Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.
Then David spoke to the Lord the Words of this Song, on the day when the Lord had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. And he said:
'The Lord is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer;
The God of my strength, in Whom I will trust;
My Shield and the Horn of my salvation,
My Stronghold and my Refuge;
My Savior, You save me from violence.
I will call upon the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.
When the waves of death surrounded me,
The floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me;
The snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry entered His Ears.
How many Bible heroes suffered longer than David? Maybe a few, but no one expressed it better. Because this shepherd-turned-soldier, this fugitive-turned-king, was a performer: an artist who played for his adversary and a poet who prayed to his God.
His talents were gifts from God. When he released them in faith, they moved the Heart of our Creator. Therein, David was blessed beyond any man of his time. But he was also tested beyond any man of his time.
Because for God's stars, trials and success are different sides of the same coin: a coin sailing through the air. But this coin has a supernatural advantage. It's a magnet called faith. In pulling toward God, its holder always lands face up.
David's Words reveal not only his agony, but also the Source of His protection. Because no one wants to be hit by the fiery darts of hell.
But these darts aren't physical, they're spiritual. Often, they come by means of a word curse: a hit no one can see. King David put it this way: 'They gnashed at me with their teeth' (Psalm 35:16). Because bad words are lying serpents that bite into our soft spots.* Even so, Jesus says the last ones crying won't be the bitten, but the biters: 'There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth' (Matthew 13:50).
Nevertheless, we don't have to wait until judgment day for relief. We can raise the shield of faith. Jesus made it available to every believer. Powered by God's Holy Spirit, it's a deflection system where insults bounce back to their senders. We may feel their initial impact, but they will not penetrate our souls. 'O death, where is your sting?' (1 Corinthians 15:55).
Because we believe God. Because we believe His Word. We believe He will never leave us--but defend us and bring justice: that all things work together for our good--even trials for our success. That's the shield of faith. It has the Name of Jesus engraved upon it--in red.
To Be Continued...
* 'Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the rebellion of the workers of iniquity, who sharpen their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows--bitter words, that they may shoot in secret at the blameless' (Psalm 64:2-4).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Acting School series.