God’s Faithfulness Our Shield and Rampart
Note, I wrote this earlier for the local paper. Later I thought that since the country is divided over a wall, and the government is partly shutdown, someone reading it might think that is what I am talking about here. But that is the farthest thing from my mind in this column!
Psalm 125:2 says, “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even forever.”
This is a picture of God surrounding His people, even as the mountains surround Jerusalem and other cities. I was thinking today, however, not of the mountains around Jerusalem or other cities but of the walls which have sometimes been built to further protect them, and of the spiritual lessons about our true security in Christ which the scripture draw from these walls.
In the old city of Jerusalem there are various walls around different parts of the city. These walls, also called ramparts, date from different eras. When you were standing behind a wall or rampart, you could peer out over the high wall and even shoot an arrow or throw a spear, but there was also a protected place for your feet to stand behind the wall.
In Jerusalem, one huge wall or rampart, really the most recent, dates from the period of the Ottoman Turks. Because it is such a huge wall, it is the one you often see in pictures of the old walled city of Jerusalem. You can imagine people fighting invaders from behind these safe walls! Seeing the great city made more secure by this wall which goes on for miles always impresses me.
I thought of those large walls or ramparts when reading in Psalm 91, verse 4, where it says “ His (God‘s) faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Imagine being protected not just by a shield or by a great wall, but by both. Both of them are from God! Both your shield and your rampart are God’s Faithfulness guarding you! This is what Psalm 91:4 says.
One Hebrew word for God’s faithfulness is Emunah, but this word also means His persistence and steadfastness.
Speaking of God’s faithfulness, did you ever consider that God’s faithfulness always must come before our own faith? His faithfulness precedes our faith. We learn that He is trustworthy, and then we learn to put our trust in Him. We learn that He is Faithful, and then we learn to put our faith in Him. If God were not faithful and trustworthy, we could never have faith or trust in Him. There would be no reason to have faith in One who is not faithful!
The faithfulness of God is the wall of love and protection He has built around our lives in Jesus Christ. Unlike the Turkish wall around Jerusalem, or any other wall there, this is not a wall that is visible or made with human hands. As 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Recently the other day, inexplicably, I had this enormous peace sweep over me. I cannot even describe how it was. It was definitely more a feeling than a thought, but more than that, it seemed to me to be the very presence of God.
You cannot see with your eyes God’s faithfulness, though I believe it is stronger and more reliable than any shield or rampart or wall. But it is there! God’s Word says so. Believe the good news!
Winfield Casey Jones is a retired pastor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. An earlier version appeared in the Pearland and Friendswood Reporter News.