Lamentations 4 … Consider the Surety of His Shadow

The breath of our nostrils, the Lord’s anointed,
Was captured in their pits,
Of whom we had said, “Under his shadow
We shall live among the nations,”

Further lament ensues over the current condition of a people once set apart for God’ glory, once so beautiful and precious, so valued above all nations. But now, not only had they lost their luster, but they had plummeted as low as anyone could possibly fall. And once again, I wanted to close the book and stop wading through the wailing tears of sorrow and misery, stop digging through the rubble of affliction and pain. But then I heard His gentle reminder.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16).

All Scripture, even the challenging segments are inspired and profitable. I once heard this verse explained like this: All Scripture is useful in training us in what is right (teaching); what is wrong (reproof); how to get it right (correction); and how to keep it right (training in righteousness).

All Scripture. Not just the easy parts. Not just the palatable passages. Not just the sections we find simple to understand. Not just the elements that line up with our human understanding. Not just the details we enjoy hearing about. All Scripture.

It was a much-needed reminder. And as I approached the end of this chapter, being confronted with the plight of the people but so longing to see Him, it happened! Finally, as I read one verse, I saw Him.

The breath of our nostrils, the Lord’s anointed,
Was captured in their pits,
Of whom we had said, “Under his shadow
We shall live among the nations,”

I did a brief word search in the Hebrew and also consulted a few commentaries for clarification regarding the phrase, “the breath of our nostrils.”

“The breath of our nostrils.—The “breath of life” of Genesis 2:7. The phrase emphasises the ideal character of the king as the centre of the nation’s life,” Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers.

The New Living Translation translates this verse as follows:
Our king—the Lord’s anointed, the very life of our nation—
was caught in their snares.
We had thought that his shadow
would protect us against any nation on earth!
(4:20 NLT).

The people had misplaced their hope in one very flawed and weak and evil king, Zedekiah.

Zedekiah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight just as Jehoiakim had done, (2 Kings 24:19).

And as unbelievable as it is, they actually thought, that no matter his character before God, because he was king, they would find protection under his shadow.

And this account of misplaced hope in their flawed and evil king, this passage of Scripture inspired by Almighty God was written for our instruction that we might have true hope in the Surety of His Shadow.

 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, (Romans 15:4).

Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come, (1 Corinthians 10:11).

Consider the Surety of His Shadow

Shadow: 6738. צֵל ṣēl: A masculine noun meaning a shade, a shadow. This word is frequently used as a symbol for protection or refuge,” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

God had indeed promised that One from the line of David would reign on the throne, One Who would save us and be our refuge from sin, the enemy, and the wrath of God. And all who would come in faith and place themselves under the Surety of His Shadow would receive His eternal protection in His gift of eternal life.

  • In His Shadow we have the Surety of eternal life.
    • “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life, (John 3:16).
  • In His Shadow we have the Surety we will not come into judgment.
    • “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life, (John 5:24).
  • In His Shadow we have the Surety of His peace.
    • Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1).
  • In His Shadow we have the Surety we have been justified.
    • Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him, (Romans 5:9).
  • In His Shadow we have the Surety we will not be condemned.
    • Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, (Romans 8:1).
  • In His Shadow we have the Surety He is for us.
    • What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31).
  • In His Shadow we have the Surety He is our Helper
    • so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me? (Hebrews 13:6).
  • In His Shadow we have the Surety of His escape from temptation.
    • No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it, (1 Corinthians 10:13).
  • In His Shadow we have the Surety of access to Him.
    • in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him, (Ephesians 3:12).
  • In His Shadow we have the Surety He will guard us from the evil one.
    • But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen and guard you from the evil one, (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
  • In His Shadow we have the Surety of our future
    • There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing, (2 Timothy 4:18).
  • In His Shadow we have the Surety the devil will flee from us.
    • Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you, (James 4:7).

How do we respond to the Surety of His Shadow?

My mind kept coming back to that idea of “living in someone’s shadow;” living hidden while someone else is in the spotlight, while someone else gets all the glory. How perfect is that? For when we are living in the Surety of His Shadow, He is glorified, not us.

Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
But to Your name give glory
Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth,
(Psalm 115:1).

Today, let us take to heart what was written in this book of Lamentations, that we would take the instruction provided seriously.

There is only One Whose Shadow will protect us from the consequences of sin, only One in Whom we can have full confidence for our eternity.

But living in confident faith in the Surety of His Faith does not guarantee an easy life. Actually just the opposite.

For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, (Philippians 1:29).

But, living by faith in the Surety of His Shadow does guarantee His Presence in our lives today and our future heavenly inheritance, where we will spend all of eternity in His glorious presence.

“… and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:20).

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also,” (John 14:2).

Until the day when He comes again to receive us to Himself, let us find comfort in our suffering as we remain convinced in the Surety of His Shadow.

For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day, (2 Timothy 1:12)

Oh that we would be filled with wonder and gratitude for the precious love and salvation we have in the Surety of His Shadow. And let us ask Him to build us in confident faith through the instruction He has provided for us in His Word.

And let us pray that He will so grow us in our faith that we would truly be content to live in His Shadow, that He may be glorified in us as we daily partake of His living water and abundant life freely provided in the Light of the Surety of His Shadow.

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house;
And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights.
For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light,
(Psalm 36:7).

Let’s Grow Together!

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