Bible Readings: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear… The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
(Psalm 46. 1, 2, 7)
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
(Psalm 61. 1 - 3)
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe (Proverbs 18. 10)
A Thought We have recently returned from our holiday in Cornwall, where we visited a number of different castles. Pendennis Castle at Falmouth and the tiny St Catherine’s Castle at Fowey had both been built in Tudor times as part of Henry VIII’s coastal defence along the south coast. Restormel Castle is further inland near Lostwithiel and dated much earlier.
All the castles were built on high vantage points, so they could be readily seen by an approaching enemy. Both Pendennis and Restormel have commanding views in every direction, a stark warning that the enemy might want to think twice before coming any closer, but at the same time a great comfort to local people that there was a place of refuge close at hand in times of need.
Restormel Castle is built as a large ring with its buildings and rooms set around a central open area. A deep moat, drawbridge and gatehouse with portcullis protected the occupants from any unwanted visitors. Even inside the castle, the entrances and exits were well protected. ‘Loopholes’ or arrow slits enabled defensive fire if the enemy got as far as inner doors.
In the poetic writings of the Bible, Psalms and Proverbs, God is referred to as a strong, fortified tower, a place of sanctuary and refuge in times of trouble, and a place where we can run to and find safety. Psalm 46 – 48 are both psalms of praise and confidence in God. Psalm 46 may have been written when the Assyrian army invaded the land and surrounded Jerusalem during the reign of King Hezekiah. Hezekiah trusted God and the Lord was with him. The watchtower and fortifications around the city were strategic in defeating the enemy.
Imagine a strong fortified tower and the feeling of security once safe inside with the portcullis down and the draw bridge hauled up. Now picture God as that tower, welcoming you into give you refuge and renew your strength. What is more, God is not a temporary retreat. He is our eternal refuge and can provide strength in any circumstances that life throws at us.
A Prayer I am afraid, Lord, there is no one here but you and me, my friends are out or busy or far away, my enemies surround me; but you are my strong tower of refuge. I call on your name and run into the safety of your ever-present help. Amen.
Blessed be your name - Medley