"In ancient times soldiers needed to use shields to protect themselves when they fought the enemy. In those days most battles were hand to hand combat using swords. The shield would protect the soldier from the sword blows of the enemy.
The shield was very significant to the soldier. If he was killed, his fellow soldiers would bring the shield back to the dead soldier's wife. In fact, in some instances the soldier was brought back lying across his shield. The shield would be saved by the wife and given to the oldest son when he was preparing to go to war the first time.
In one ancient culture, it was the custom for the mother to give her son his father's shield and state the words, "This is your father's shield. Come back home with it, or come back on it". In another culture, the shield was the badge of honor. If a soldier lost his shield he could no longer attend the town meetings. He also was not allowed to participate in the religious rites of the town.
Scriptures use some words related to these customs in referring to the importance of staying faithful. In Hebrews 10:38-39, we read, "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."
The words "draw back" were used in Greek to designate those soldiers who dropped their shields and ran from the battle. Any soldier who did such was thought to not have any honor at all. And if caught, that soldier would be put to death for deserting the battle and his fellow soldiers.
A Christian who drops his shield of faith and runs from the spiritual battles disqualifies himself from receiving the blessings of faithfulness."