Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #21 Sword and Shield

August 2014 Your 50 Favorite Proverbs

Success can be a dangerous word for a follower of Jesus. If we’re chasing fame, wealth, or power, we’re running in the wrong direction.

But if by success we mean pleasing God, we’re on the right path. God alone makes a truly satisfying life possible. Here’s how.

He holds success in store for the upright,
    he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless
for he guards the course of the just
    and protects the way of his faithful ones. Proverbs 2:7-8

"He holds success in store..." Proverbs 2:7

He holds success in store…

Not the word store, as in shopping—walk in with a list, walk out with bags of stuff.

Here, store means keeping things safe. A place where God “hides away” (AMP) what matters most, where He “reserves” (CEB) the things we truly need, where He “layeth up” (ASV) treasures for us, and will “keep” (DRA) them for our use.

What’s He holding in store for us? To be honest, “success”doesn’t fully capture the depth of the Hebrew word, tushiyyah. What God offers us is “sound and godly Wisdom” (AMP) and the gift of “common sense” (CJB). He also provides “help and protection” (GNT) by way of His “effective counsel” (NET).

If we experience any real success, it’s only because of God’s “priceless” (GW) and “perfect wisdom” (NLV), safely stored for us in His Word.

"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword,..." Hebrews 4:12

Beloved, I have no doubt that I wear you out with my word-by-word approach to Bible study. Some weeks I can almost hear you saying, “All right, I get it! Next verse, please!”

Here’s the thing: 2 Timothy 2:15 tell us, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

That’s why I’m trying to handle each word with care, hoping we all discover the Big Picture that God is painting for us—a breathtaking masterpiece!

"...we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth..." 2 Peter 3:13

…for the upright,…

Who qualifies as upright? People who are walking in the right direction. It’s “everyone who obeys him” (CEV). Not folk who are simply “honest” (ERV) or “decent” (GW). We’re talking about those who are “in right standing with Him” (AMP).

My father was a good person, a man of high principles and deep integrity. But he was not a man who worshiped God or read the Bible or prayed for his family. Much as it breaks my heart, after 89 years on this earth, he didn’t choose to be counted among “the godly” (TLB).

You can be sure, if my father gave his heart to Christ in the twilight hours after his stroke, I will be the first to leap with joy when I see him in heaven! Until that day, my passion is to share the truth of God’s love with anyone willing to listen. (So grateful you’re one of them!)

"...he is a shield..." Proverbs 2:7

…he is a shield… Proverbs 2:7

What a visual! God is our defender, our “bodyguard” (MSG), our “safe-covering” (NLV). We’re surrounded by His love, guarded by His strength, and wrapped in His grace. As David wrote, “You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:5). Such a comfort, to picture God shielding us front and back, to sense His mighty hand resting on our shoulder.

In Hebrew, magen means a literal “shield.” What we call the six-pointed Star of David is better known as the Magen David, or Shield of David. (The Yiddish phrase, Mogen David, is also the name of a cheap wine I guzzled back in my college days, but let’s not go there…)

One translation tells us God’s wisdom is “a buckler” (JUB), a small, round shield, which a warrior grips in his hand or wears on his arm. Like the old hymn says…

A trusty weapon is Thy Word,
Thy Church’s buckler, shield and sword.
Oh, let us in its power confide
That we may seek no other guide!

I’m singing a three-fold “Amen” to that, sister.

" those whose walk is blameless..." Proverbs 2:7

…to those whose walk is blameless…Proverbs 2:7

We’re reminded again that divine protection is for “those who walk blamelessly” (NRSV). Wait. Blameless? Us?

You bet. The Bible clearly tells us how perfection is possible: “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Once again, it’s all God.

We can “walk uprightly” (GNV) only because He bent down to carry a cross.

"...for he guards the course of the just..." Proverbs 2:8

…for he guards the course of the just… Proverbs 2:8

Verses 7 and 8 flow together, so we gotta press on, knowing “God sees” (CEV) us right where we are. He “keeps his eye” (MSG) on us every hour of the day and night, and continually “protects” (GNT) us from the enemy’s attacks.

Can our temporal bodies become injured or weakened with illness? Yes. They will also be healed—in this world or the next—by the Lord Himself, who sees us safely home.

God sees. God guards. God wins.

Here’s my favorite take on the course of the just“the paths of rightwiseness” (WYC). What may look like a crazy, curvy road to us looks like a rightwise path to God—straight, true, and according to plan.

"...and protects the way of his faithful ones." Proverbs 2:8

…and protects the way of his faithful ones. Proverbs 2:8

In case we missed it, God reminds us that “he watches over” (CEV) His own, and “pays special attention to” (MSG) “those who belong to Him” (NLV).

