Tidings for Tuesday

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Ephesians 6:16

The wonderful Roman shield must have been a great comfort to a soldier when the arrows and stones were coming thick and fast. The shield was large, more than a meter in length and sometimes almost a meter in width. Its surface was slightly curved, to deflect the darts and arrows. Unlike the armour that the soldier wore, the shield was a device that the soldier had to lift up and actively use. It was like our faith in God, not much good unless we make use of it, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did when they were threatened with a fiery furnace for refusing to bow to the king’s idol. Faith is the shield that God has provided us with, and our text reminds us that it is capable of stopping ALL of Satan’s darts. Our active use of the shield of faith will bring about some wonderful victories in our lives. But the shield of faith serves more than just as an individual protection.

The picture most of us have in our minds is an individual soldier advancing through the battle field with his shield protecting him as he moves forward. But that isn’t how the Roman soldiers always used their shields. These great devices could be used in a team effort to achieve far more than an individual soldier could. A group of soldiers would form into a solid block, with all the soldiers around the perimeter holding their shields so that the entire block was protected. The soldiers in the middle held their shields over their heads, to deflect any arrows that the enemy might try to rain on them from above. In this ‘tortoise’ formation, they could penetrate almost any type of opposition they would encounter. Such an advance of Roman soldiers was almost unstoppable, and was a major reason why the Romans were able to conquer most of the known world in their day. If the Lord’s people made the same use of the shield of faith, we would also be almost unstoppable in our ventures for God.

What does the Assembly you form part of know of using the shield of faith in a united way? Oh, yes, we all say ‘Amen’ at the end of each prayer that is uttered during our meetings. But do we really mean it? When one brother prays for his children to be saved, how fervent and effectual is your ‘Amen’? When the needs of a particular Gospel series are raised in prayer, how firm is your faith that God will move and save in that series? When a Christian specifically asked the Assembly to pray for them, do you truly join with the other Saints to bear up that Christian’s burden in united intercession?

We may be winning our little faith victories each day, but if we all advanced with our shields of faith in unison, maybe we could see see great victories for our Lord. – Jim MacIntosh

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