Soaking the Shield of Faith (Why We Need the Sabbath)

In the writings of Rabbi Sha’ul/Paul, we find the instruction to fight with the shield of Faith. The shield that he was probably referring to was a first century Roman Shield which had some highly advanced technological features for the time.

One of these technological features was the preparation of the shield, which was made of metal and wood and coated in leather. Before every battle the shield was soaked in water by the soldier who would be using it. The purpose of soaking the shield was keep it from be burnt up by the fiery darts (actually bolts) that were launched by enemy war machines. The soaking of the leather kept it from falling victim to the darts/bolts that were covered in combustable pitch which would not only start and spread a fire, but actually combust in a small explosion upon impact.

So, how does one soak the shield of faith?

According to King David. One method was to meditate upon the Law of G-d. David’s faith was increased by examining the reasons that G-d gave each of His commands (Psalm 119-the longest chapter in the Bible). For example, rotating one’s crops and letting the land lie fallow for every seven years prevents Dust Bowls like we had during the Great Depression. Avoiding pork greatly reduces the chances of heart attack, stroke, trichinosis parasites, and many other ailments.

Another way of doing this is the way of Solomon, looking at Creation. Evidence of the G-d’s brilliance is all around us when we look at nature the way that Solomon the scientist did. This is part of why the former atheists C.S. Lewis (“Chronicles of Narnia”), J.R. Tolkien (“Lord of the Rings”), and Josh McDowell (author of “More than a Carpenter”) all became believers. Sir Isaac Newton wrote hundreds of thousands of pages of commentary on the Book of Revelations and other books of the Bible.

The method Peter used was just to step out on the Water when He heard the voice of the Master instruct Him to do so. Peter did what G-d instructed BEFORE He understood HOW and WHY, which is true Faith. While David examining the reasons for the Law increased His faith, and Solomon’s Faith was increased by seeing the brilliance of G-d in Creation, Peter DISPLAYED Faith by doing as He was instructed before He understood why.

Ofcourse, for us to soak our shields we have to have time away from the battle to do so. Many fight the battle all day, every day, and never take time to heal and soak thier shields. Dr. Ron Mehl, the Pastor and author who wrote “The Tender Commandments” shares his experience of what happens when even a pastor fails to take time to soak his shield. He literally died of stress after years of off and on struggle with sickness.
If we wait until the battle to start soaking the shield then we will be in trouble. This is part of why G-d gave us the weekly Sabbath, 24 hours from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday with no buying, selling, working, or making other people work. We need 24 hours each week to soak the shield of faith in the water of the Word. We also need the 7 annual Holy Days to train us for battle, together, without distraction. This is part of why we cannot pick our own days to train, the Commander wanted us all together to train to fight as a unit and not as individuals alone.

When the “Church” took it upon themselves to change the Sabbath to a day that pleased man instead of G-d, it eventually tried to please man more by reducing 24 hours of spending time with G-d in active worship, study, or contemplation and good works, to simply 2 hours of keeping a pew warm then going to make someone else work at a restaurant so they can’t rest and looking down on them for not going to Church, afterwards going home to chores, homework, or back to the office.

There is also a spiritual application to the Sabbath in that we need to learn to rest and let G-d fight the battles for us after we have done what we can do. We must fight, but not place our faith in our own ability to win it.

Another feature of the Roman shield was the interlocking grooves. Roman soldiers, like the Greeks, fought in small units called Cohorts that would form a formation called the Phalanx. This was made by many soldiers who had soaked their shields lining up together with interlocking shields so that there was no room for the enemy to come between them, finding their vulnerable backs and sides. The soldiers on the front line had their shields facing forward for direct attacks, on the body, while soldiers in the middle would have shields held high above their heads to protect them and their fellow soldiers from indirect attacks from arrows that are harder to see coming-especially when one is blinded by the burning Mediterranean sun. While these soldier protected the heads of their comrades from indirect attacks, they were dependent on the soldiers on the frontline for protecting them from direct attacks.

The Roman soldiers who didn’t soak their own shields would be putting their fellow soldiers in danger, and would find themselves in deep trouble with their Commander. Soliders who were found sleeping while guarding Rome were put to death, as well as those who let prisoners escape, because they let the enemy loose to attack their comrades again.

The Phalanx required two types of protection. Those on the front lines, taking on the enemies direct attack (like physical confrontation, government, persecution, other religions). The other type of protection was from indirect attacks, those on the heads and necks of the bodies (family), the husbands and the wives. The indirect attacks come from books, movies, music, media, universities, its a psychological war. Without both types of protection, the phalanx was easily just as vulnerable as any other army.

The soldiers were also protected by the interlocking of the shields. The soldiers however were not clumsily placed together depending on each other. Experienced soldiers were given more responsibility than those who were new to the battle. They had to first be tested before being leaned on, prove that interlocking shields with them would not lead to an unequally yoked phalanx, with one side fleeing the battle, and the other staying put, thus opening the Phalanx to attack.

The final protective feature of the Phalanx was that the shields were easily distinguishable. Like the brightly colored uniforms of the British and French, the bright colors showed the enemy that the Roman Soldiers were not afraid and didn’t need to hide. The shields also set them apart from other armies and showed clearly which side they were on, making it nearly impossible for soldiers to switch sides in the midst of battle (this is called being “Kaddosh” in Hebrew, set apart from all others for ONE purpose, peculiar, strange, the opposite of blended or interchangeable). In later battles like the American Revolution, in face to face battles the bright colors helped one to identify enemies and allies in the smoke, fire, blood, and chaos of battle. Without easily identifiable marks (the marks of G-d in His Law), then one would be attacked by both sides since nobody knew who if you were friend or foe.

Together they became a force that most armies in the world could not prevail against. The only four armies that ever gave them fear where the ancient peoples that were descended form the Israelite Lost Tribes.
Phoenicians (Tyre, Sidon, Carthage, Iberia), the world’s best navy that had formerly allied with Solomon by their King Haman, and were often inhabited with Israelites after their Queen Jezebaal-Isabaal married Ahab, and the Parthian Empire (led by the Phares and Arsacid clans of King David’s lineage, and where the Magi came from to crown Yeshua Emperor of Parthia), the Yue Chi (White Huns) former Israelites in the Caucusus mountains, and the Goths (Gothieu-people of G-d), the Israelites that came over the Caucuses.

Thus showing that anyone, even someone who is not a believer, can apply the principles of the Bible and G-d’s Law and have a much better life, but they will still be out of Covenant and missing the Spiritual blessings.

check out “The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel…Found” by Stephen M. Collins.

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Shalom, my name is Brian Newman. In case you are curious about the "Asriel", it's Hebrew for "Elohim is my Comfort" which is a pen name I took on earlier in life. You may know me as the host of the TV Program "Let's Talk Shalom" , the co-host of the "Shalom Letters" podcast, or the author of "Audio Poetry" and "Redeemed". I am also a Veteran of the U.S. Air Force, a Certified Peer Support Recovery Specialist, a Certified Life Coach, Dream Interpreter and the Founder of Psalm 16 Media Ministry. More importantly though, I'm the father of two beautiful daughters, Aliyahna and Shema, and a follower of Yeshua (which most know by His Greek name "Jesus").

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