The sun of God

Judges 13:24-25 “And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him. And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.”

The other day I was reading Psalm 84 and I came across verse 11 which says, “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”  I wondered about the metaphor of the sun in reference to the Lord.  And then as I’ve been studying the book of Judges I’ve come to the account of Samson.  Interestingly, the name “Samson” means “like the sun.”  So, here it is again, this time in reference to one of Israel’s earthly saviors at the time of their oppression under the Philistines.  So, what is this metaphor referring to? What is it pointing to regarding the attributes or our God, our eternal Savior? 

While I don’t know that I fully understand this, there are some things that come to mind as I’ve meditated on these passages.  First, the sun is where we get our light. Surely, then, the use of the word “sun” as a metaphor for the Lord points to the fact that He is the “Light of the World and those who follow Him will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).  Here “light” is a reference to spiritual understanding. It is God alone Who is the source of the knowledge of all things pertaining to Him. He opens our eyes to see the Truth about salvation and eternal life when we turn to Him. As we walk with Him, He opens our eyes through the work of the Holy Spirit so that when we read His Word it becomes to us “a light to (our) feet and a light to (our) path” (Psalm 119:105).

However, at least one other thing has dawned on me as I’ve thought about the Lord as “a sun.”  In the Creation story in Genesis 1 we are told this: “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.’ And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.” In other words, God created different kinds of lights in the heavens. From man’s view of these lights there is “the greater light” that we see in the daytime, i.e., the sun, and the lesser light that we see at night, i.e., the light reflected from the moon as well as the light coming from the stars.  In a spiritual sense, whereas God is called a “sun,” Jesus called those who followed Him “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).  Of course, we aren’t the source of that light. Like the moon, believers are to reflect the light that comes to us from our Savior. However, in Daniel 12:3 we are told that “the wise,” i.e., those who follow the true God, “shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” 

In Philippians 2:14-16 (New International Version), Paul says “Do everything without grumbling or arguing,so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the skyas you hold firmly to the word of life.”  Here we see the analogy of how believers are to stand out in the spiritual darkness of the world, as the light of the stars shines against the blackness of the night sky.  Could this be a reference, then, to an analogy of believers as “lesser lights” compared to our great Savior, the “greater light”? 

You see, while believers are spiritual lights, in the sense that they reflect the light Jesus gives them, and in the sense of how their lives are to be a contrast with the darkness of unbelief and sin, the far greater light, like the light of the sun, is our great God.  While we reflect His light, we are not the light in the sense that He is, for when He shines in all His glory, you can’t see any darkness at all (1 John 1:5).  We’ll understand this fully one day in Heaven.  There will be no sun there, nor will there be any moon or stars. These physical lights will have no function there.  As we are told in Revelation, in heaven, “night will be no more. They (i.e., believers) will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever (Revelation 22:5).”

Our Lord God, as may be pointed to in the earthly savior Samson’s name, is “like the sun.”  However, while the sun may work in some ways as a metaphor for our great God, like all metaphors, it falls short of capturing the infinite greatness of our awesome Creator Who, in His almighty power, spoke a word and the sun appeared.

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