Shakan! An Unusual Battle Word
Shakan! Doesn’t that sound like some word that explodes from the screen when a Power Ranger knocks down the enemy! I admit, I used to watch Power Rangers with my son when he was a little boy. He would put on his Power Ranger suit and then jump out in front of his little sister, thrusting his arm and fist mightily before her and say, “Stop, you will never get past me!”
Moses used this powerful Hebrew word shakan when he prayed for the tribe of Benjamin in Deuteronomy 33:12:
“Let the beloved of the Lord rest (shakan) secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests (shakan) between His shoulders.”
Notice that in one sentence he used shakan twice: “shakan secure in Him” and “shakan” between His shoulders. In Hebrew, the word shakan means rest, to dwell, to settle down, to abide, to set in place. Think of the last time you used super glue to set something permanently in place (or I like the brand called Gorilla Super Glue). Within seconds it fastens things together that will never come apart again (an unfortunate quality when we accidentally super glue our two fingers together!).
Moses prays for Benjamin’s tribe to rest (shakan) securely in God. The word secure in Hebrew is betach. It is defined as “safety, securely, a place of refuge, related both to the fact of security and the feeling of trust, a place of assurance, without care, confidence, and hope” (The Hebrew Interlinear Bible on-line, Blue Letter Bible.org). What an encouraging phrase for us all as the world is being invaded by this silent enemy called Covid-19. We can confidently trust in Him, knowing that He is in control and has supernatural power!
Moses knows that the Israelites will go through many battles with the enemy throughout their lives. So he exhorts them to rest (remain) in God. Jesus tells us the same thing in John 15:4-11. We are to be super glued to Him! We are to be grafted into the vine. He says also to be glued to His Word and to His love. “For apart from Him, we can do nothing” (John 15:5). As we do this, we will then experience His love and joy.
Let’s go back to Deuteronomy 33:12 and fix our eyes on the beautiful word pictures Moses gives us. As we rest in the Lord, He will shield us 24/7. Nothing gets through the impenetrable shield of God (see Ephesians 6:16). The last word picture Moses gives us in verse 12 is the idea of resting between His shoulders. Observe what the Lord says about the ones WHO are resting. He says it is “the beloved of the Lord, the one the Lord loves.” That is us! God’s children. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).
We raised our two children near the beach. When they were young, we would take them to swim in the ocean. They loved when we would put them on our shoulders and walk out into deeper waters. When the waves would come crashing down, they would squeal in delight (only getting their legs wet) while Mom and Dad got pounded by the waves! God wants to lift you up on His shoulders. Abide and rest in Him. Let him lift you up with His loving arms onto His shoulders. Let Him absorb the pounding waves of the enemy. Then squeal in delight over His love and protection.
Sisters and brothers, God loves you very much. He wants you to rest in Him. Stay “super-glued” to God! When you feel the enemy attack you with fear, raise up your arms and shout “Shakan!” Yes, rest in the Lord. Let Him be the One to flood you with peace. Let Him be the One to lift you up on His shoulders. Let Him be the One to fight the battles. And don’t forget to pray this beautiful prayer of Moses for others.