December 16, 2020
Shielded by the Word
“I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.” (Psalm 119:113-114)

The Bible is replete with military imagery. We are told to “wrestle” against the “spiritual wickedness in high places” and to be sure that we put on “the whole armour of God” (Ephesians 6:12-13). As the good soldiers of the King, we are told to “endure hardness” (2 Timothy 2:3) and expected, as His army, to be about the “pulling down of strong holds” (2 Corinthians 10:4).

David was a warrior king, and many of his psalms contain battle terms used both literally and figuratively to show the way God protects and provides for us in spiritual warfare. The “hiding place” David often mentioned was a secret retreat that provided shelter from the enemy (Psalm 32:7). The “shield” can refer to the same sort of retreat but is most often used to describe a soldier’s defensive buckler. Faith is our shield in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:16).

Thus, in this stanza (Psalm 119:113-120), the psalmist visualized God in the role of Protector and Captain. He looked to God for his life while being upheld “according unto thy word” (v. 116). Safety was no doubt prominent in his thoughts while affirming that he had continual respect for God’s statutes (v. 117).

The psalmist was also fearfully aware of God’s take-no-prisoners attitude toward those who are against Him (vv. 118-119). While our gracious Lord and King is patient toward all sinners, His ultimate plan is to “put down all rule and all authority and power” (1 Corinthians 15:24). Knowing this, the psalmist concluded: “My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments” (Psalm 119:120). Only a fool refuses to fear the Creator’s wrath. HMM III  

Family Talk Night Light for Couples

Duration: 365 days


“In his word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5

Like anyone else, I have days when discouragement seems to get the better of me. At such times I try to remember that the Lord has provided me with a source of continuing inspiration and hope. To tap into that source I need simply to open the pages of my Bible, God’s letter of hope to me.

I’m reminded of a story about an elderly woman who had lost her husband, George, some years earlier in an automobile accident. Theirs had been a long and happy marriage, and she missed him terribly. When she suffered a broken leg, she felt more confined and alone than ever. One particularly blue day, she found herself longing once again for her husband’s company. She sat in her living room and began to weep. “Dear God,” she prayed, “please give me the strength to get through this hour.”

Get your Bible, a quiet voice inside her said. But her Bible was in the bedroom, and, with her leg in a cast, she thought it would be too hard to retrieve. Then she remembered a small travel Bible on a nearby bookshelf. She reached for it and turned the pages to find a favorite Scripture.

Suddenly a letter fell into her lap. She carefully unfolded the yellowed pages. It was a love letter from George. In it, he expressed his deep affection for her. His words of comfort went straight to her lonely heart.

In the back pages of the Bible she found more notes from George. He had written them in the hospital while awaiting an operation, apparently fearing he would not return home. After he recovered, the notes were forgotten.

That woman spent the rest of the afternoon basking in the company of her husband’s letters and in the certainty that the Lord cared for her.

When you’re feeling short on hope in your marriage, ask yourself if you’ve spent enough time lately reading your “mail” from God. Jeremiah wrote, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight” (Jeremiah 15:16). As we go about our days, we can draw on the same delight… if we’ll just read the Bible for a few minutes and wait for His Word to meet our need.

God loves you with infinite compassion and tenderness. He knows just what you need and when you need it. In the pages of Scripture, you’ll find example after example of His wisdom, comfort, and love— all meant for you. It’s the kind of “mail” that will really make your day!

– Shirley M Dobson

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Illustration by Lucille Heimrich from A Match Made in Heaven by Susan Wales and Ann Platz (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1999).

Family Talk Night Light for Parents

Duration: 365 days


You need to persevere so that…you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36

Ruth Bell Graham was a diligent mother. With a husband frequently on the road preaching the gospel and five children at home, she had to be. Her eldest son, Franklin, was the child who required the most diligence. He smoked, drank, stayed out late at night, and showed little interest in spiritual matters.

Many nights Ruth couldn’t sleep from thinking about her son. So she turned to God in prayer. “Every time I pray especially for him,” she later wrote, “God says: ‘Love him…’ which seems odd because I love every bone of him. But God means show it. Let him in on the fact. Enjoy him. You think he’s the greatest, let him know you think so.” Though she didn’t approve of Franklin’s behavior, she consistently displayed her love for her wayward son.

Ruth’s diligence was rewarded in 1974, when Franklin poured out his heart to God, confessed his sin, and turned away from his former life. Today he is president of the Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse and is the president and CEO of his father’s ministry, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

The Lord will respond to our diligent prayers for our family in His timing, not ours—but when we persevere in doing the will of God (Hebrews 10:36), we can count on His promises for a hope and a future with Him.

– Shirley M Dobson

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Illustration adapted from Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids by Sharon Jaynes (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, 2000).

The Son Of God – One Year Devotions for Men

But Jesus replied, “My Father never stops working, so why should I?” – John 5:17

The history of the church is littered with embarrassments such as the Great Inquisition and the Crusades. There have been many well-documented failures on the part of individual professing Christians as well. While we must not summarily brush aside failures and contradictions, it is important to remember that the validity of Christianity depends only on the validity of Jesus Christ. Men need to consider him—his claims, his life, his deeds, his death, his resurrection, and his impact on human history.

One day Jesus visited the pool of Bethesda, a place where crowds of sick people waited to be assisted into the waters. They believed the waters would heal them on certain occasions (see 5:3-4, footnote). Jesus approached one man and asked a penetrating question. “Would you like to get well?” (5:6). Why else would the man have been there? But it was an astute inquiry. Perhaps the man had gotten used to being carried around. Perhaps he had become so accustomed to begging that he would not have known how to earn a living. The man’s answer is no answer—he simply complained. But when Jesus authoritatively commanded him to rise, he did—and was healed!

But it was the Sabbath. The rules said no working on the Sabbath. In the minds of Jesus’ opponents, healing was work, so Jesus had profaned the Sabbath and must be held responsible (5:16). In an instant the situation took a dramatic turn. Jesus asserted, “My Father never stops working, so why should I?” (5:17). This thinly veiled assertion was not at all unclear to Jesus’ listeners. They recognized it as a claim to equality with the Father—a claim to deity. That deserved death!

Undeterred, Jesus insisted that he was only doing what he saw his Father doing (5:19). The Father had sent him (5:30), the Father had given him a ministry of raising people from the dead (5:21), the Father had promised or given eternal life to those who believed his message (5:24), and the Father had authorized him to be the ultimate judge of mankind (5:26-27). Superlative claims!

Some men to this day insist that Jesus never claimed to be God. If this discourse is not a claim to deity, what is it? The answer to such a question is critical. Christianity is nothing if Christ is not God incarnate; but if he is God, Christianity is everything. God came looking for us, showed himself to us, died for us, rose again, and one day will take us to himself!

For Further Study: John 5:1-30

Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for MenCopyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

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