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The Shield of God

Devotions

According to tradition, the emperor Constantine saw a vision of a blazing cross against the sun and words which said, “In this sign, you will conquer.” Constantine’s troops placed this symbol, made up of the Greek letters Chi and Rho, on their shields. He believed it would be their certain defense in battle.

David’s shield of protection was God Himself. Today’s reading shows how the Lord shielded David from Saul’s attempts to take his life. In the first instance, when Saul told his son and servants to kill David, Jonathan reasoned him out of it (vv. 4–5). Saul vowed to spare David, but his resolve was only temporary. After a string of military successes, Saul made another murderous attempt on David’s life when he “tried to pin him to the wall with a spear” (v. 10). This was the third time Saul had attempted to kill David in this manner (1 Sam. 18:11). Next, Saul sent men to lie in wait for David at his house. David’s wife Michal helped him to escape.

Saul’s sense that the kingdom was being torn from his grasp was no doubt aggravated by the knowledge that David had won the allegiance of the king’s son and daughter. Fleeing for his life, David escaped Saul’s household and took refuge with Samuel. When Saul sent troops to kill David, the Spirit of God overtook them, and they were unable to complete their mission. Saul sent two more companies of soldiers, but the same thing happened. Finally, Saul came, and “the Spirit of God came even on him” (v. 23). This was a demonstration of God’s power, as well as an ironic reminder of Saul’s initial call to kingship.

>> You may not be a skilled soldier like David, but if you belong to Christ, you too are under God’s protection. “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” is His promise (Matt. 28:20).

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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