I was wondering the other day why Psalm 91.4 says, “[God’s] faithfulness is a shield and a buckler.” We all know that shields are used for protection in battle. In the context of Psalm 91, David was saying that we are in a spiritual war, and the way to guard ourselves against Satan’s flaming darts (namely his lies) is to hold up the shield of God’s faithfulness when we are being spiritually attacked. But why did David highlight God’s faithfulness here? He could have mentioned God’s love, peace, or grace.
I’m sure this could be said about other attributes of God too, but it occurred to me that every time Satan lies to God’s children, the lie is a direct attack on the faithfulness of God to us. We are constantly being tempted to fear, steal, get revenge, have a lustful thought, look to ourselves and despair over our sin, or take shortcuts. Every time Satan throws a fiery dart at us, he is tempting us to believe that God will not really be faithful to us as He said He would be – that He will not protect us, that He will not provide what we need, that He will not avenge wrongdoers, that He will not satisfy us infinitely more than any earthly relationship, that His grace is not good enough to save us in spite of ourselves, or that He that will not give us enough time in our day to do quality work. And so, David says, you’ll need to cling to the faithfulness of God with every ounce of your strength if you’re going to have any measure of success in extinguishing the flaming darts of the evil one (Ephesians 6.16).
Here a beautiful passage from Scripture about the faithfulness of God. But first, isn’t it interesting that that verse I just referenced from Ephesians 6 is written specifically about the shield of faith? It’s talking about faith in God. Having faith in someone is, by definition, believing that that person will be faithful to keep their promises. This concept is at the heart of the spiritual battle that we fight.
Romans 4.19-25 says,
[Abraham] did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
If we all trusted God like Abraham did, we would have something to say to Satan when he attacks our souls. We could tell him that our God is greater than any sinful trinket he waves in our face. And we could tell him as if we really believed it.
That’s the fight of faith.