Well, I am back. I got a lot done, even had to do a few more things today, but it is good to be back.
All this talk about feet and shoes made me think about a passage that seems strange to us in 21st century America without knowing the background regarding it’s meaning, when it speaks about “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass“.
It is common for believers to be confused about expressions that seem so unusual to us, especially many Old Testament passages; and this becomes the reason why so many people get frustrated by Scripture, yet when they are explained, it becomes clear what God has said and the passage makes prefect sense.
This is because God in His wisdom utilized idioms and expressions that were common in the day it was written, whereas a search of history concerning the area and culture where the passage was referring to, would render clear what the original context was, in order that the meaning could be obtained – yet forever frozen in time.
How ingenious of God to do this in this particular manner, not attempting to present things in such a generic way (in which there would not be a historical marker that through searching of history, the idioms and expressions could be deciphered), but setting them in stone according to a classical meaning buried in history – unchangeable through time.
What this means is that to the diligent student that would NOT simply read God’s Word 2000 years after it was completed, but would study it; seeking to understand the context of what was said historically, as well as literally; he could unearth the richness that God had meant to convey – yet always at the direction and illumination of the Spirit.
How thankful we should be that God constructed history in such a way (protecting the record of history) that we can go back and understand things that were done in the Semitic languages and cultures, and have a reference point to define these idioms and expressions.
The following is a good example of this blessing.
“Thy shoes shall be iron and brass;and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.”
Feet always represent our walk through life, thus to walk with the Lord speaks about our lifestyle as far as our behavior (denotatively ~ precisely), and as well as what happens to us during that walk (connotatively ~ generally).
Shoes are what we wear on our feet, to cover us, to protect us as we walk through life. The ancient warriors / soldiers would wear shoes which were modified sandals that would have iron nails on the bottom for traction in rugged terrain and for grip, and because brass could be more easily molded, they would have brass arched over the top part of their shoes for protection in battle.
A common advanced sword technique used was to swing high toward the opponent’s head, which was normally blocked, then follow through with the drawback of a sweep to the lower legs and feet.
If you could damage the opponent’s feet or legs, he would be unable to continue to defined himself. I was taught this technique in fencing (saber and broadsword); as well as in police training using a baton. I used this technique more than a few times when dealing with an opponent using a standard baton. You would raise the baton in an upward swing toward the head, not to make contact but to distract him into a block, then on the down sweep strike the knee on the inside; it would take the perpetrator down to the ground every time.
Therefore, according to this passage, the shoes referred to were military shoes, implying that the person referred to is in battle – he is a warrior, a soldier.
Thus God’s promise to His own, to His children, His followers is that they are soldiers that are to prepare for battle (Emotionallyin feeling claim by reassuring ourselves mentally that God is faithful, and will take care of us no matter how bad it gets. Mentally by dwelling upon God’s Word, and therein holding His Word in our hearts [in Greek & Hebrew, “heart” always means the complete inward part of a person, not just the emotions. It is the mind, & the emotions, and the seat of the will, where discretion is made between the two, where decisions proceed from.], which why David said concerning the heart: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,1” wherein we cannot maintain or “hide” words, such as God’s Word in our emotions, but do so in our mind. And lastly, concerning our Will, we exercise faith in choosing to trust God, that what He says we can count on, that God has not promised to always take us out of trouble or trials – which develop spiritual maturity2 - but to be with us through the trials), by wearing the proper equipment (this is also seen in Eph. 6:15 ~ “and have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” ~ we do this by studying God’s Word with our minds – becoming prepared. The fight was to bring men to God, so that they would be at peace with God, stop fighting Him. A believer is to advance in their walk as going though a battle, yet not to kill, but to save) because we were meant to go through the battle, without being taken out of the battle. This is also seen in the passage where we are NOT told that He will take us out of the valley of the shadow of death, but that He would always be with us as we go “through the Valley of the shadow of death,” (Psalms 23:4).
It is human nature to seek to be relieved of pain and trials, yet many times; in fact most of the time it is His will for us to go through the pain and trials – trusting in Him.
This is not a poplar teaching, presenting that we are to be soldiers going through battles as opposed to being victims waiting to be rescued from those battles. However, the church is God’s army; the gathering of believers is a boot camp in preparation of the battle which takes place in the world the other six days of the week after Sunday.
