A small observation. Today I was reading about the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
This put me in mind of a quite different passage from Isaiah 59, but one that also uses the metaphor of armor. I can actually imagine these garments more vividly than those in Ephesians–garments of vengeance, wrapped in fury as a mantle. I can feel the wind of the Lord, see it driving the rushing stream. I feel the anger that comes before the battle.
Justice is turned back,
and righteousness stands afar off;
for truth has fallen in the public squares,
and uprightness cannot enter.
Truth is lacking,
and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.
The Lord saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no man,
and wondered that there was no one to intervene;
then his own arm brought him victory,
and his righteousness upheld him.
He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation upon his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
and wrapped himself in fury as a mantle.
According to their deeds, so will he repay,
wrath to his adversaries, requital to his enemies;
to the coastlands he will render requital.
So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west,
and his glory from the rising of the sun;
for he will come like a rushing stream,
which the wind of the Lord drives.
“And he will come to Zion as Redeemer,
to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the Lord.
It’s an interesting contrast and I don’t know what to do with it. Both passages refer to the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation. With the armor of God in Ephesians you will stand against spiritual forces of evil and quench the flaming darts of the evil one. But instead of vengeance and fury there is faith, truth and the gospel of peace. What’s the relation between these two passages? How are we to understand this warrior imagery? There are other relevant passages, I know, but these were the two that set me to pondering today.