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A Stronghold Sure (13-10-22)

A Bible Reading: Psalm 18. 1 - 5

I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.

A Thought While we were up in Scotland, we visited Dunnottar Castle on the east coast near the town of Stonehaven. This castle had been on my radar for some time, and so we deliberately chose to stay close by. We were not disappointed. We walked over the cliffs from Stonehaven, which afforded the best views of the castle from the coastal path.

The castle is set on an isolated promontory almost cut off from the mainland apart from a narrow strip of land. The cliff descends steeply down to this narrow strip and then rises again equally steeply up to the castle. This marvellous natural defence forms the only access. Today, this approach involves climbing down over one hundred and eighty steps (David counted them) and then climbing up even more on the other side to get into the castle itself. It is definitely not disabled friendly!

The castle is well defended on the other three sides by even steeper cliffs and the sea. The castle buildings and ramparts are remarkably well preserved, so there is plenty of exploring to be done. One building has recently been restored to give an impression of what it might have been like in the seventeenth century. And it was from this very castle that the ‘Honours’ or Scottish Crown Jewels were smuggled out under the nose of Cromwell and his troops, when they laid siege to this last Royalist stronghold in Scotland during the Civil War.

As I reflected on this well fortified castle that had played such a significant part in both Scottish and English history, I was reminded of Martin Luther’s famous hymn: ‘A mighty fortress is our God’. This then led me into the Psalms and Psalm 18 in particular. This is a psalm of David, when he was being pursued by King Saul. (See 1 Samuel 19)

David describes God’s care using five military symbols:

God is like a rock that cannot be moved by anyone who would want to harm us.

God is a fortress or place of safety where the enemy cannot follow.

God is a shield that comes between us and harm.

God is a horn of salvation, a symbol of power and might.

And finally, God is a stronghold high above our enemies.

If you need protection, look to God. He will not fail us.

A Prayer I love you, Lord, my strength. You are my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. Amen.

A mighty fortress is our God, (Ein Feste Burg by Martin Luther), led by Tommy Bailey.

Recorded LIVE at Song! Global Conference 2020

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