace. And we have to receive that grace, and avail ourselves of it. The golden sun shall in vain pour its beauty where the plough has not turned the furrow and the seed-corn has not been flung. Man’s work is to avail himself of the sun and to adapt himself to its times and seasons. And even so it is with God’s grace. It cannot avail him anything who does not receive it and respond to it. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.”

Richard Jefferies is closely akin to Wordsworth in his overpowering consciousness of the life in nature. This consciousness is the strongest force in him, so that at times he is almost submerged by it, and he loses the sense of outward things. In this condition of trance the sense of time vanishes; there is, he asserts, no such thing, no past, or future, only now, which is eternity. In The Story of my Heart, a rhapsody of mystic experience and aspiration, he describes in detail several such moments of exaltation or trance. He seems to be peculiarly sensitive to sunshine. As the moon typifies to Keats the eternal essence in all things, so to Jefferies the sun seems to be the physical expression or symbol of the central Force of the world, and it is through gazing on sunlight that he most often enters into the trance state.1 [Note: C. F. E. Spurgeon, Mysticism in English Literature, 68.]

Francis Thompson in his “Orient Ode” seems to worship the Sun, but it is because he finds Christ in that symbol:

Lo, of thy Magians I the least

Haste with my gold, my incenses and myrrhs,

To thy desired epiphany, from the spiced

Regions and odorous of Song’s traded East.

Thou, for the life of all that live

The victim daily born and sacrificed;

To whom the pinion of this longing verse

Beats but with fire which first thyself did give,

To thee, O Sun—or is’t, perchance, to Christ?2 [Note: E. Meynell, The Life of Francis Thompson (1913), 210.]

5. The heat and light of the sun come to this world through the surrounding atmosphere. Without the envelope of closely clinging air that engirdles this globe like some diaphanous garment, the heat of the sun and all the light of it would fall ineffectually on the earth. When we climb a mountain we get nearer the sun; would one not naturally think that it ought to get hotter there? As a matter of fact it gets colder as we rise till we reach the peaks that are robed with perpetual snow. The reason is that we are piercing through that air which wraps and enwraps this little earth of ours. It is the atmosphere that mediates the sun, that catches and stores and distributes the heat. Were there no air, but only empty space, then the greenest valley would be like Mont Blanc, and the tropics would be icebound in a perpetual winter, though the sun in itself were as fiery-hot as ever.

May we not make use of this mystery of nature to illuminate a kindred mystery of grace? It is one of the ways of God to grant His blessings through an intermediary. You say that the sun is the source of heat and light; why then should anything be intruded between earth and sun? One can only answer, So the Creator works—without that mediating element all is lost. You say that God is the source of love and blessing; why should anything intervene betwixt God and man? One can only answer that it is the way of heaven to grant its richest blessing through a mediator. How often men and women have said, “I do not feel any need of Christ or Calvary. I believe in God, I reverence and worship God; but the sacrifice and the atonement just confuse me. They appear to be outside of me altogether; I cannot make them real to my heart.” But through every sphere of God’s activity runs the great principle of mediation. The presence of Christ is like the air, making available for our need the love of God. Remove the atmosphere, and the sun will still shine in heaven. Take away Jesus, and God will still be love. Banish the air, and the sun will not lose its heat. Banish the Christ, and God will not lose His power. But with the air gone, the glory of the sun will never so fall as to bless our little world, and with Jesus banished, the mercy and love of God may stream on other realms but not on ours. Christ is the mediator of the better covenant. He stands—the vital breath—’twixt God and us. Through Him the sunshine of heaven’s love can reach us, and in the rays of that sunshine we are blessed.

What was said with truth of Bishop Fraser of Manchester was, in a less direct and practical way, true of Stanley: “He was daily bringing down light from Heaven into the life of other people.” No one could long come in contact with Stanley without feeling that he was walking in the light, and without being affected by its radiation. It was this background that gave dignity to his simplicity of character, that preserved the spiritual elements of his nature from materialism, that gilded his social intercourse with a tenderness, an unobtrusiveness, a sincerity, an evenness of temper, and a consideration for others, that permeated, purified, and strengthened the society in which he moved.1 [Note: R. E. Prothero, Life of Dean Stanley, ii. 23.]


God is a Shield

To the Psalmist God was not only a Sun radiating forth good but also a Shield protecting from evil—the source not only of life and joy but also of security. As the Sun, God may be considered as dwelling in inaccessible light; whilst as a Shield He may be regarded as so protecting His people that they cannot be approached. Life may be looked upon as a battle-field, on which we have protection from God, if we are on His side; for the battle is His. By the figure of a shield, this verse is connected with Psalms 84:9 : “Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.”

