I love Psalm 84:11. It says, “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.”
So, this says to me that if I keep myself from sin and basically be a good person, God will bless me with good things and will not take those things away from me. Right?
However, when I think of those precious believers on the mission field who suffer so much, and when I think of the bible character Job, I start to doubt. The bible says that Job “was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil” (Job 1:1). Yet God took all his wealth and possessions away from him and also his health. So it seems that God withheld all the “good” that He had previously given him.
Well, I know that the bible is true, so I thought that I must be missing something. Here is what I came up with, in three points.
1. Study of Psalm 84:11. For this we will look at the Albert Barns commentary and the Wycliffe commentary.
[For the LORD God is a sun] The sun gives light, warmth, beauty, to the creation; so God is the source of light, joy, happiness, to the soul. Compare Isa 60:19; Rev 21:23; 22:5.
[And shield] See Ps 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. Rom 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 Tim 4:8; Phil 4:19.
God, like the chief heavenly body in the physical realm, is the sole source of all our spiritual power, energy, and light. He is our protection, and He bestows needed grace in this life and glory in the life to come.
My comments. Just as the sun is a source of goodness to us, God is the source of all good things to man. And God is also our shield—our protector.
God will give us grace (favor) and glory (honor in the next world). Grace and glory are connected, and one follows the other. He who gets favor in this life also gets God’s glory in the life to come.
“No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (who are true believers). That is, God will not withhold anything from us that we need in this life that we should have that will prepare us for the next life. All that we need in order to prepare us for a heaven, He will give to us—and it will be good—good for us, or good for our godliness and spiritual growth.
So I think “good thing” in this verse may be misleading. I don’t think it means merely things that make us happy in this life. The good things must also benefit the next life. Therefore, if suffering in this life will help to benefit me in the next life then suffering will be a good thing.
2. Job’s lack of understanding. Job was a very good and righteous man, however, he did not have a clear understanding of God and what God was doing. He had always believed that if a person was righteous, God would keep him from suffering and all evil in this life. Job should not have questioned God’s goodness, justice and wisdom. This was Job’s sin. Thus Job should have known that God was good and that all the suffering He brought on him (through Satan) would work together ultimately for good (Job’s repentance, Job 42:3-6).
3. Verses for suffering Christians.
Romans 8:28. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
I remember quoting this verse on the first day I got to Marine boot camp as I was standing at attention on the white footprints. What had I got myself into??
Romans 5:3-4. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
James 1:2-4. My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
These two references above are unbelievable! We are to glory in and be joyful in the trials we are going through! Who does that? Job didn’t, because he didn’t understand. But I should because I have these verses.
2 Corinthians 12:9. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
This verse is especially helpful to me. Just as Paul boasted in his infirmities, so can I. In fact, I have lately been going through a whole string of health problems, and because of it, I find that I have more spiritual power in me to pray and resist sin. I don’t like being sick, but if it make me strong in Christ, I welcome the sickness.