Friday, February 17, 2012

Yahweh, My Shield

But You, O LORD, are a shield for me. (Psalm 3:3)

The Hebrew word for “shield” is magen, from the word ganan, to defend, cover, surround, or hedge about. We find this name frequently in the Psalms, in connection with other names for God. He is called,

  • My Shield and the Horn of My Salvation (Psalm 18:2)
  • Yahweh, My Strength and My Shield (Psalm 28:7)
  • Our Help and Our Shield (Psalm 33:20; see also Psalm 115:9-11)
  • Yahweh, Our Shield (Psalm 59:11)
  • Yahweh God, a Sun and a Shield (Psalm 84:11)
  • My Hiding Place and My Shield (Psalm 119:114)
  • My Shield, in Whom I Take Refuge (144:2)
The first time we find the word magen in Bible, it is identified with Yahweh, who came to Abraham in a vision and said, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward” (Genesis 15:1). Then He made him a promise: “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them … So shall your descendants be” (Genesis 15:5).

To Israel, the nation that came from Abraham, the nation through whom God promised to bless all the nations of the world, God said, “Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, the shield of your help and the sword of your majesty! Your enemies shall submit to you, and you shall tread down their high places” (Deuteronomy 33:29).

God made covenant with Israel by His personal name, Yahweh (the book of Deuteronomy is the document of that covenant). By calling Him Yahweh, My Shield, David laid hold of the covenant promise and received it as his own. What God was for Abraham and what God was for Israel, God was also for David. In Psalm 35, David calls on God to take up his cause and contend with those who were contending with him, “Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for my help” (Psalm 35:2).

Not only is God thought of as a shield but so are the kings and tribal leaders:
The princes of the people have gathered together, the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; He is greatly exalted. (Psalm 47:9)

O God, behold our shield, and look upon the face of Your anointed. (Psalm 84:9)

For our shield belongs to the LORD, and our king to the Holy One of Israel. (Psalm 89:18)
So David himself was considered to be a shield for his people, even as Yahweh was a shield for him. How much more, then, is King Jesus, the Son of David anointed to reign forever on his throne, a shield for all who trust in Him. He is our shield forever, in whom we can always take refuge and find protection, strength and help.