Saturday, January 19, 2013

God is our Shield

After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.  –Genesis  15:1 (KJV)

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.  –Psalm 28:7 (KJV)

I have never done any mountain climbing, but I am fascinated with Mount Everest.  Every year an average of 150 climbers travel to Nepal to tackle this mountain, the tallest on our planet, with the full knowledge they may not make it back home.  On average, five die in the attempt.  A large number of people have died in the pursuit of climbing Everest and their bodies rest there to this day.  Even if one survives the climb, there are multiple opportunities for serious injury.  I read about a man who made it to the summit and wanted to take a few pictures.  This is understandable as you would not have a view like that every day.  He removed his gloves for only a minute or two to take the pictures, but this proved a costly mistake.  The ensuing frostbite resulted in the amputation of most of his fingers later on.  Removing the protective shield of his gloves was not a wise decision.

The Word of God speaks of God being a shield to those that trust in Him.  The Lord appeared to Abraham of the Old Testament and promised to be a shield to Him.  The psalmist spoke of God being his shield and how he would rejoice over the Lord’s help in his life.  We too have the promise of the Lord being with us at all times and through all circumstances.  God’s promise to us is that we do not have to face the trials of life alone, for He will guide, empower, and shield us.  

This process of shielding us does not mean the absence of problems and difficulties.  The implication for us is we have the Lord to shield us during the trials we face.  We will still face the challenges life brings our way, yet we have the Lord acting as a shield of spiritual power going before us.  Without the spiritual shield God brings we become vulnerable to attack from the dark forces of the world.  Moreover, we are left to confront our troubles in our own strength, which leaves us shaken and discouraged.  With God’s help, acting as our shield, we have the power to walk forward in faith rather than fear.  

As I have sought to emphasize many times, fear holds us back, but faith moves us forward.  Through faith in God all the challenges we face can be overcome.  As the Bible says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  The emphasis here is fully on Christ and His power working in us.  I thank the Lord daily for His patience and grace, for He understands we are frail and flawed people, prone to want to remove our spiritual protection and try it alone.  This is the human condition against which we struggle every day.

Keep the shield of faith before you today.  Allow God to be your shield as you face the challenges of life.  Do not be afraid, for we serve a risen Savior who has overcome death and hell on our behalf.  Walk forward in confident faith.

God bless you today.