Time to Buckler Up!
"Take hold of the shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help." Instill in youngsters the importance of "taking hold" and "standing up" for God's help – and trusting God to keep you safe!
Yes, that's "buckler up," not the usual "buckle up" we regularly say to our youngsters. But learning how to buckler up is just as important as a seat belt is to a child's safety. If it was valuable to King David in his many battles, it should be useful to us.'
In fact it is mentioned in Psalm 91 - a psalm on how to stay safe with God's help - a psalm definitely attributed to David (unlike other psalms he commissioned to be added to his song book). In verse 4, he says: ".....his truth shall be thy shield and buckler." We'll get to the truth reference in a moment, but let's talk about shield and buckler first.
In armor terminology, the shield is a primary moving source of protection from an enemy. The shield is usually large, and with skillful effort, it can be moved about in any direction to protect the body. However, the buckler is a small round shield with a hand grip. It is kept in place by this leather strap through which the arm is passed. It is ideal protection against smaller weapons such as arrows and knives. Using both the shield and buckler, the warrior has no hand available to hold an offensive weapon. But, that is not needed because "his truth" is the real protection.
What is this truth? Certainly it is the truth that God is more powerful than any oppressor - a bully, an incompetent car driver, a youth gang, a mean sibling. It is the truth told in Genesis, chapter one, that God created us as His image, so we can't experience anything unlike Him. It is the truth that we are perfect and precious and safe right now. It is the truth that God is protecting us not just when we call on Him, but every minute of our day, in every corner of our experience.
These are concepts to present (in age-appropriate words) and then discuss with your family. You may want to share some of the Bible stories on God's protective arm:
- Noah (Genesis 6)
- Jacob (Genesis 28)
- David (I Samuel 17)
- Ezekiel (Ezekiel 37)
- Three boys in the fire (Daniel 3)
- Daniel and the lions (Daniel 6)
- Jesus and Peter (John 6)
- Jesus and enemies (Luke 4)
- Paul's shipwreck (Acts 27)
- Eutychus' tumble(Acts 20)
These are just a few and you can add your own family's experiences of realizing safety through reliance on God.
Children need to learn to trust God, as it says in II Samuel 22:31, "As for God, his way is perfect; he is a buckler to all them that trust in him." A good motto for your bulletin board or refrigerator door comes from Psalm 35:2 "Take hold of the shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help." Instill in youngsters the importance of "taking hold" and "standing up" for God's help. Young children might enjoy making a cardboard buckler for themselves.
Finally, I would like to encourage you to use Psalm 91 as a morning or evening prayer. While it is beautiful in the King James Version, choose instead the paraphrased version in Eugene H. Peterson's "The Message." It includes the lines "You'll stand untouched....You'll walk unharmed...I'll give you the best of care if you'll only get to know and trust me."
So there's your joyful assignment, to buckler up your entire family.