The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength. – 1 Samuel 2:4
Many of us have heard the expression “gird up your loins” relating to some esoteric Old Testament passage, usually something from the chapters of Job where the Lord is taking Job to task for questioning why every bad thing befell him. It seems to be the Biblical version of the command to “man up”, so much so that the “Art of Manliness” website features an illustrated guide on how to gird up one’s loins, which is a tutorial on how to turn the tunic worn in Biblical times into a pair of shorts that makes battling one’s enemies easier. This is accomplished by gathering the fabric, pulling it through the legs, dividing it in half, and then tying it around one’s waist. (For the pictures of this, go here.)
The word “gird” actually means to “encircle with a belt or band” or “to secure on the body with a belt or band”. Buildings have “girders” made of steel that support key parts of them, and young men would be “girded” with belts of knighthood in medieval times. “Girding” provides extra support.
In today’s passage, Hannah sings of “the bows of the mighty [being] broken” and “the feeble gird[ing] on strength”. Her world was one where Israel was under constant attack from enemies, and archers’ bows would be a familiar item as would a sash or belt that girded a sword to a warrior. The idea of strength encircling me in my weak moments is incredibly comforting because it is a reminder that I do not have to depend on my own strength to push through difficult things—I have Someone who wraps me in their strength! The bows of the Enemy are no match for the strength that surrounds me. How amazing and magnificent is our God!
Thank you, Lord, for surrounding me in my weakest moments and fighting with me when I cannot fight. Amen.