Friday, 8 October 2010
The Shield of Faith: Charles H. Spurgeon
"Above all, taking the Shield of Faith,
which is able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked..." (Ephesians 6:16)
Like the Spartans, every Christian is born a warrior. It is his destiny to be assaulted, his duty to attack. Part of his life will be occupied with defensive warfare. He will have to defend the Faith once delivered to the saints. He will have to resist the devil. He will have to Stand against all the devil's wiles, and having done all, still to stand. He will, however, be an ineffective Christian, if he acts only on the defensive. He must be one who goes against his foes, as well as [one who] stands still to receive their advance. He must be able to say with David, "I come to thee in the Name of The LORD of Hosts, The God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied." (1 Sam. 17:45)
He must wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. He must have weapons for his warfare - not carnal - but "mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds." (2 Cor. 10:4) He must not be content to live in the stronghold, though he is well guarded, and munitions of stupendous strength are at his disposal; but he must go forth to attack the castles of the enemy, pull them down, and drive the Canaanites out of the land.
There are many ways in which the Christian may, to a great degree, forget his military character. And alas, there are many who know very little of that daily warfare to which the Captain of our Salvation calls His disciples! King David's truest soldiers were willing not only to be with David when he was in Saul's court, with his fingers amid the strings of the harp, going in and out before the people so that "all Israel and Judah loved David (1 Sam. 18:16); but also to go with David into the Cave of Adullam, when he was outlawed, when his character had become a stench in the nostrils of every proud hypocrite, and when Saul the King hunted David to seek his life. Those who are willing to follow Christ in the midst of an ungodly and perverse generation must be like the men of Naphtali, who hazarded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field.
You will remember that Jonathan, one of the sweetest characters in the Word of God, is one of whom, after all, there is little to be said. Jonathan's life was inglorious from the very time he forsook David, and his death was among the slain of the Philistines upon the dewless mountains of Gilboa. Alas, poor Jonathan, he could give David his bow, but he could not draw the bow for David; he could give David his garments, even his armor, but he could not put on the armor of David. The attraction of his father's court was too much for him, and there he stayed. In that Book of Chronicles, where the Holy Ghost has recorded the names of the mighty men who were with David in Adullam, we find not the name of Jonathan.
There are Christians of that kind today. They have a soft religion which shuns opposition, a reedlike religion that bows before every blast, unlike that Cedar of Godliness that stands aloft in the midst of the storm and claps its boughs in the hurricane, for the very joy of triumph. Such men, like those who shunned David in Adullam, lack the faith that shares the glory. Though saved - yet their names shall not be found written among the mighty men who, for our Great Commander's sake, are willing to suffer the loss of all things and go forth without the camp bearing His reproach [Heb._13:13].
Those Christians, too, who have separated from the world and are diligently engaged in building up the church will have to fight more than others who are rather buiilt-up than builders. You remember, in Nehemiah's day, how the Jews accomplished their work when they built the walls of Jerusalem. With one hand they held the trowel, and in the other they held a weapon. "The builders every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded (Neh. 4:18).
Moreover, there were master masons along the wall, and the laborers all actually engaged, yet here and there you might see a sentinel ready to sound the trumpet so that the workmen might prove warrriors, rush to the battle, and drive away their foes. If you are diligent in your service to the church of Christ, you shall soon have reason to defend your cause. The Lord's blessing will entail Satan's curse; the smile of God will necessarily incur the frown of man. According to your nonconformity to the world, your daring to be singular -- when to be singular is to be right -- according to your diligence in building up the walls of Jerusalem, you shall be compelled to recognize your soldierly character. To you the text shall come with great emphasis,
take the shield of faith
which is abble
to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."