The ancient warrior bore strapped on his arm a shield of brass or of wood covered with leather, armed with which he rushed into battle and turned death aside. In modern warfare the shield is quite unserviceable; it hangs with bows and arrows in the museum of ancient armour. But, as Parker says,” No word ever becomes obsolete which has once deeply touched the heart of humanity. The shield will always be a weapon of spiritual warfare; God will never cease to be a shield to all them that trust in Him.” The believer’s defence is complete; before and behind, on the right hand and on the left, he is beset by the protective power of God. This was a favourite thought of Luther’s, whose famous spiritual battle-song opens with the words:

A safe stronghold our God is still,

A trusty shield and weapon.

“What will you do,” Luther was asked, “if the Duke, your protector, should no longer harbour you?” “I will take my shelter,” he answered, “under the broad shield of Almighty God.” Modern nations, with their immense armies and fleets, are apt to forget how insecure they are without that Divine protection. Foolish are they if they “put their trust in reeking tube and iron shard.” He who spread His shield over Abraham and his little Hebrew army must equally be the “Lord of the far-flung battle line.” He is the ultimate safeguard of all national greatness, and no weapon formed against Him shall prosper.1 [Note: J. Strachan, Hebrew Ideals, i. 74.]

1. The Lord is to us first a sun and then a shield. Remember how David puts it elsewhere: “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” Light first, salvation next. He does not save us in the dark, neither does he shield us in the dark. He gives enough sunlight to let us see the danger so that we may appreciate the defence. We are not to shut our eyes and so find safety, but we are to see the evil and hide ourselves. Ought we not to be very grateful to God that He so orders our affairs? Ours is not a blind faith, receiving an unknown salvation from evils which are unperceived; this would be a poor form of life at best. No, the favour received is valued because its necessity is perceived. The heavenly Sun lights up our souls, and makes us see our ruin and lie down in the dust of self-despair; and then it is that grace brings forth the shield which covers us, so that we are no more afraid, but rejoice in the glorious Lord as the God of our salvation.

Most people in their religious experience think of God as a shield. He stands between them and the storm. They hide beneath the shadow of His wings. It is the religion of special Providence and of Divine interposition. God shields His people from the burning heat. Religion is a protective system—a very present help in time of trouble. Some people, on the other hand, think of God as a sun. When all is bright and cloudless, then they can believe, but when it storms, then the universe seems Godless. When God is in heaven, all’s right with the world. I remember a comfortable and church-going citizen who was over-taken by a great domestic sorrow, and said of it, “It never occurred to me that such a thing could happen.” He had grown so in the habit of living in the sunshine that he was as helpless as a child in the dark.2 [Note: F. G. Peabody.]

2. Look at the text in another way. When the sun shines upon a man he is made the more conspicuous by it. Suppose a hostile army to be down in the plain, and a soldier in our ranks is sent upon some errand by his captain. He must pass along the hillside. The sun shines upon him as he tries to make his way among the rocks and trees. Had it been night he could have moved safely, but now we fear that the enemy will surely pick him off; for the sunshine has made him conspicuous. He will have need to be shielded from the many cruel eyes. Christian men are made conspicuous by the very fact of their possessing God’s grace. “Ye are the light of the world,” and a light must be seen. “A city set on a hill cannot be hid.” If God gives light, He means that light to be seen; and the more light He gives us the more conspicuous we shall be. He is our sun, and He shines upon us; we reflect His light, and so become ourselves a light; and in doing so we run necessary risks. The more brightly we shine the more will Satan and the world try to quench our light. This, then, is our comfort. The Lord God, who is a sun to us, will also be a shield to us. Did He not say to Abraham, “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward”?

By the term shield is meant that our salvation, which would otherwise be perilled by countless dangers, is in perfect safety under God’s protection. The favour of God in communicating life to us would be far from adequate to the exigencies of our condition, unless at the same time, in the midst of so many dangers, He interposed His power as a buckler to defend us.1 [Note: Calvin.]

Grove mentioned that at some period when Havana was under martial law, a man had been killed in a row in the street. Everybody ran away except an Englishman, who, having nothing to do with the murder, thought there was no occasion to do so, and was, of course, immediately arrested. Some one naturally was found to swear that he was the culprit, and he was sentenced to be shot next morning. The English Consul (Mr. Crawford), hearing what was going on, went in full uniform to the place of execution and claimed the man as a British subject. The officer in charge of the firing party showed his orders, and said he could not give him up. “Very well,” said Mr. Crawford, “at least you will not object to my shaking hands with him before he is shot?” “By no means,” was the answer. He then walked up, whipped the Union Jack out of his pocket and threw it round the man. “Now,” he said to the officer, “shoot if you dare.” The officer applied for instructions to the Governor, and the prisoner’s innocence was soon made clear.2 [Note: M. E. Grant Duff, Notes from a Diary, 1892–5, i. 126.]


