The Shields of the Earth Belong to God


Psalm 47:9     The princes of the peoples gather
        as the people of the God of Abraham.
    For the shields of the earth belong to God;
        he is highly exalted.


This Psalm celebrates God’s uniting activity in the world. There is only one God, one King, and one people and this will be revealed throughout history. In many ways the Psalm is prophetic, looking forward to a time when Christ will come and in him, the peoples of the earth will be united.

The shields of the earth represent the different nations and secular authorities. Looking prophetically into the future the Psalmist sees a time when every nation of this earth will submit to the authority of God through Christ. The influence of the gospel will be extensive reaching to those from every walk of life. Not only the poor will come to know Christ, but those who are wealthy and in positions of authority.

The promises to Moses will be fulfilled and God continues his work in the world today, leading to the day when every shield will willingly submit to his authority.


It seems as if we are still waiting around and wondering when the day will come — when the shields of the earth will belong to God. It certainly doesn’t look like that’s happening very well today. There’s far too much fighting going on and much of it being done in God’s name — which must drive God crazy! However, we know there will come a day when all the shields (rulers) of this earth will bow their knee and submit to his authority.

In the meantime, maybe we need to look to ourselves and our own personal shields. The shields represent the family coat of arms. Royal families and their coat of arms or shields, are quite proud of their heritage. Interestingly, Princess Kate didn’t come from a royal family and didn’t have a coat of arms. Her parents were business people who became quite successful and so, just before the royal wedding, her father petitioned (and paid a sum of money) to have a coat of arms and family shield designed. Not everyone gets to have a coat of arms of a shield. “The late Peter Gwynn-Jones, a former Garter King of Arms, once said: 'In practice, eligibility depends upon holding a civil or military commission, a sound university degree or professional qualification, or having achieved some measure of distinction in a field beneficial to society as a whole.’”(Read more)

Shields are produced for those who are successful and who have money. Therefore, you don’t have to be born royal to come into possession of a shield. You and I can, physically or metaphorically have a shield and it can become a sense of pride in our own lives. I don’t think the Psalmist was only talking about nations coming under complete authority of God. Every person, every bit of pride and desire for worldly success needs to submit to God. This is God’s plan for his people, for the shields of the earth belong to God. Our lives, our successes, they are his to be used for his purposes in his kingdom — under his shield. That’s why our shields should submit to the authority of his shield. He is our leader, we are his servants and all that we have is truly his.


Lord, opportunities abound as they are submitted to you, your working and your authority. Please help me to be a servant today in your kingdom.  Amen.


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