Who are those blessed people again?
His “saints” (ASV). His “loyal followers” (ERV). His “committed ones” (MSG).

By His grace, we can be counted among them.
Remarkable, isn’t it? Just. Wow.

Proverbs 2:7-8 on Pinterest

Now it’s your turn

  • How might you take these many words and sum them up in one word (or two or three)? A single, simple truth that says it all.

Can’t wait to see what you come up with! Thanks for taking a moment to Post a Comment below.

Your free Printable of Proverbs 2:7-8 is ready to download, and all our weekly Proverbs to date are on Pinterest.

Next week, a much shorter verse, I promise. And a refreshing one!

Your sister, Liz
@LizCurtisHiggs #50Proverbs

Your Sister, Liz Curtis Higgs Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member August 2014 Your 50 Favorite Proverbs
Love being part of (in)courage! I am honored to write for P31 Ministries

59 Responses to Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #21 Sword and Shield

  1. Susan Ireland August 21, 2014 at 1:59 am #

    Isaiah 41:13 – For I hold you by your right hand–I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you (NLT)

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 21, 2014 at 11:29 am #

      Wonderful verse, Susan. Perhaps, in a word, “Help.” Or “Faithful.” (I’m now realizing how HARD it is to reduce this week’s teaching to just ONE word!) Thanks for being the first to share.

  2. Cathy Gross August 21, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    He is my everything!

  3. Lawan Rivera August 21, 2014 at 8:18 am #


    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 21, 2014 at 11:31 am #

      So right, Lawan. 1 John 4:8 assures us, “God is love.”

  4. Paulette August 21, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    Be still..

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 21, 2014 at 11:32 am #

      YES, Paulette. “Be still,” and let Him work in us and through us. Great summary of what God calls us to do.

  5. jaime August 21, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    Love is the simplest answer but since that’s already posted, Ill say power, protection, and provision. I too am familiar with mogen David. Yes, that’s high on my “don’t go there!” list.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 21, 2014 at 11:34 am #

      Glad I’m not alone there, Jaime! I like your 3 “P” words. Well done.

  6. Susie August 21, 2014 at 11:30 am #

    Security! in Him!!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 21, 2014 at 11:35 am #

      I once read that the thing women want most is security. Isn’t it wonderful that God provides that for us? THANKS for your words.

  7. Carol Weeks August 21, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    His grace is sufficient…

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 21, 2014 at 11:39 am #

      So right, Carol. I wrote an entire book on that truth. (Hmmm. I’m thinking every book I’ve written has that reality at the heart of it!). Every word you’ve chosen from Scripture is powerful. “HIS” tells us the Source. “GRACE” is the Gift. “IS” means yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And “SUFFICIENT” puts a period on His promise. He is ENOUGH!

  8. shirlee August 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

    ..Going forward with a sword and a shield….last evening, I had occasion to help a neighbor who was unable to do a task herself, we were outside, and there were a few women present…as I did the task, I felt called to ” pray” with this nice lady, later I thought..these other women may feel I am a bit strange for this…not too many folks pray aloud, but I felt I was being used by the ” Holy Spirit to do this.( thoughts on this)?

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 22, 2014 at 10:08 am #

      No question, Shirlee, your prayer was the Holy Spirit’s idea! Before I knew the Lord, I watched people pray openly and thought, “Wow. They really believe in what they’re doing.” It didn’t strike me as strange so much as amazing, and rather wonderful, even though I had not yet given my heart to the One they were praying to! So, pray on, sister.

  9. Pam Erselius August 21, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    Enfolded in the arms of The Forgiving King.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 22, 2014 at 10:08 am #

      Love the image your words bring to mind, Pam.

  10. Cheri August 21, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    Faithful protector!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 22, 2014 at 10:09 am #

      You got it, Cheri! Two powerful words that say it all.

  11. laurabennet August 21, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    Thanks, Liz. And no, I never get tired of your wonderful way leading through scripture. I don’t always take the time, but today felt compelled to be still for a few more minutes and read your post. Thank you. I really needed that today! We’ve taken a leap of faith and are currently in mid-air where it can get a little scary if we forget who our amazing God is and that he will faithfully protect us. Amen!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 22, 2014 at 10:11 am #

      Thanks for your affirming words, Laura. And YES, mid-air to us is being in the center of God’s will from His viewpoint!

  12. Lina August 21, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    Thanks Liz! I needed to hear this today… being shielded by HIm.. Yeah! and the pictures gave me a great visual to hold on to.

