WFW: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God!
Fortresses -- they signify royalty, home, and shelter in most fairytales to the rich. The Bible also mentions fortresses in the same light, but in a much better sense. Today, I want to take a brief examination of this topic.
My sister was reading a passage of the Bible recently when she asked me upon reflection, "What is a fortress?" (Of course, she knows what it is, but it helps to get a visual picture when we talk about it sometimes!) I don't remember my answer, but I immediately began to think of this Scripture: "The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him." (Psalm 28:7) I thought, "It's no wonder that David could say, 'My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped' -- He was dwelling in the secret place, in the Fortress, of the Most High where He was safe from all harm!
Psalm 18:1-3 states, "I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies."
"The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe." (Proverbs 18:10)
We see from this Scripture that the Lord's fortress protects us from our enemies. So how do we obtain this fortress? Through trust.
Psalm 31:1-5 states, "In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me..... Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth."
See, commiting your spirit into the hands of the Lord is how you trust! It is how you enter through the gates of the fortress (Remember, Jesus said, "I am the door," and He made it perfectly clear that to have eternal life, we must believe on Him.)
The rest of Psalm 31 (vs.1-3, 14-16, 19-20) clarifies how we trust in God: "In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.... But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies' sake.... Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence From the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion From the strife of tongues."
First, we see that David said, "You are My God. My times are in Your hand..." This is complete trust -- stating that no matter what happens, "You are My God, and My whole life is in Your hands." Secondly, in this passage, David asks God to lead him and guide him "for Thy name's sake." So how does God lead us? Through righteousness: Psalm 23:3 states, "He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." As we walk this righteous path, we are being made more and more righeous as time goes on if we continue to stay in this Way. And if we trust in God, we can be sure that, through righteousness, we are being led to a Fortress that is stronger than any other!
Psalm 27:5 makes it clear that this Fortress keeps us safe: "For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock." Psalm 91 paints a descriptive picture of what God our Fortress is to us and what trusting does for us:
I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways....
Notice that it says, "He shall not be afraid of the terror by night"; why is he unafraid? Psalm 112:7 has the answer: "He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD." When we really trust in the Lord, we won't be afraid; we trust that the big strong walls of the Fortress will keep us safe! This is why Proverbs 1:33 states, "But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, And will be secure, without fear of evil."
But not only do we have the Fortress for a refuge, but God has also "knighted" us in a sense; He has given us the armor of light. If we have all the equipment of the KING OF KINGS, we can fight and win the battle. (see Ephesians 6:13) But we must trust; that is imperative in order to win the battle. And did you know that we are not just peasants seeking refuge in this fortress? We are royalty! Psalms 17:8 states, "Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about." We are the righteousness of God in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30), we are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), we are His jewels (Malachi 3:17), we are His children -- His heirs:
Romans 8:15-17 states, "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together."
We've been taught through fairytales that royalty deserves to live in castles. We have also learned through history that soldiers in battle peruse fortresses. So if anyone deserves to take refuge in this Fortress it is certainly us. Yet many do not do so, because they refuse to trust Christ. God is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1), but if we do not "tap" into that strength and utilize that fortress, it will do us no good. We need to trust Christ completely -- as that one Scripture said, "Pour out your hearts to Him" because He is our refuge! If a King doesn't have your whole alegance, how can He trust you in order to give you the benefits of royalty, including knighthood? Likewise, if you do not trust Christ, how can He trust you to do the job that He has called you to do in the battle of life? How can you expect Him to give you all the good things that He promised in His Word, including being that Fortress, if you won't give Him your whole alegance? As Revelation 22:14 states, "Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city."
"You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah" ~ Psalm 32:7