In “New Ground,” a season five episode of Star Trek the Next Generation, the Enterprise has to travel through a soloton wave to keep another ship from crashing into a star…or a planet…or something or other. At any rate, it all rests on the strength of the ship’s shields.
That’s a common Star Trek occurrence. Whether it’s enemy photon fire or the Crystalline Entity or a weird space anomaly, you can count on deteriorating shield performance for an exciting plot device.
“Report, Mr. Worf,” the French-born Picard says in Patrick Stewart’s British accent.
“Shields holding at 78 percent, Captain,” Worf proclaims in his calm Klingon voice…
“Shields down to 33 percent!” Worf shouts in his “Today-is-a-good-day-to-die” Klingon voice.
|The shields are holding...barely. |
Of course it’s all resolved in less than an hour, and even if the shields fail and the Enterprise blows up in a magnificent inferno, the main characters survive and Star Fleet’s flagship is rebuilt.
So when I hear or see the word “shield,” I first think of Star Trek’s mysterious, invisible protection, but I realize shields existed for millennia before Gene Roddenberry got this great idea for a space western. I’ve had students well versed in warfare and weapons, and they have educated me about shield history and pointed out inaccuracies of shield depictions in movies.
(I do like that scene in one of the Lord of the Rings movies where they hold the shields over their heads and it’s like one giant shield.)
The word “shield” appears many times in the Bible. I would need a Mailleue brother to describe what shields looked like when David was king or to explain the differences between Assyrian and Babylonian shields. But I get the concept: The shield is the thing you hold in front of you to keep from being injured by the enemy’s arrows or swords.
Many times the Bible identifies God as a shield. Here are a few places:
Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. Genesis 15:1
Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword.
“As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” 2 Samuel 22:36
But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. Psalm 3:3
Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield. Psalm 5:12
I especially like the Psalms references. They portray God not as an ancient shield that only protects me on one side, but as a Star Trek type shield that surrounds me. Unlike the Enterprise’s shields which lose power when battered, God is always at 100 percent.
If God is your shield, he will keep you safe in the soloton wave or whatever other dangers or enemies you face.
Here are some more shield references for you to look up:
Psalm 7:10, Psalm 18:2, Psalm 18:30, Psalm 18:35, Psalm 28:7, Psalm 33:20, Psalm 35:2, Psalm 59:11, Psalm 84:11, Psalm 91:4, Psalm 115:9, Psalm 119:114, Psalm 144:2, Proverbs 2:7, Isaiah 31:5, Zechariah 9:15, 1 Peter 1:5