My Shield – March 10, 2023
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Devotion based on Ephesians 6:16
See series: Military Devotions
I have a shield. I did not make it. I did not buy it. I received it as a gift.
My shield is not a desk.
When I was seven, my schoolteacher taught me what to do in the event of a nuclear attack. She drilled my schoolmates and me often enough to ensure we could respond quickly and successfully if an atomic bomb were dropped upon Marinette County. She would call out, “Nuclear attack! Nuclear attack!”
And we would crawl under our desks.
It all seems rather silly now. But at the time, it gave us a level of confidence.
Good thing those defensive skills were never put to the test! We would have learned the tragic results of false confidence.
Sadly, we humans often place our confidence in silly things. The more serious the threat, the more powerful our protection must be. We cannot make foolish mistakes.
We live in a world swirling with threats. Diseases threaten us. Storms threaten us. Accidents threaten us—and so do enemies.
Our nation has a Department of Defense to help shield our citizens from enemies foreign and domestic. Those who wear the uniform of our Armed Forces are part of the fabric of this shield. Americans and others are counting on this protection. They place their confidence in this shield.
But what about the enemies that are not human?
To simply say they do not exist, that they are the mere products of superstition and folklore, is not facing the facts. How can we explain the hatred and brutality the human race has shown without acknowledging the existence of evil?
Where did that strain of evil come from? There is an answer.
Evil came from the pit of hell. It was carried to earth by angels who had waged war against their Creator and the angels who remained faithful to him. Having lost the war in heaven, the condemned angels launched their attacks upon us.
These agents of evil have tremendous firepower. But their weapons are not aimed at body mass. Their victims are left with legs that work and hearts that still pump blood.
They place the crosshair of their deadly weapon upon the soul. They know the result of sin is death. They know what is meant by that death. They have experienced it. They have been cut off from the holy God with all his kindness and blessings.
When Jesus told of a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, he was describing their homeland. They hate it there. They dread the day when they will be locked in there. Until that judgment day dawns, they dedicate themselves to collecting as many humans as possible to join them there.
They want to ensure that the humans already on the side of darkness will stay with them. They fiercely attack those who call upon God as their Father and Savior. Their primary weapon is the temptation to reject the ruling of God—as Adam and Eve once did.
Like flaming arrows, temptations are flung against us from all directions in wave after wave. The fires started by these arrows can turn everything good into ruin and ashes. We can try to duck when temptations fly. We might attempt to swat those fiery arrows away. But that doesn’t work.
That’s no better than hiding under a desk.
What chance do we have against enemies with such powers? How many times have we already failed to stop their attacks? How many times have we been hit?
What we need, is a shield large enough to cover us and good enough to protect us. What we need, is exactly what the Lord offers. He calls it the shield of faith.
We remember how Satan flung those flaming arrows of temptation at Jesus in the wilderness. Every time, the arrow was quenched in the shield of “It is written.”
“It is written: ‘Man does not live by bread alone.’”
“It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
“It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Jesus teaches us to hold up the Word of God to the devil. Point out to him the power of God that smashes evil. Claim for ourselves the victory that Christ has already won.
A desk is not protection against a nuclear attack. A good intention is not protection against the urge to do evil. A piece of jewelry in the shape of a cross, even one made of gold, is no protection against the fiery arrows of temptation.
“My hope is built on nothing less,” we sing, “than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”
That is my shield.
Prayer: Father in heaven, your faithfulness is my shield. Amen.
Points to ponder:
- Why do we prefer to place our confidence in the visible instead of the invisible?
- Why are satanic temptations so appealing?
- Is it ignorance or denial that leads some people to say angels and demons do not exist?
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Stillwater, Minnesota.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.