Rise Up, My Love (98): Golden Bucklers

NecklaceSong of Solomon 4:4 “…the tower of David builded for an armory, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.” No one knows for sure which tower is being referred to in the physical world, but Acts 13:22 gives a clue concerning the spiritual tower that David was: “He raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.” Oh, to be like David, with a heart to pant after God and fulfill his holy will! Then would our necks be straight, stately, and strong—like the tower of David—and we would work with courage and power.

The tower of David was built for an armory. An armory is a place to store and exhibit weapons, although in I Kings 10: 16-18 we discover that Solomon also stored many weapons in his palace. He put 200 targets of gold and 300 shields (each of which was made from three pounds of beaten gold) along with a beautiful ivory throne overlaid with “the best gold” in palace complex called  his “house in the Forest of Lebanon.”

The weapons were stored up against the day of battle—to protect the king and his people—but they were also on constant display as a remembrance of past victories and an encouragement to future success. What weapons were stored there? “A thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.” Bucklers were door-shaped shields that covered the whole body and were used for heavy protection. The term “shield” was often (but not always) used to denote a smaller, round protection carried by light infantry, and more often used during ceremonial displays or in ornamentation. In both cases, the arms were used for defensive purposes.

As King Solomon spoke, he was doubtless admiring his bride’s golden necklaces, displayed in layers around her neck. The term “a thousand” indicated a large, round number, not meant to be numerically accurate, just as today we might say we saw “a thousand” birds migrating south. He beheld his wife’s straight neck adorned by many layers of glittering golden ornaments, and it reminded him of his father’s armory. Throughout his childhood Solomon probably had many occasions to visit the royal armories filled with gleaming shields. What a sense of awe it would have aroused in him as he admired the magnificent display of bucklers that the soldiers used to protect his father…what a sense of security he would feel…what an inspiration as he considered that some day he might use one of those shields and reign over his father’s great kingdom!

The bridegroom’s heart was aroused to see his wife adorned so extravagantly! Her affections, too, were well protected from “assault” by other lovers because of her husband’s lavish provisions for her. He would shield her from a thousand enemies, and she would be his to “have and to hold”—to love, protect, reign over, and enjoy…just as Solomon’s father reigned over Israel…and just as Christ reigns over his bride.

Spiritually, what is our shield from the attacks of Satan? Our faith! (Ephesians 6:16) If the neck represents the faith by which the church is united to her head, the shields of faith displayed on the bride’s neck may represent the mighty victories of Christ through individuals of great faith…such as those heroic people mentioned in the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith.” Ah, you say, but look at the end of Hebrews 11:33-39. Most of those faithful souls were martyred. Are they to be displayed as mighty victories?

Yes! Because even torture and death could not overcome their faith. Look at Romans 8:36-37: “As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” More than conquerors! These men and women of loyal faith stand like rows of golden shields adorning the bride of Christ, displaying his matchless victories of love.

Lord, may our faith shine like a gleaming shield to adorn your bride. May our own neck be encircled with a thousand acts of loyal faith that arouse your ardor for us!

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