Yet, seeker friendly churches act like they are hospitals, not training grounds – where is their true victory?. There is no victory when all we do is focus on ourselves, rather than on Him. When we take our focus off of the best and place it on the inferior. We gather to learn about Him, and His Will for us. How to “fight the good fight” of “faith“ (1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7), it is NOT about us, it is about HIM. There is always the mending of wounds suffered during battles back at the base, but the base’s main purpose is preparing soldiers for battle.
This is why Ephesians 4:11-12 says:
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”
The work is to be done by the followers, not the pastors, pastors as to prepare and train the followers – the soldiers for the battle that they enter each day. Pastors are about “edifying,” the “body of Christ” (which is a synonym for the followers of Christ), the Greek word translated “edifying“ is an architectural term, it is the word: oikodome, which means “to build,” the pastor builds up the follower by teaching the Word of God, so that the follower can function as a soldier by being able to wield the “Sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17) - the “Word God” with great skill.
Therefore, God’s promise to us as soldiers concerning the second part of Deuteronomy 33:25 is that “as thy days, so shall thy strength be,” meaning He will give us enough strength for each day, every day of our life. Not two days in advance, otherwise we might run into battle without Him – we need Him – daily.
This is the same reason that when God gave Israel manna in the wilderness, yet it only lasted for one day (except for that which fell the day before the Sabbath; which would last for 2 days in order that they did not have to work on the Sabbath in collecting it), God was teaching them to come to Him daily for their needs, and this is what is also implied in this passage in Deuteronomy as well. God will meet our needs daily, in order to maintain our reliance upon Him so that we do not become presumptuous, nor seek to walk in our own power.
If God did provide far in advance, He would be tempting us to be presumptuous due to a reliance upon the provision, rather than the Provider, to rely upon the system rather the Designer, to rely upon the supplies, rather the Supplier.
It must also be understood, that trials (the same base word used of tribulation & temptation), are a necessary part of growth and the development of faith. Fear is never the opposite of faith. Faith is what we do when we are afraid. Without fear there is no opportunity to exercise faith, yet we are not to dwell upon the fear and allow the fear to overtake us. It is during times of fear that we reassure ourselves of God’s faithfulness of according to His Word. This is done by dwelling or thinking upon God’s Word as is stated above by David. David learned to memorize Scripture to the extent that when the Battles came, which they will, he would immediately think upon and dwell upon God’s Word.3 God – which is our strength, and today God is your strength as well!
1. Psalms 119:11 ~ “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
2. 1 Peter 1:7 ~ “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold.” (James 1:2-4; 2 Peter 1:5-7).
3.Philippians 4:8 ~ “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
This bags the questions what are the different reasons for trails?
The Reason for Trials in the Life of Believers
- To glorify God ~ Most important for us (Dan. 3:16-18; Dan. 3: 24-25, 28)
- To build faith ~ Most important to us (1 Peter 1:6-7; James 1:2-4)
- To cause growth (Romans 5:3-5)
- To prove the reality of Christ in us (2 Cor. 4:7-11)
- To testify to Angels (Job 1:8; Eph. 3:8-11; 1 Peter 1:12)
- To equip us to comfort others (2 Cor. 1:3-4)
- To prevent us from falling into sin (1 Peter 4:1-2)
- To keep us from pride ~ Paul’s thorn (2 Cor. 12:7)
- To teach obedience & discipline (Act 9:15-16; Php. 4:11-13)
- To Discipline for known sin (Hebrew 12:5-11; James 4:17; Romans 14:23; 1 John 1:9)
Chuck Missler Reminds Us:
Two possible errors concerning trials (which are synonymous with temptations & tribulations):
1. Not anticipating trials ~ which are necessary for spiritual growth
2. Holding a morbid fear of trials ~ “what time I am afraid I will trust in the Lord.” (Psalms 56:3)
We Need a Divine Perspective
Remember: Job & his 3 friends ~ bad things don’t always happen because of bad choices ~ trails?
Remember: Paul & his “Thorn in the flesh” & how he measured “success” (SEE: 2 Cor. 4:7-18; 11:21-28)
“An apparent Biblical contradiction is the Holy Spirit’s way of getting the reader’s
attention so as to point out a hidden deep truth, which must be examined at great
expense, in order to discover the precious faith building treasure it contains.”
(Brent L Bolin ~ 1990)