FOR SOMEONE living outside of Europe it can be exciting to travel to this center of history and culture in order to tour some of the locations which have figured prominently in the ongoing saga of the western world. One can visit architectural masterpieces such as the many and varied cathedrals found in most major cities on the continent, see feats of engineering in the roadworks and bridges coursing through the mountainous areas and marvel at the ingenuity and sheer drive of the builders of the fortresses established to defend their respective realms.
The fortresses can be of particular interest. A military stronghold would typically have been constructed on a higher location affording a good view of the surrounding countryside and thus enabling the defenders to spot enemy movements. It might also have included a moat designed to thwart the effort of troops attempting to scale the fortress walls. And those walls would have been anywhere from 5 to 15 feet thick — sometimes more — and crowned with crenellations which protected archers and artillery men as they used their skills to repel invaders.
In Psalm 18:2 we read that God is our fortress. He is there to protect and defend us when we call out to Him. He promises us succor and sustenance. This poetic description of our great God as our fortress bears a bit of thought.
If hostile minded adversaries attacked an area guarded by a fortress, the only safe place to be was inside the fortress. Being caught outside of the walls during an enemy onslaught could often be a death sentence. Safety could only be had inside the bulwarks, behind the massive walls, deep within the this structure built to protect.
In the spiritual realm — that is to say, in our personal spiritual lives — the same is true. We live in a hostile world; a world ruled by Satan — the ultimate enemy seeking the ultimate victory… victory over us! God promises to nurture us, to sustain us, to protect us. But if we are outside of the fortress — not in God’s proximity, not within His protective embrace, we cannot pretend to enjoy God’s largess. In other words, if we leave God’s presence, if we slack off or stop praying or allow a marked diminution or even cease to study God’s word — if we, even unwittingly, put distance between us and God, we cannot be protected in the same way by our great God, who is our fortress. He has requirements: we must remain close to Him (within the fortress) and we must be striving to walk in His paths.
Brethren, let us stay close to God and grow in His grace and knowledge. Let us stay within the fortress.
By Cliff Veal