And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. Romans 16:20
Christianity isn’t a static experience; it involves taking new ground continuously. To assist us in this mission the Lord provided the shoes of peace found in Ephesians 6:13. To describe this weapon, Paul made reference to the shoes worn by Roman soldiers. This equipment was comprised of two elements, a greave and the shoe itself. The greave wrapped around the lower leg and protected the wearer from bruises, lacerations and broken bones. Soldiers traversed difficult terrain injury free because their equipment protected them. The shoes were made up of several pieces of strong, durable leather. The soles were imbedded with dangerous spikes anywhere from one to three inches in length depending on the need. Now we know who really invented platform shoes. The legs and feet of a Roman soldier were formidable weapons in and of themselves.
Our shoes serve a dual purpose; they protect our feet and wreck havoc on our enemy Satan. The word bruise in the Greek is suntribo. Historically it means to smash and crush grapes in the winemaking process. The same word also describes the act of breaking, snapping and crushing bones so completely that reconstruction is impossible. In order for our shoes to be effective, Satan has to be under them. To render this type of damage, we need to be in a joint venture with God. With Him as our partner the devil hasn’t anyway to escape the debilitating blows delivered by our feet.
Finally it’s time to “get shorty”! The verse states that this act of conquest will happen shortly. The question is “how short is shortly”? This is an instance where our understanding of shortly is very different from the meaning in the original Greek. The word shortly is tachos and hasn’t anything to do with the measurement of time. Tachos describes how a large group of Roman soldiers marched down the street. In formation they used short, heavy steps that created a racket on the stone and marble pavements and streets. The men were instructed to march and not break rank for anyone or anything. A person or animal that lay in their path was pulverized as the troop marched right over top of them. Paul describes the weapon available to a person who refuses to be stopped no matter what obstacle lies in his path. That person, when joined with other like-minded believers constitutes a force to be reckoned with.
I admit when I leaned what shortly really meant I was a disappointed. I wanted a definition of how long I’d have to wait to experience victory, not a description of how I need to march. Now that I know there may not be a fast outcome I’m better prepared to keep moving ahead, unstoppable like a Roman soldier on the march. If I refuse to give up I can march over that pipsqueak, the devil, and I’ll really “Get Shorty”!