Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Whole Armor – Part 2

Eph 6:15-16  “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”

We looked at the girdle and the breastplate in our last post.  As you can see from the passage above, there’s still more to the armor.  And more to the rest of the items of armor.

We already established that we’re in warfare.  So, when we get to verse 15 we get to one of the most important parts of a soldier’s equipment.  His footgear.  If an army isn’t fighting, they’re on the march.  Foot problems slow or halt progress.  Good shoes are important.  In Biblical times, there was a degree of protection, just like the rest of the armor.  And walking comfort was important.  As you might imagine, there’s an important connection to our spiritual life, too.  Properly shod spiritual feet allow us to have a proper spiritual walk.

In the original Greek, the terms for feet and shod are as might be expected.  But the original word for preparation speaks of having solid footing and a foundation.  The preparation builds up the core doctrines of the believer’s walk.  The word euaggélion ought to look familiar.  The word used here for the gospel is the same root for evangelism.  The Christian soldier walks into battle with the good news of salvation.  And, as we’ll see later, not just to those who need that salvation to happen. 

When the verse calls it the gospel of peace, there’s a reason.  The peace comes from having an expected result.  Remember what we said about verse 10?  It’s the same thing.  So, God gives us a picture of a soldier who, because he is properly shod, can go on long marches, can stand in the face of the enemy, can easily maneuver on the battlefield, can be doing what he needs to be doing at the times needed.  And victory is expected.

Then, there’s the shield of faith.  Both terms are, in one sense, are used very much as expected.  Very often, when an army was besieging a city, they would shoot arrows or darts into the city.  And the darts were soaked in something that would burn and were lit before being shot.  The people would have the attacking army in front of them, a growing fire behind them – from the darts.  Not a great choice.  As well, many of the Biblical movies had the shield right.  It was quite tall, sometimes leather covered over a solid piece, possibly soaked in water to quench the fiery darts.  The opposing army would shoot the fiery darts on the open battlefield to inflict extra damage on the enemy.  The shield is an important part of the armor.  But I still get chills as I think of the next thing I discovered about the shield.

Because of the size and shape of the shield, it was possible for a soldier to get into a hole or under the shield and cover himself from external attacks.  Particularly if the soldier was being overwhelmed. In fact, the root word for shield actually depicts a door or gate of a cave.  When I realized that, my mind raced to the events immediately following Jesus’ crucifixion!  The Jews and the Romans wanted to make sure He was buried and unable to get out of the grave by having His body snatched away.  But I believe even that was part of the Plan.  While Jesus lay dead in the grave, the stone prevented anything happening that would damage the body in a way that would make any part of the prophecy untrue.  Once the expected end had arrived, His glorious Resurrection, then Christ could roll aside the stoney shield, and walk forth to proclaim the 100% Truth of the gospel.

We’ll continue next time.  But I think this is a good spot to stop and meditate on what we’ve learned here.  How are your shoes and shield? 

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