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I am Your Shield
October 7, 2005
Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,
A man clutches his Bible, staring at the TV camera and into our living rooms. A woman wears a T-shirt with the word "PRAY" writ large on the front. People gather for worship where a church building once stood. The hurricanes have now past. A news commentator says, "Faith survives." But how?
After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward. (Genesis 15.1) Abram had delivered his nephew Lot, slaying the kings of the plains. He then refused to accept offerings from the king of Sodom lest he should say that the king had made Abram rich (Genesis 14.23).
Now a covenant already existed between God and Abram because of the calling and promise recorded in Genesis 12. Here the Covenant Lord reveals who He is in the covenant. He is Abramís shield. He is Abramís exceeding great reward. He is, indeed, everything in the covenant. He gives man everything. He is the Source of security and the treasure. He is the One who makes rich. He is the reward. He is the unfailing presence with the father of the faithful (Romans 4.12), not for any effort, work, accrued merit, or particular service, but simply because it pleased the LORD of the covenant.
The noun magen refers to an object which provides covering and protection to the body during warfare. This particular word refers to a smaller and more common type of round shield carried by light infantry and officers. It is also used figuratively of princes as protectors of the realm (Psalm 89.18; 47.9; Hosea 4.18). It may also mean "suzerain" and imply the giver of gifts, the benefactor (from the suzerainís viewpoint). (TWOT, Volume I, p. 269)
God protects His people. In Psalm 3, David writes when fleeing from Absalom his son. The enemy has increased in troubling David. Many have risen up against him. They are saying that there is no help for David in God. But David declares, You, O LORD, are a shield about me; my glory, and the lifter up of my head. David could then lie down and sleep unafraid because the LORD smites His enemies, sustaining and saving His people. David, concludes, Your blessing is upon Your people.
God is the source of honor and character stability, the source of our confidence. In 2 Samuel 22.2, 3 we find that God is our rock, our fortress, our deliverer, our rock wall, our place of refuge and shelter, our shield (magen), our horn of deliverance, our stronghold and place of escape as in a sanctuary, our active deliverer, and One who saves from violence.
Psalm 18.30 tells us that God is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. Proverbs 2.7 says He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, maintaining consistency in their character. This would refer to who you are without the restraints of law, the restraints of social and peer pressure, when you are alone and no one sees you but God. In new covenant terms, we might say, "Be who and what you Ďisí in Christ." What you "is" manifests in what you do. You "do" in accordance with your nature, what you "is."
The protection of God as Shield is a source of strength, a power source (Psalm 28.7) so that God is also our help (Psalm 33.20) and the One who gives grace and glory, in this case the grace to reflect the character of God (Psalm 84.11). We are to understand God being our shield as being a place of this protection, a refuge, a hiding place, a grace provided by God in the covenant of grace. (Psalm 119.14)
In Psalm 5.12, we find that God shields us with His favor.
But let all those that put their trust in You rejoice.
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them.
Let them also that love Your name be joyful in You.
For You, LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor
Will You compass him as with a shield. (Psalm 5.11, 12)
This grace, this favor surrounds Godís covenant people so that believers can rejoice and shout for joy. God is their defense. God blesses His people. It is His pleasure to do so. God freely gives blessings as the Covenant Lord, as the Giver of gifts, as the God of all grace.
In Psalm 91.4, we find that Godís truth shields those that dwell in the secret place of the most High, those who abide under the shadow of the Almighty, those who say of the Covenant Lord that He is their refuge and fortress and the One being trusted. Israel understood that God is the shield of Israelís help. (Deuteronomy 33.29)
In the New Testament, we find the shield again. Paul, however, in Ephesians 6.16 uses a word that describes a full body shield. He exhorts believers, Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Jesus is the shield. He is the One who shields our faith. Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He is the One who said to Peter, Simon, Simon, behold Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not; and when you turn back, strengthen your brethren. (Luke 22.31, 32)
Jesus is the shield of our faith. He is the truth that shields us. As we see Him as our Shield and exceeding great reward of the covenant of grace, we will find the means of quenching all the fiery darts of the wicked. We will see that God in His grace is our Supply, our Source of all life and blessing, our Protector and defense, our Help. Our faith in Jesus comes to us as a gift from the Giver of gifts, our Shield, the Covenant Lord. (Ephesians 2.1-10)
The kind of shield to which Paul refers was made very large and was called a "gate" or "door". It was so long and so large that it covered the whole body. Jesus is the Gate, the Door. He defends His own as the Good Shepherd. What devil, what fiery dart cannot be quenched by Jesus the Shield? He stands before His own taking the reproaches that fall on them. He stands as the Advocate pleading their cause. He stands as the Shield covering His own with His righteousness. This comes not of merit, but because of the covenant of grace, because it pleases God.
When God sovereignly administrated the covenant and revealed Himself as the Covenant Lord to Abraham, Abraham believed God. (Romans 4.3) He not only believed in the LORD, but he believed Him. He believed what He said and he believed in who said what He said. This kind of faith was counted unto him for righteousness. This blessing, the benefits of the covenant of grace, does not come by the keeping of the Law, but by promise. Abraham did not stagger at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. Abraham was persuaded that what God had promised, God was able also to perform. (Romans 4.20, 21)
What about us? Do we believe in Jesus, the Promised Seed of Abraham? Do we believe Jesus? Do we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Promise of the Father? If we do, it is because we belong. (John 8) He that is of God hears Godís words. John 8.47 Jesus is the Door. It is through Him we enter into salvation and eternal life. He is also the Shield because He is God. He is the One who guards the sheep. He laid down His life and took it up again. Of His own, He says He will not lose one. He intercedes for His own, to preserve them in their faith. He reveals the glory of the Father, declaring His Name and the Fatherís love.
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them; that
they may be one, even as We are One: I in them, and You
in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that
the world may know that You have sent Me, and have
loved them, as You have loved Me. (John 17.22, 23)
Faith survives hurricanes, troubles, devils, ills, all the perils of life and death because of Godís provision of Himself as Shield and Protector in the covenant of grace. We persevere because He preserves. Give Jesus the Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith, the glory He deserves. Give Him the honor. Give Him the worship and praise. God Himself, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is our exceeding great reward. As you put on the whole armor of God, you are putting on Jesus. And as you take up Jesus as the Shield of your faith to protect your faith and to intercede for you that your faith fail not, you will quench every fiery dart of the devil, for who will fell Jesus Christ? He has died and is risen from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Almighty in great power and glory. Give Him His rightful place and you will find peace.
November 6th we will again be helping the migrant workers of South Florida, this time a Guatemalan community. These people need help. They need school supplies for their children, baby and childrenís clothing, clothing, small toys, and linens. Be a Barnabas. As you reach out in your giving to the poor, God will bless you.
December 1st through the 8th, Kroy Ellis and Rev. Jim Craig will be on a mission trip to Jerusalem and Israel. We hope you will want to sow into this mission with your prayers and financial support. You can go to our website to find out more about Jerusalemís destiny and about Godís heart for Jerusalem. This mission will take the MCM team to the city of David in Jerusalem and to the area of Jerusalem that pertains to David. God is doing a great work in our day, bringing His people into that place of abiding in Him as the Glorified One.
To the uttermost parts of the earth,
P.S. Go to marycraig.org Catalog to order books and make donations through Paypal®. In the area? We invite you to worship with us 4:30 p.m. Sundays, at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. After the service, join Rev. Jim Craig to discuss the message or have prayer with Dr. Mary Craig. Log on to www.craighouse.org for a map and more events and Bible studies.
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will
Show them His covenant. Psalm 25.14
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