Shadow is mentioned quite frequently in the Bible, and usually in the context of God’s protective presence. Like: being covered with the shadow of God’s hand (Isaiah 51:16); resting in the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1); being hidden in the shadow of God’s wings (Psalms 17:8); or walking in the shadow of death (Psalms 23:4).
We know a shadow is cast when light cannot penetrate an object. We also know that the shape of an object always determines the shape of its shadow. BUT, the size and shape of the shadow can change. These changes are caused by the position of the light source.
The Bible defines Jesus (the Son) as our light source—the Son is the light of the world (John 8:12). So where we are positioned in relation to the Son determines how the shadow of His protective presence will be cast.
When our shadow falls in front, this means the Son is behind. It’s in those times when we’ll hear His voice behind us saying “go left” or “go right” (Isaiah 30:21). Sometimes God leads from behind.
When our shadow falls behind, then the Son is in front. In those times the Son invites us to follow Him, He leads from in front. (John 10:27)
And then, there are times when our shadow is beside. It’s in those intimate relational moments, those moments when you’re fully aligned to His will and walking in step as friend with friend, that He leads alongside. (Micah 6:8)
Well, what about when your shadow is short and appears under you. Do you know the time of day when this happens? It’s at midday—at the hottest point of the day—that’s when shadows are very short.
It’s in those moments that we are under His wings—hidden, snuggled, protected, surrounded. Those moments when our battles (physical, social, emotional, spiritual) are the hottest that God gathers us up like a hen gathers up her chicks. Those hot-battle moments is what the Psalmist called the “shadow of death”. What you’re going through feels as though it will snuff the life out of you, but it’s only shadow of…, it’s not death.
It is in those shadow-of-death moments when we need physical touch the most. In those moments a voice behind directing is not sufficient. Footprints in the path to follow is not sufficient. Side-by-side is intimate but that too is not sufficient. In all those times you have closeness with the Son. BUT, in the hot-battle moments you need to be held, to be hugged, to be under the banner of His wings, to have the assurance that you’re covered. And that’s when the Son scoops you up into His arms—like a mother bird protecting her young by covering them with her wings—and in so doing only a short shadow of you cradled, nestled in Him is cast.
Shadows cast behind, in front, beside or under depends on the time of day and the seasons. However, in all instances it is the earth, not the light source (sun), that moves.
So it is with the Son, for with Him there is no variation or shifting shadow (James 1:17). We may move, but God is constant and immovable which means we can always find our way back to Him. Where you left Him in the changing seasons or times of your life, is where He will be when you come back to Him.
Shabbat Shalom. May you find peace in the shadow of the Almighty.
Thank you for reading!