    I admit sometimes all the versions make it a bit hard to read, but I like having more than one way to think about it too.

    Take care!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 22, 2014 at 10:17 am #

      I hear you, Lina. Pictures help me get the full concept too. And YES, I get the awkwardness of reading with all those quotes and parentheses. In my books we reduce any references like (NIV) into smaller type, to smooth out your reading experience. I’m going to a new website design in January that should allow me to do the same there. Thanks for getting why I include them: a deeper, richer understanding of God’s Word!

  13. Ros August 21, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    Your word by word approach to bible study brings so much understanding. It is never tedious. Thank you Liz.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 22, 2014 at 10:19 am #

      Grateful to hear it, Ros. Appreciate your willingness to study with me!

  14. Martha T. August 21, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

    Best protection ever!

  15. Gwen August 21, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    I do not know how to put this verse in different words. I’m on a bench with a giant redwood in front of me. It’s been a week where I’ve had my TBI so noticed I’m embarrassed as I’ve wept and hobbled and grown confused. I’ve read this twice and it touched my spirit. I felt a moving almost to tears. But it is gone. I cannot recall what I’ve read just moments ago. But that He’s there for me, I’m righteous upright only because of ALL beyond my comprehension Jesus did on the cross. My fave verse since age 12 has been psalm 16:11 and so I must accept this too as part of His plan. I liked the earthly winding road that truly is straight in Gods eyes. People say Oh God will show you what you are to do but I’ve already been shown. Its a different path yet people whom God chooses listen to my voice in quietness share of Christs love in the most strangest of places for I’m usually housebound and alone. Blessings. I did not find it too long of a devotional. I will reread!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 22, 2014 at 10:28 am #

      Gwen, by “TBI” do you mean a Traumatic Brain Injury? If so, then I want to assure you, the words you’ve shared here make perfect sense, and God’s Spirit in you is clearly alive and well.

      This is a very powerful statement: “God will show you what you are to do, but I’ve already been shown.” I believe we’ve ALL been shown, simply because He states His will for us so openly in His Word:

      “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
      And what does the Lord require of you?
      To act justly and to love mercy
      and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

  16. Michele August 21, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

    Liz, you are a writer, a wordsmith. Your delving into the deeper meanings of the words are what helps us better understand what our loving Abba was trying to tell us. You devotions are always AMAZING! Love you sister:)

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 22, 2014 at 10:31 am #

      Hugs to you, Michele, for hearing my heart in these studies. They take a full day to research and write—and it’s my favorite day of the week!

      • Denise August 23, 2014 at 9:45 am #

        Liz, I have to agree with Michelle. I absolutely do NOT feel burdened by your approach to taking each phrase and expounding on it. I feel the verse come alive this way. After meeting you personally, I can picture you quivering with excitement as the Holy Spirit moves through you during your time of research and writing each week. Thank you for letting us shate these uplifting, sometimes correcting, moments with you.

  17. Kathy August 21, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    A mighty fortress is our God – the words from that hymn kept coming to my mind while reading this devotional. I read it over and over again because God’s words just spoke to my heart. I loved how you added this verse and statement: ““You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:5). Such a comfort, to picture God shielding us front and back, to sense His mighty hand resting on our shoulder.” What a beautiful word picture of how God loves us. And I totally agree with the other ladies. I never tire of your detailed breaking down of God’s word to help me understand and grasp His truth. Don’t ever stop – you are a blessing to me!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 22, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      Oh, Kathy, that hymn by Martin Luther is in my Top 5. GLORIOUS. I’ll have it in my mind all day now. :>) My favorite verse is the 2nd:

      Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
      Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
      Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
      Lord Sabaoth, His name, from age to age the same,
      And He must win the battle.

  18. Sandy August 21, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

    I feel loved by God!

  19. amy August 21, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

    Christ hems me in behind before
    Him I will forever worship and adore…

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 22, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      Beautiful, Amy. His action, your response. YES!

  20. Deirdre HUNTER August 21, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    Liz i love receiving these in my inbox and especially love the in-depth description of the words! don’t apologise!
    I love the Word of God, need the Word of God – like the air i breathe
    They are always a burst of encouragement, Thank you xx

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 22, 2014 at 10:40 am #

      Oh dear. Didn’t mean to sound apologetic. :>) Just concerned, I guess, that perhaps I was overdoing things a tad. But then, that’s how I’ve rolled my whole writing life, so…why stop now, right?! THANKS, Deidre.

  21. Gwen August 21, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    He’s got my back!!!!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 22, 2014 at 10:40 am #

      Yes, He does, Gwen. Plus your front and both sides, your head and your feet. Amazing!

