Joints of the Harness
1 Kings 22:34
And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness…

We have here suggested the strength and the weakness of our defensive spiritual armour. We do not now refer to what St. Paul meant by "the whole armour of God," so much as to a humanly framed defensive system of rules and principles and habits which is necessary to protect us during this exposed earthly life.

I. WE MAY ARM OURSELVES AGAINST THE WORLD BY PLACING RESTRICTIONS UPON OUR INTERCOURSE WITH ITS SOCIAL LIFE. If specially susceptible to worldly influences, we may wisely make it a rule to keep absolutely clear from all its pleasant things in which any temptation can lurk; or we may allow ourselves some degree of liberty, which, however, we restrict by some rule or clearly drawn line beyond which we will not go. This is good defensive armour, but it will not make us invulnerable. No formal, outward separation from the world can absolutely shut out the spirit of the world. The armour of our restrictions may keep out the world bodily, so to speak; but the very trust we place in such armour may open the way for some arrow from the bow of the archer.

II. WE MAY ARM OURSELVES AGAINST THE WORLDLY INFLUENCES WHICH TOUCH US THROUGH OUR NECESSARY INTERCOURSE WITH THE WORLD — as, for instance, in our business relations with men — by joining regularly in religious services and Christian work. In business hours our life is on the open ground, where we are exposed to every temptation. But in the sanctuary of God what can harm us? It is surely from the standpoint of the sanctuary that we get our true ideals of life's duties and aims, and that all the weak things about us are seen. It is there that faith can see and realise Divine things most clearly, and heaven seems so near, and the things of earth so small and poor. But religious services and activities will not necessarily make us safe. The archer is subtle, and has many devices.

III. WE MAY FURTHER DEFEND OURSELVES BY AN ARMOUR OF RELIGIOUS HABITS. There is great strength and protection in habits as distinguished from fitful, varying acts. Let us keep our armour of defence as perfect as we can. Do not undervalue it because it is dangerous to overvalue it. Let the sense of weakness make us humble and watchful. Let us remember that there are places, books, company, and habits which should be labelled "dangerous." The wise man will not court danger, but will flea from it.

(Thomas Wilde.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.

WEB: A certain man drew his bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of the armor. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, "Turn your hand, and carry me out of the battle; for I am severely wounded."

A Bow At a Venture
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