Davies (D.), Talks with Men, Women and Children, v. 145.

Foxell (W. J.), God’s Garden, 142.

Kirkpatrick (A. F.), The Book of Psalms (Cambridge Bible), 509.

Maclaren (A.), The Book of Psalms (Expositor’s Bible), ii. 449.

Morrison (G. H.), The Unlighted Lustre, 65.

Peabody (F. G.), Mornings in the College Chapel, ii. 127.

Pearce (J.), The Alabaster Box, 96.

Pearse (M. G.), The God of Our Pleasures, 49.

Spurgeon (C. H.), Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, xxviii. (1882), No. 1659.

Voysey (C.), Sermons, xi. (1888), No. 20.

Wiseman (N.), Children’s Sermons, 36.

Christian World Pulpit, xxiv. 332 (H. W. Beecher).

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
a sun
27:1; Isaiah 60:19,20; Malachi 4:2; John 1:9; 8:12; Revelation 21:23
9; 3:3; 47:9; 115:9-11; 119:114; Genesis 15:1; Proverbs 2:7
the Lord
John 1:16; Romans 8:16-18; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:17; Philippians 1:6
34:9,10; 85:12; Matthew 6:33; Philippians 4:19
15:2; Proverbs 2:7; 10:9; 28:6,18; Micah 2:7; Galatians 2:14

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible

Psalm 84:11

"The Lord will give grace and glory." Psalm 84:11

Wherever the Lord gives grace, he in and with that grace gives glory. We, therefore, read, "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Thus he has already made them, even while on earth, partakers of his glory; and this by making them partakers of his grace; for as in the bud is the bloom, and in the bloom the fruit, so in budding grace is blooming glory—grace being but glory begun, and glory being but grace finished.

But what is "glory?" Viewed as future, in its full consummation, it is to be with Jesus in realms of eternal bliss, where tears are wiped from off all faces; it is to see him as he is; to be conformed to his glorious likeness; to be delivered from all sin and sorrow; to be perfectly free from all temptations, trials, burdens, and exercises, and to dwell forever in that happy land, "the inhabitants of which shall not say, I am sick;" where a weary body, a burdened conscience, a troubled heart, a faint and weary mind, are utterly and forever unknown.

In a word, it is to have a glorified body Revelation -united to a glorified soul, and for both to be as full of happiness and holiness, bliss and blessedness, as an immortal spirit can hold, and an immortal frame can endure, drinking in to the full, with unutterable satisfaction but without satiety, the pleasures that are at God"s right hand for evermore.

But no human heart can conceive, nor human tongue unfold in what the nature and fullness of this glory consist; for "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of Prayer of Manasseh , the things which God has prepared for those who love him." Yet all this glory will the Lord give to those upon whom he has already bestowed his grace. He gives them grace now, to bring them through this wilderness world, this valley of tears, this scene of temptation, sin, and sorrow; and when he lands them on that happy shore, he gives them there the fullness of his glory. Then will be fully accomplished the Redeemer"s prayer and will—"Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me; for you loved me before the foundation of the world" ( John 17:24).

Their right and title to the enjoyment of this predestinated inheritance are securely lodged in the hands of their covenant Head; and he living at God"s right hand to save them to the uttermost, all their temptations, enemies, sins, and sorrows can never hinder them from reaching the shore on which God has decreed they shall safely land. Satan may spread a thousand snares to entangle their feet; not a day or scarcely an hour may pass that they are not burdened with indwelling sin; a myriad of lusts may start up in arms from the depths of their carnal mind; and many a pang of guilt and chill of despair may seem at times wholly to cut them off from eternal life. But yet, where the Lord has given grace he will give glory; for when he gives grace with the left hand, he gives glory with the right; yes, we may say that with both hands he gives at once both grace and glory; for as grace and glory flow out of the same loving heart, and are given by the same loving God, they may be said to be given by both hands at one and the same time. A portion or foretaste of this glory is given on earth in every discovery of the glory of Christ; as the Lord speaks, "And the glory which you gave me I have given them"—already given them; and this he did when "he manifested forth his glory, and his disciples believed on him" ( John 17:22; 2:11).

