We have focused the past three weeks on what every Roman soldier would always wear: his belt, his breastplate, and his shoes. Remember Paul is chained to a Roman soldier in prison under house arrest. As Paul was looking at this soldier with his armor, he thought that it was exactly what God has provided to us as believers. Paul took the armor that is easily seen and he gave it spiritual significance for us to be able to stand fast in our battle with the enemy.
The next three pieces of armor were not always worn by the soldier, but they were kept close at hand. Our fourth piece of armor is the shield - the shield of faith.
1. [Eph 6:16 NKJV] 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
There were different kinds of shields that Roman soldiers used. There were two types of shields in particular that have been found and are often written about in literature. The first one is called the aspis. The aspis is the one you would typically see. It is a small round shield strapped to the forewarm and used in hand-to-hand battles. It was very light.
The second one is the thureon. This is a Greek word. It was a very large wooden plank; it broke down easily and opened up easily. Sometimes it was four feet long and two or three feet wide. It was sometimes called the "door shaped shield". It was covered on the outside with metal or with treated leather. It was designed to connect with the soldier next to you and stick in the ground at a 45 degree angle. When the enemy arrows were shot in your direction you would hide underneath it. It was designed to protect you, not in hand to hand combat, but from the deadly surprise attack of the enemy. This is the shield that Paul is making mention of in verse 16, not the little hand shield.
Spiritually applied, this is a shield of faith: Though it is the word most often used for faith in the scriptures (pritis), its context demands we understand it not as saving faith or a gift of faith but rather the daily exercise of faith, trusting in God's word, that is to be found in every believer as he engages in this warfare with the enemy.
2. This faith will quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Satan does attack from every direction while staying out of sight. Not only do attacks come as external; i.e. people we associate with, the places we go, the activities we enjoy, but they also are internal. List the three internal attitudes found in 1 John 2:16
[1Jo 2:16 NKJV] 16 For all that [is] in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world.
From a spiritual standpoint Satan and his spirits do come at us sometimes from any direction with great intensity, using every trick that he has. Remember he wants to destroy you. He would like to have you in hell with him, but he has lost you to Jesus. So now all he can do is make you ineffective or make you struggle through life. So when John wrote about the three attitutes we looked at above, those are not of the Father; those are of Satan's toolbag. Sometimes it comes to us in ways we can't even begin to plan for. Yet whatever the enemy's strategy is, the shield of faith is the solution!
3. What does Isaiah 59:19 say with happen when the enemy comes in like a flood?
[Isa 59:19 NKJV] 19 So shall they fear The name of the LORD from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.
The word standard in Hebrew means a way out, an escape hatch, a resolution. Even great men of God have been plagued with doubts and difficulties while being greatly used.
[1Pe 4:12 NKJV] 12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
Whether it is the Devil or life in general, we need to hide in God Almighty! We don't need to know the cause, we know the source. We should not be surprised when we face doubts and difficulties while we serve the Lord (1 Peter 4:16-17).
[1Pe 4:16-17 NKJV] 16 Yet if [anyone suffers] as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. 17 For the time [has come] for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if [it begins] with us first, what will [be] the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
This armor is not a quick fix but a lasting help. Foundational truths of God's Word will keep us when the circumstances seem to challenge our understanding (Psalm 73:1, Romans 8:28, 31, 1 Corinthians 10:13). No way do we want to wield a sword at a fiery arrow; instead we must simply take cover.
[Psa 73:1 NKJV] 1 A Psalm of Asaph. Truly God [is] good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart.
[Rom 8:28, 31 NKJV] 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose. ... 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God [is] for us, who [can be] against us?
[1Co 10:13 NKJV] 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God [is] faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear [it].
There are things we all know about God, whether we've been saved a long time or not very long. Those truths have to sustain us when what is going on in our life is almost unexplainable. We know God doesn't change even when our life changes. Even when our circumstances change or even when I fall or when I fall short; God doesn't change. Depending upon the truths of God's Word - that is the shield of faith.
5. It is easy to be afraid of wickedness we see all around us and overwhelmed by the problems we face. John assures us that God is stronger.
[1Jo 4:4 NKJV] 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
6. "He is our hiding place" takes on a new meaning knowing what we know about the shield of faith. How does Psalm 91 minister and encourage you?
[Psa 91:1-16 NKJV] 1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, "[He is] my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust." 3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler [And] from the perilous pestilence. 4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth [shall be your] shield and buckler. 5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, [Nor] of the arrow [that] flies by day, 6 [Nor] of the pestilence [that] walks in darkness, [Nor] of the destruction [that] lays waste at noonday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; [But] it shall not come near you. 8 Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the LORD, [who is] my refuge, [Even] the Most High, your dwelling place, 10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. 12 In [their] hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. 13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. 14 "Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I [will be] with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation."
The root of our faith lies in what God has said, no in the circumstances that we face. God's Word doesn't change, circumstances do. Six little words that change our lives: the just shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38-39). It is the answer to every question Satan will throw your way. It is the solution for every attack that you face - the just shall live by faith. Satan would like to undermine God's authority in your life. In trusting God the enemy is defeated. The only way to stay safe behind the shield is to hang on by faith to what has been established in your life.
Peter warns us to watch out for Satan when we are suffering or being persecuted, felling alone, weak and helpless, so focused on our troubles that we forget to watch for danger. Keep your eyes on Christ, resist the devil. James 4:7 says "He will flee from you".
[1Pe 5:8-9 NKJV] 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.