“Ephraim, my helmet, will produce my warriors, and Judah, my scepter, will produce my kings” (Psalm 108:8 NLT). This Psalm was taken from Psalms 57 and 60 when the Lord encouraged David during a dark time in his life. David knew his strength and abilities came from God. The valiant soldier he was, he knew without the Lord’s help, he was doomed. He hid in a cave as he ran for his life from Saul. No doubt, he shivered and shook in fear, but despite his weakness, he encouraged himself by singing praise to the God who would most certainly defeat his enemies. The cave was not David’s refuge and hiding place; the Lord was.
The MESSAGE Bible records David’s song as follows:
I'm ready, God, so ready, ready from head to toe. Ready to sing, ready to raise a God-song: "Wake, soul! Wake, lute! Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!" I'm thanking you, God, out in the streets, singing your praises in town and country. The deeper your love, the higher it goes; every cloud's a flag to your faithfulness. Soar high in the skies, O God! Cover the whole earth with your glory! And for the sake of the one you love so much.
That's when God spoke in holy splendor: "Brimming over with joy, I make a present of Shechem, I hand out Succoth Valley as a gift. Gilead's in my pocket, to say nothing of Manasseh. Ephraim's my hard hat, Judah my hammer.”
Ephraim was the most powerful tribe and chief defense of Israel. The Lord referred to it as David’s warrior helmet--impenetrable protection of David’s crown—his “hard hat.” Some 20,000 men, known as David’s mighty men of valor, came from Ephraim, and he was assured of the tribe’s faithful loyalty in battle. The tribe of Ephraim seemed to breed mighty warriors—brave, dauntless, and courageous when faced with evil or danger.
We are called to be warriors--brave, dauntless, and courageous in the spiritual battles constantly raging in the unseen realm, in our personal lives. David’s enemies were flesh-and-blood evil men, bad to the bone. Indeed, the world has always been populated by such people. However, we are called to be warriors in fighting enemies in the unseen world. Ephesians 6:12 (NLT) gives us our marching orders: for we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
The same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead dwells in us (Romans 8:11), and that is a warrior spirit. The Lord will march forth like a mighty hero; He will come out like a warrior, full of fury. He will shout His battle cry and crush all His enemies (Isaiah 42:13 NLT). Our unseen enemies include fear, doubt, defeat, slander, disease, hatred, poverty, etc. Satan has an endless list of enemies to rob us of the victory and power Christ’s warrior spirit has defeated. The Lord is assembling a band of mighty warriors with the grit and fearlessness of the tribe of Ephraim—the “hard hats” of spiritual battle which will not back down in the face of evil!
Judah, which means praise, was the tribe of sovereignty, and the Lord compared it to the royal scepter or ruler’s staff of His authority. Another version says that Judah was the lawgiver, declaring God’s authority. Jesus Christ is the Chief Lawgiver, and Revelation 5:5 refers to Him as the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, that is to say, “the Lion that is from the tribe of praise.” Judah, “my hammer,” wields its power through praise! It flattens Satan and his evil minions, who bring torment and trouble. Further on, in Psalm 108:13 (MSG), David says, In God, we'll do our very best; He'll flatten the opposition for good.
David was a worshipper. His musical skill and anointed songs to God will only fully be realized in heaven as we listen to the “man after God’s own heart” express himself in song and verse. It was a key part of his tremendous display of faith in the Lord. Praise lifts our hearts when heavy. It angers Satan, and that’s a good thing. When unseen enemies of fear and despair descend upon us, praise almost immediately lifts us above them. Interestingly, kings who rule and reign and exercise the authority of the Lord come from Judah (praise).
Revelation 1:5-6 (KJV) says, from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth…unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.
Warriors and kings. We can’t do anything without His power and authority. We can do everything He calls us to do with it. If you listen carefully…and do everything that I tell you, I will be an enemy to your enemies. I will fight all who fight against you, (Exodus 23:22 NCV).
Grab your hard hats and hammers, and let’s go!
© Chris Werre