"For the Lord God is a sun and shield." Psalm 84:11

Is not the sun made to shine? It is his nature to do so. So it is with the SUN of righteousness; he is made to shine. And does the natural sun lose any of his light by shining? Why, the more he shines, the more light he seems to have. For ages he has shone as brightly as now. His beams were as glorious before we had birth or being, and will be as glorious when the eyes which now see him are mouldering in the dust. Thousands of harvests has he ripened, millions and thousands of millions has he fed; but he shows no sign of exhaustion or decay.

And does Jesus lose anything by communicating his light, life, love, and grace? He is all the more glorified thereby; and the more you look to him as the Sun, that as such he might shine into and upon your soul, the more you glorify him as the Sun of righteousness. When in the morning we throw the shutters back, or draw up the blinds, it is to receive the sun into the dark room. So the more we are enabled by divine grace to throw back the shutters of doubt and fear, and draw up the blinds of unbelief which hang down over the mind, the more we glorify the Lord Jesus by receiving out of his fullness, and grace for grace.

Oh! it is good to be sometimes enabled to look beyond and above doubts, fears, misgivings, and the many things that try the mind. You may pore over your sins and miseries until you fall well-near into despair; you may look back upon your wanderings, inconsistencies, and lack of fruitfulness, until you are almost ready to sink down without hope and die. To do this is to resemble a person wandering in a dark room, tumbling over the furniture, and at last sitting down and saying, "There is no light." If he can but throw back the shutters, the sun will shine into the room.

So we sometimes may sit pondering over our many inconsistencies until we say, "There is no light in my soul; there never was, and there never will be." O to be enabled (when I speak thus, I know well, from soul experience, that it is only God who can do it in us and for us) to throw back the shutters, and look away from those things that so weigh down the mind! Look up, O sinking soul, and see the blessed Sun still shining in the skies of heaven! Why, the very power to do this, the very act of doing Song of Solomon , brings with it a felt blessedness.

How good, also, to be enabled to make use of Christ as a SHIELD! Oh, how often we go to battle without this shield upon our arm! But depend upon it, the Lord would not have provided such a shield for you unless he knew that your enemies were too many for you. Doubt, fear, darkness, despair, the law, the accusations of a guilty conscience, the fiery darts of the devil—how can you fight against these enemies without a shield? Why, you would be like a soldier going out against the foe without either sword or musket, and laying his bosom bare to every weapon, without sword or bayonet in his hand to defend himself.

Song of Solomon , to go into combat against the law; the accusations of a guilty conscience, and a desponding heart, and have no blessed Jesus to hold up as a shield against these deadly foes, would be enough to sink a man into despair. But if he is enabled to make use of the shield that God has provided, and to hold Christ up against a condemning law, a guilty conscience, an accusing devil, and a desponding mind, and say to them all, "Christ has died, and died for me," then he receives into the shield those darts which would otherwise sink into his soul, and then they all fall harmless, because they all fell on the Lord Jesus.

"No good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly." Psalm 84:11

There are those who walk uprightly, very uprightly, in the fear of God, and yet have little comfortable or abiding evidence that they are at present partakers of God"s grace, or will be hereafter sharers of Christ"s glory. But this one evidence they certainly do possess, though they can take no present comfort from it, that they walk uprightly before God and man. Let no one, however deeply experienced or highly favored, despise this evidence of grace in others; and you who walk uprightly from a living principle of godly fear have here a marked testimony from the Lord himself that he has a special regard for you.

But what is it to "walk uprightly?" Oh! here is the grand difficulty in religion. We may talk; we may preach; we may hear; we may seem to believe; but it is when we come to Acts , to walk, and carry out into daily and hourly practice what we profess, that the main difficulty is felt and found. "The soul of religion," says Bunyan, "is the practical part;" and it is when we come to this "practical part" that the daily, hourly cross commences. The walk, the conversation, the daily, hourly conduct Isaiah , after all, the main difficulty, as it is the all-important fruit of a Christian profession. To walk day after day, under all circumstances, and amid all the varied temptations that beset us, uprightly, tenderly, and sincerely in the fear of God; to feel continually that heart, lip, and life are all open before his all-penetrating eye; to do the things which he approves, and to flee from the things which he abhors—oh! this in religion is the steep hill which it is such a struggle to climb! We can talk fast enough; but oh! to walk in the straight and narrow path; to be a Christian outwardly as well as inwardly, before God and Prayer of Manasseh , before the Church and the world; and in all points to speak and act with undeviating consistency with our profession—this is what nature never has done, and what nature never can do. In thus acting, as much as in believing, do we need God"s power and grace to work in, and be made manifest in us.

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Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on Psalms 84:11". Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible.

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