The Shield at my Right Hand
Recently, I have been mildly addicted to the Facebook game called ‘Marvel Avengers Alliance’, not least because it brings back so many fond memories of my secondary school days when I would save up my allowance money to buy Marvel comics to read secretly in my bedroom. The Fantastic Four, X-Men, the Hulk, Ms. Marvel, Dr. Strange…these are the guys whom I grew up with! But I digress. In this game, some characters have the ability to shield their allies from danger such as the Invisible Woman’s Force Field or Storm’s Protective Shroud or the Agent’s Magnetic Field Generator. Here’s a cool screenshot!
But all of these ‘shields’ either have a limited lifespan or can only last for a limited duration. However, last Sunday during church service, I was reminded that we have one shield that will never run out and will always be there to defend us.
“The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shield at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.” (Psalm 121: 5-6)
Pastor Ed mentioned this verse in his sermon, and while I know that there are many verses in the Bible that speaks of how God is a shield for us, I never viewed this verse in the way he expounded. He said that most of us are right-handed and so if we were to fight in ancient times, we would wield our sword in our right hand, and our shield in our left. So he asks, why does this verse say that the Lord is a shield at our right hand? The beautiful explanation Pastor Ed gave was that our Lord is a shield on our right side because that is our most vulnerable side. Our God protects us where He knows we are weakest.
The reason Pastor Ed brought this up was because the focus of his Easter sermon was Romans 8:34 (“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”) And what was amazing was also how he gave his explanation of what Jesus sitting at the right hand of God could mean. While he acknowledges that the traditional interpretation of Jesus being at the place of highest honour is right, he believes that there is another way of seeing it. In the ancient Sanhedrin court where 23 judges sat in judgement of a trial, there were two scribes seated on the left and right sides of the judges. The scribe on the left recorded the sentences of guilt and punishment, whereas the scribe on the right recorded the sentences of innocence and acquittal. Pastor Ed believes that this is also the picture of Jesus who is ever interceding on our behalf in heaven and pleading our innocence – not because of any good works we have done, but because of what He did on the cross: the ultimate price of atonement.