Words of Faith 5-12-2021
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2021
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
The basic armor of a Roman soldier included the belt, breastplate, and good shoes. This was the clothing. The next vital piece of armament was the shield. The Roman shield was an amazing piece of old-world technology. It consisted of an oblong or oval panel that could be held in a variety of positions for protection. The shield was constructed of wood, linen, and hide that was bound with iron.
The shield functioned primarily as protection from flaming arrows that could literally rain from the sky during a barrage launched by archers. It could be soaked in water so that it would extinguish the flaming arrows on contact. In one account, a Roman soldier counted 220 darts sticking into his shield. The shield was an absolute necessity in ancient battle.
But the shield was not just for personal protection. A group of soldiers could combine the protective value of their shields and create a variety of formations. By assembling the shields side-by-side, they could create a wall of protection. One of the most effective formations was called "The Tortoise" because a detachment could hold shields on all sides of their marching formation and overhead. The Tortoise formation provided a virtually impenetrable detachment of soldiers that could travel quickly across terrain during an attack. The Tortoise was essentially a tank with legs.
What a powerful image! Paul was clear that Faith is our shield in battle. Peter put it this way-- "Through faith, we are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:5). Our faith will extinguish the fiery arrows of the Enemy. But we should also realize that faith combined is an even greater armament. When we join with others in faith and prayer, we create a tortoise formation that is an impenetrable shelter in the midst of battlefield warfare. The reality is that a single soldier is very vulnerable in the field, but a group of soldiers in this formation is indestructible.
The shield is a protection that works in addition to the other pieces of armor. The armor builds one piece upon another. Without the Truth of Christ, there is no Righteousness. Without the Righteousness of Christ, there is no peace. Without peace, we are not ready or steady. Based upon the Truth of Christ, His Righteousness, and Peace, we are able to take up the shield of faith. There is something to trust in.
So, in addition to all this, we must take up the shield of Faith. Faith is something we must take up. It is something we must exercise. It is something we must actively do. The English word "faith" is awkward because it is a noun and is passive. We must "faith" as an active verb. We must faith in God and His power-- actively believe, stand, trust and walk in Him.
The thing we often miss is the power of faith united together--the tortoise formation. We are not designed to be an army of one. We are members of the Body of Christ. If you are isolated, separated, or estranged from others, you will become the target of the Enemy. A lone soldier cannot defend in all directions. He will be picked off by the Enemy. It is a matter of time. This is why the Enemy will do anything possible to break up the formation and disrupt the bonds of faith.
We have a saying in some of our prayer teams--Shields up! I don’t know what the exact command was among the Romans, but there must have been one that called soldiers to join their shields together in a defensive position. This is our call--to join together in faith and raise the Shield of Faith.
Father God, I raise my shield of faith. I join my faith with others to create the barrier for battle. Protect me from the fiery arrows. Protect the Body of Christ from the attacks of the Enemy. Build my faith. In Jesus' Name.