By Josie Siler, Crosswalk.com
As I sit down to write this article, I’m feeling weary. Honestly, I’d rather be curled up in my comfy chair reading a book, watching a movie, or taking a nap. But God is speaking to me and reminding me why He laid it on my heart to write this article. I’m reminded once again that the Lord is my strength and shield. He has been before and He will be again.
In the last few weeks, I’ve experienced my regular chronic illness symptoms, horrible allergies, two negative Covid tests, and what will end up being 24 days of quarantine thanks to those two negative tests. I’m weary, and if I’m being honest, I’m going a bit loony. I treasure the days that are warm enough to sit outside in the sunshine, though they’ve been few.
Can you relate? Are trials and frustrations piling up? I understand completely. So what do we do when we’re at the end of our rope, weakness reigns, and the attacks of the evil one feel relentless? We remember the Lord is our strength and shield, and we pray. So I stop writing and take a moment to talk to God. I ask Him to be my strength and shield even now as I write this article. I thank Him for all the times He has replaced my weakness with His strength and been my refuge in the storms of life.
What Does the Bible Mean by 'the Lord Is My Strength and Shield’?
What does the Bible mean by ‘the Lord is my strength and shield”? Exactly that. This is one area of Scripture where we don’t need to overthink things. In this passage, David is speaking of physical strength. He’s also using the word shield just as we’d imagine. He’s saying the Lord defends and protects us, just like a shield is used in battle to defend and protect the one wielding it. I find that incredibly encouraging!
Why Does This Passage Use Shield Imagery to Describe God?
I believe this passage uses shield imagery because it was written by King David. David was a man of war and familiar with not only the weapons of war but items used in defense. Items such as shields. No doubt David used a shield many times in His life. I expect the use of a shield even saved David’s life on more than one occasion.
It doesn’t surprise me that David equates the Lord with being His shield. As much as David counted on his weapons of war for victory, he counted on the Lord even more. He had experienced God’s protection. He had seen God defend him from the attacks of King Saul and other enemies time and time again.
We can take this all the way back to David’s very first battle against Goliath. David volunteers to fight Goliath, but he’s laughed at. His response? “The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37, NIV). His answer was good enough and King Saul dressed David in his armor. David walked around a little bit and realized he couldn’t fight in all that weight; he wasn’t used to it. He was a shepherd boy, so he took off the bulky armor and went to fight Goliath with just his shepherd’s staff, a sling, and five smooth stones. Goliath came at him with a shield so big he had a shield-bearer, someone to carry it out in front of him. But was David afraid? Oh no! “David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands’” (1 Samuel 17:45-46). And He did. David was victorious over Goliath that day. He did the impossible because God was with him. God was David’s strength and shield from the very beginning when he fought the bear and the lion and the giant.
What Is the Context of Psalm 28 and 'The Lord Is My Strength and Shield'?
Written by King David, Psalm 28 begins with a passionate cry to the Lord for help and mercy. Psalm 28:7 is our key verse, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” David ends the Psalm with more praise, “The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever”(Psalm 28:8-9).
We see David reinforcing his view that the Lord is his strength and shield. He also calls on the Lord to shepherd His people. As a former shepherd, David knew what he was asking. As we saw above, David had protected his sheep from lions and bears. He was asking God to protect and care for His people and carry them forever. In essence, David was praying for us today. He was asking God to shepherd and carry us - to be our strength and shield.
Further context for this Psalm is debated. According to Matthew Henry, “Some think he [David] was now in trouble seeking God, but at the same time preparing to praise him for his deliverance, and by faith giving him thanks for it, before it was wrought. Others think he was now in triumph, but remembered, and recorded for his own and others’ benefit, the prayers he made when he was in affliction, that the mercy might relish the better when it appeared to be an answer to them.” Either way, it’s clear that we can count on the Lord to be our strength and shield.
10 Reasons to Be Encouraged that God Is Our Strength and Shield
We can count on God to deliver us.
“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent people you save me” 2 Samuel 22:2-3.
Our glory is found in the Lord.
“But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high” Psalm 3:3.
Hope, joy, and unfailing love are found in the Lord.
“We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you” Psalm 33:20-22.
We don’t have to be afraid.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” Psalm 46:1-3.
We can rely on God to be our strength, refuge, and fortress.
“But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely” Psalm 59:16-17
We can expect good things from the Lord.
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you” Psalm 84:11-12.
We can find salvation and joy in God.
“The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: ‘The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!’” Psalm 118:14-15
We can trust God to be merciful and protect us in battle.
“I say to the LORD, ‘You are my God.’ Hear, LORD, my cry for mercy. Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer, you shield my head in the day of battle” Psalm 140:6-7.
We can laugh at the days to come.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come” Proverbs 31:25.
We can find security in Jesus, our strong Shepherd.
“He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth” Micah 5:4.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but all of the Bible verses above are found in the Old Testament. The world shield is used 47 times in the New International Version of the Old Testament. Do you know how many times it’s used in the New Testament? Once. I found this hard to believe so I checked again using the King James Version. It was different. There were 43 uses in the OT, but still just one in the NT. Let’s look at this important verse.
Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV, emphasis mine) reads, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
This is one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture. I try to pray through these verses every morning to remind myself that I have everything I need to get through the day—Jesus. I’ve long pictured the shield of faith being Jesus. As we’ve seen, the Bible tells us over and over that the Lord is our shield. Jesus is also the truth (John 14:6), righteousness (2 Peter 1), peace (Philippians 4:7), our salvation (Acts 4:11-12), and the Word (John 1:1,14). When Paul is telling us to put on the armor of God, he’s telling us to clothe ourselves in Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14). Isn’t that amazing?
The Bible says the Lord is our strength and shield because He is. He strengthens us and protects us. He is our refuge and our fortress. Armed with Jesus through our unity with Him, we can face anything because we don’t face it alone. He will fight for us. He will defend us. He will save us. We can live and rest in Him, today and always.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/matt_benoit
Passionate about helping people find joy for their journey, Josie Siler, a small-town Wisconsin girl, has big dreams. As a multi-award-winning author and photographer, Josie shares God’s gifts of beauty, hope, and adventure with people who are overwhelmed by life’s circumstances, encouraging them to walk in the freedom and joy found in Jesus. Josie’s publications include the compilation Breaking the Chains: Strategies for Overcoming Spiritual Bondage and numerous articles for web and magazine. As a chronic illness warrior herself, Josie ministers to others living with illness and caregivers through Broken but Priceless Ministries. When she’s not writing or taking pictures, you’ll find Josie curled up with a good book, eating chocolate, and cuddling her teddy bear dog Ruby Mae (a.k.a. The Scruffy Princess). Connect with Josie at JosieSiler.com.
This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.