By Rev Victor Neill
The Psalmist, because his trust and confidence is in the Lord, rightly views the Lord as his 'Keeper‘. The word used here means ‘to keep, to preserve, to observe‘. So the fact is - the Lord is always on guard, always on the lookout, never for a moment does He take His eye off His children, in the fullest sense we are ‘the apple of His eye‘. The prophet Zechariah reminds us of this fact ‘for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye‘ (2 v 8).
We are further encouraged by the remainder of the verse ‘the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand‘. 'Shade’ here means ‘defence’. In battle, the shield to protect was carried on the left hand with the sword in the right hand, so the Lord being 'the Shade upon thy right hand‘ is defending/protecting ‘the right hand‘, which was more vulnerable, the Lord was, as it were ‘a second shield’! When humanly speaking we have done all we can to protect ourselves from the Coronavirus – let us remember the Lord is ‘the shade’ – the defence on the ‘right hand’ - the second shield!!
Let me finish by quoting a beautiful poem/hymn based on this verse and written by Augustus Toplady.
‘A Sovereign Protector I have,
unseen, yet ever at hand:
Unchangeably faithful to save,
Almighty to rule and command!
He smiles and my comforts abound;
His grace as the dew shall descend;
And walls of salvation surround
the soul He delights to defend.
Inspirer and hearer of prayer,
Thou Shepherd and Guardian of Thine,
My all to thy covenant care,
I sleeping and waking resign,
If Thou art my Shield and my Sun,
The night is no darkness to me;
And fast as my moments roll on,
they bring me but nearer to Thee.’