  22. Mamie August 22, 2014 at 12:39 am #

    Blood of Jesus

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 22, 2014 at 10:45 am #

      Love this, Mamie. In truth, those words sum up the WHOLE of His Word.
      “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

  23. Darlis August 22, 2014 at 1:22 am #

    Liz, I love your explanations of scripture with all the word studies. Keep on keeping on.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 22, 2014 at 10:45 am #

      You got it, Daris. My goal is not too many Liz words and lots of God’s Word!

  24. Susan Gruener August 22, 2014 at 2:22 am #

    This was one of my favorites…not only the verse, but all the ‘words’ behind the words! 🙂 I love how you teach us Hebrew meanings of words, the descriptive meanings of certain words, and the use the various versions of the bible – fantastic! My three word to sum it up would be “He’s Got Me!” 😉 I appreciated finally finding out what Magen David was. 🙂 I also love the photos you use! I’m so ‘visual’! And I save every ‘print-out’ of each verse- love those! Liz you just have it all! 😉
    Bless you!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 22, 2014 at 10:46 am #

      Thanks, Susan. And He DOES have you, right in the center of His embrace!

  25. Linda H August 22, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    “Amazing Protection” I have always loved verses with references to a shield. This verse truly spoke straight to my heart in season of my life where I need to remember, “God sees. God guards. God wins.” In the battle that is raging within a family I am comforted to know this and can hold up God’s shield of amazing protection♡ Your teaching Liz, short or long, never fails to reach my heart. Thank you!!!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 22, 2014 at 10:50 am #

      Two powerful words, Linda. I love shields too. They’re a mean of defense, rather than a sharp pointy object meant to kill. (Though in the hands of a warrior, a shield can become a deadly weapon!). So grateful to know we’re learning together.

  26. CarolAnne August 22, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

    “Safe in His Arms”. And Liz, you use as many words (and pictures) as you need! I have learned so much from your books & posts. Always feel better after reading your insights. You have such a talent to bless others by opening our eyes to God’s love for us. Thank you, Dearie 🙂

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 23, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

      A great phrase to capture the whole of it, CarolAnne! So glad my teaching/blogging style works for you.

  27. Gwen Martin August 23, 2014 at 3:02 am #

    Success doesn’t always feel or look like “success” here on earth. I think of the Christians who are being killed by ISIS. It seems they are defeated. But not in God’s eyes! He is welcoming them home with the words “good and faithful servants”!! As missionaries in northern Sweden, my daughters don’t have many Christian friends and struggle with looking successful, which for them includes being accepted. Even back in the US with their Christian friends, they struggle also. They often feel defeated in their friendships. There also, success can feel like defeat when they don’t feel like they fit in because our family follows God’s ways. Several woman I work with feel defeated when “life” doesn’t go right. This is a hard concept to truly learn as we often don’t “see” our success, but so very worthwhile. So many times we don’t feel successful because we measure success by the wrong standards. A change of definition of success is needed. Success is simply “Walking with Jesus”, trusting He is taking care of us. So thanks for your words of encouragement and wisdom.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 23, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

      Your definition of “success” is spot on, Gwen. THANKS for sharing. I can only imagine the cultural challenges your daughters go through for the sake of Christ. You must be very proud of them.

  28. Becky Frith August 24, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    Faithfulness to God means security to the believer.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 24, 2014 at 9:29 am #

      A good word, Becky. David wrote, “May your love and faithfulness always protect me” (Psalm 40:11).

  29. Rhonda Ackley August 24, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

    Liz, I absolutely love and look forward to your “word by word approach to Bible study! Right now, in this season, I’ve chosen to forego most of the devotionals and Bible study guides and focus more on the Word itself. I’d become too involved in what the author had to say to really pay attention to the scripture. But your devotionals and studies are an exception! They she’d so much light on the scripture we are studying, and better explain words I don’t always take the time to research on my own. Keep being your own wonderful self, and don’t change a thing! As for a word of summary of this passage, I think that success in God’s eyes is relying on Him to do whatever it is that He’s called you to do. Not long ago, I got my college alumni magazine, and there were articles about the really wonderful things many of my classmates have done. It kinda made me feel for a minute that I haven’t done anything as great as some of these people. But then, I realized that I am doing exactly what God planned for me to do, and He is guiding me, protecting me, and making it possible for me to do what I’m called to do. Sorry so long, but this spoke to me today.

  30. Phyllis Burroughs August 25, 2014 at 6:56 am #

    Good Morning Ms. Liz,
    The words, “blessed assurance” comes to mind as I read your words. Thank you for this verse and its reminder of the greatness of God, and his care for us.