Today’s lesson comes from Deuteronomy 33. Please read this chapter. This passage details words Moses spoke as a blessing to each tribe just prior to his death.
Not long ago, my ministry team gathered around me, put their hands on my shoulders, and prayed. If you have ever been at the center of such a powerful prayer gathering, you understand how special it is to be surrounded by great prayers. As these warriors prayed for guidance, peace, joy, and the Spirit’s presence to overpower me, my spirit soared. Standing in the middle of this circle, it felt like a shield had been put in place to protect me from the enemy.
I imagine the leaders and members of each tribe felt a similar comfort as Moses, their leader, stretched out his hand and offered up a blessing. While there are many significant aspects to this blessing, I would like to draw our attention to one specific word. Fill in the blanks:
Deuteronomy 33:12: “Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he _______________ him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between His shoulders.”
Deuteronomy 33:29: “Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your _______________ and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will trample down their high places.”
Every year hurricanes cause extensive damage and cost countless lives. While I have never lived in hurricane territory, I do know one important fact: before the season begins, or sometimes at the first sign of danger, many business owners and homeowners, put up panels across all windows and vulnerable sections to protect their houses or buildings from danger. Without these hurricane panels in place, properties can be easy targets for disaster. I have friends who lived through the terrifying Hurricane Andrew that slammed into the Miami coast years ago. Their house suffered minimal damage, but it could have been far worse if the panels had not been in place. You could say that these panels served as a shield of protection.
Our lesson today will uncover one of God’s most extensive sources of strength for the believer—His shield of protection. First, we will examine Scripture to get a picture of this shield, and then we’ll look at it figuratively.
Turn to the following passages and write down everything you learn about shields.
1 Samuel 17:41:
1 Kings 10:16-17:
1 Kings 14:25-28:
My research found that, though shields were common pieces of armor in biblical days, these weapons were not all crafted alike. Many different materials were used: gold, brass, metal and wicker. Some were small, covering only half of the body; while other shields were large, surrounding the whole body, including the head. Some shields were wet or covered in oil so that they could extinguish a fiery dart. Shields were made in all different shapes, sizes and colors. I did find, however, one common denominator among biblical shields: they were crafted to protect. In Hebrew poetry, the shield serves as a powerful symbol of security a believer can find in the Lord.⁴
Read Deuteronomy 33:12 again. What benefits come with His shield of protection?
Based on the previous verse, where does God allow us to rest?
Right now my spirit is moved contemplating the unending love the Father bestows on us, His beloved children. The desert can be a place where our bodies struggle to survive. Yet, God provides rest for us. Not just any rest, mind you, but rest between His shoulders. Think about this for a second. If we choose to rest between His shoulders, our head will be positioned on His chest. This is where we will most certainly hear His heartbeat. Oh, how I long to be so close to my Lord that I can hear every beat of His heart. I have a feeling that as He wraps His strong and loving arms around me and as I listen to the beat of His heart; I will likely encounter a peace I have never known—a peace that will come even in the midst of the storms.
According to Psalm 91:4, what serves as God’s shield? Fill in the blank:
“His _______________________ will be your shield and rampart.”
Now, let’s look at this truth from the pen of one particular writer. Read through Lamentations 3:1-32, and write out words describing this writer’s pain and words describing the hope and help he receives during his painful struggle.
His pain – Lamentations 3:1-20
His hope and help – Lamentations 3:21-32
I remember a time, several years ago, when I could relate to this writer’s agony. One day in particular, I was weary and weak. All I could do was lie on the ground. The clouds were getting darker by the minute, and hope seemed an untouchable object. In the midst of deep despair, I opened my Bible and fell upon Lamentations 3. Reflecting on this writer’s pain, tears flowed as I cried to God, “Lord, this is me.”
Thankfully, I continued reading. My eyes then discovered Lamentations 3:21. The moment I read, “Great is [His] faithfulness,” the tears ceased and hope was restored. In an instant, I understood that God’s faithfulness was my shield and protection. No matter how severe the pain, I knew I would be okay because He’s faithful. I’ve had many encounters with the Lord in my life, but I’m not sure I’ve ever felt the touch of the Master’s tender hands upon me as much I did at that moment. As I continued to read, the inspired words written in Lamentations 3:31-32 offered me even greater hope.
Say them out loud with me:
“For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.”
Don’t you love when you’re reading a passage of Scripture and a light goes on? When this happens, there is no mistaking God’s voice. Still lying on the ground, God’s word jumped off the page when I read Lamentations 3:31-32. I heard God whisper to me that soon I would be released from my despair. Until then, though, He would shield me and protect me from greater danger. I pray this gives you hope for your current situation, and that you will remember this promise well into the future.
Please share this with someone who needs this message.