Big and magnificent! Impeccably structured for ultimate protection during conflict. It’s a fortress in San Marino. It lies more than 2,000 feet above the Italian countryside. Historically fortresses are built on high ground with thick walls that can reach up to 21 feet thick. In a time of battle, the fortress was a safe haven, a place of refuge, and the optimal place to fight the battle.
Our battles today are not with armor, swords, flaming arrows, or cannons. Instead they are with those we love, drugs, alcohol, money, competition at work, food, and the list goes on. In midevil times when the enemy was coming, they would move to the center of the fortress. Though our enemy seems to be the visual things listed above, it really goes much deeper than that. We battle with sin, we battle with Satan. In America we don’t often see the demon possesions and spiritual warfare that takes place, but it’s here. Every time we are tempted to do something that we know is wrong and we know we shouldn’t do it but we give it a second thought, we are listening to the deception of Satan himself. We are giving him the time of day. Eve did the same thing and look how that ended up. She listened to his lies, and gave audience to his trechary.
When you are faced with battle, where do you take refuge? Picture this. There is an attack coming on the fortress, instead of waiting to attack the approaching enemy from the walls, you rush out alone to meet them. How do you think the story ends? Of course any fool would know better! Retreat into the fortress and fight from the high walls where you have the advantage over your attackers.
Eve had a fortress, but she chose not to use it. She ran out to battle all on her own. And because of that, we have all lost. We are offered the same fortress that Eve had some 6,000 years ago… God. He is the Mighty Fortress! He is our protector, our stronghold, our sheild, our strong tower. He is the Everlasting King who shelters us and delivers us from our enemy. That’s right. We only have one enemy who shows himself in many different forms, and God has given us victory over him. If only we retreat into the Fortress.
“David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:
‘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.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
from violent men you save me.'” 2 Samuel 22:1-3
There is a catch. (You’re thinking “Oh great, I knew it was too good to be true!”). Don’t fret my friend for the way to the entrance of the Fortress is through Jesus. God loves us all and wants to give us the victory over our battles, but it can only be done through His Son. When Eve faced the battle alone she introduced sin into the world and we have all been doomed to be born into sin ever since. When Jesus came, He lived a perfect sinless life as a man who was also God. He was brutally punished for the sins of each of us and He died on a cross on a hill. But the best part of all is that He didn’t stay dead! He descended into Hell and on the third day was raised from the dead. Not as a ghost but in flesh! He appeared to hundreds of people as well as spending a short time with His disciples before ascending into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father where He sits today waiting until the time of His return.
We have to believe that Jesus is who He says He is and believe in what He did on the cross for us. When we accept Him we no longer live for ourselves but we live for Him. He is the Master and we are the vessels that He uses to do His work until the day of His return. From the moment we make that decision, we are welcomed into the Fortress of victory! Where we are held high by the Father and delivered from our enemy.
So what’s it gonna be? Will you stand alone or will you enter the Fortress?
“In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Free me from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.
I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
I trust in the LORD.
I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not handed me over to the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.” -Psalm 31:1-8