The Spearman

Keep Calm and Read a Psalm 35:2-3:

“Take hold of shield and buckler,
And stand up for my help.
Also draw out the spear,
And stop those who pursue me.
Say to my soul,
‘I am your salvation.’”

Recently, I was in the BJU production “Living Gallery” (for those who don’t know, it’s an Easter tradition combining a drama with paintings comprised of live models. It’s one of a kind—plan to attend next year!). In it, I was “Babylonian Soldier #2” or “Babs” (I’m still waiting for my Tony). My role was to basically walk around like an Orc and whack poor helpless refugees with a very long spear. And I did so with great skill. Except for the times my spear got caught in the doorway coming in. Or when it knocked over a rock, revealing its white Styrofoam underneath (oops). Or when it made a loud noise off stage when I dropped it. Needless to say, I did not receive a standing ovation.

It was fun though—and I learned that spears are dangerous weapons. Their length makes them handy for tripping people, blocking paths, and accidentally stabbing a fellow thespian (just kidding!). I guess I never had handled a spear before. Not that anyone has a use for one in our modern life (“Honey, hand me the ten-foot javelin—I need to get this cobweb”).

But in the ancient world, a spear was a vital weapon—in fact, one of the most common weapons a foot soldier would carry. One of the coolest stories in the Bible about a spear was when Joshua was fighting against the town of Ai (read about it in Joshua 8). In the battle, after an ingenious battle strategy where he faked a retreat, Joshua was told to stop and face the enemy for a surprise counterattack. God told him to “Stretch out the spear that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.” And Joshua did so.

Can you see it? Joshua stopping in the midst of the battle and raising his long spear up into the dazzling sunlight. His secret army launched from its position at this signal and took the city that the army had just abandoned to pursue Joshua. Then, Joshua and his troops charged the ranks and the battle was won as Ai filled with smoke and blood. Then and only then, did Joshua feel at ease to lower his spear (can you imagine the arm cramps he had? That’s one buff dude). Epic.

But notice Who’s stretching out the spear in our verses today. It’s God Almighty. David is being overwhelmed by his attackers, so he turns to the Lord and says, “A little help here! Grab your shield, God, and protect me!” (See blog post “Shield Bearer”). But God grabs more than His shield—He also grabs His mighty javelin and “stops” those who are pursuing David. What a comfort. Are you being pursued by the devil, the world, and the flesh to just give in? Has your lust chased you into a corner? Is bitterness hot on your heels? Are bad influences breathing down your neck? It’s time to call in the Spearman—He promises to provide a way of escape when faced with temptation and problems.

So next time you’re in an epic chase, fleeing from an enemy, call on God. He’ll show up with shield and spear and trip those bad boys up. And as you pant and give up on your own strength, He’ll whisper, “Relax. I’m your salvation.”

-Matthew W., SC

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