Dwelling Safely in the Fortress

Posted by on Oct 1, 2012 in Articles | 0 comments

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, My God, in Him I will trust.’  Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.  He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; his truth shall be your shield and buckler.  You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.  A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you.  Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.  Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.  In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.  You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.  “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.  He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation.’”  Psalm 91


We are living in a time when many people are filled with fear.  Even Christian men and women are overwhelmed by fear – fear of poverty, fear of illness, fear of rejection or failure or inadequacy.  I believe the Lord wants us to understand what it means to dwell safely in Him, to truly rest in Him as our fortress.


The American Heritage Dictionary defines a “fortress” as a fortified place, especially a large and permanent military stronghold.  The two definitions it has for “fortified” that I believe most clearly identify the writer’s use of the word are: (a) strengthened, secured; (b) to add strength, reinforce.


I have a fair understanding of the kind of safety you’d have within a fortress.  I grew up an “Army brat.”  My father was a career military man, so we lived on bases in the United States and in Germany.  Before anyone could enter the military compounds, they’d be required to pass through a gate and be admitted by armed guards.  MP’s (Military Police) constantly patrolled the streets of the base and fence that typically surrounded it.


We lived in Germany during a time of unrest.  Terrorists attacked the airport in Frankfurt while we were there.  The hostage crisis in Iran gripped the U.S. and her allies in fear.  The base was in an elevated state of security the entire time we were stationed there.  For a child who was old enough to understand the turmoil in the world but too young to realize the politics behind the situation, being “on the base” – passing through the gate and its guards, seeing the MP’s patrolling – offered a true sense of safety.


It was also during our time inGermanythat I had opportunity to see real castles and fortresses.  We visited the many palaces and castles that were still occupied by the “royalty” of the region.  We were impressed with the high walls that still surrounded the residences.  We also spent an afternoon visiting the ruins of a fortress outside of the city.  The walls were dense, sturdy.  Despite the bombing that occurred during WWII, many parts of the castle were still intact.  It was hard to penetrate.  One of the still-intact outer walls was so thick that my father and a family friend were able to run around the perimeter in complete safety; there was no danger of them falling off.  Many of the outer walls were fallen, cracked, but the thickest, inner-most parts were still strong and undamaged.  It was still safe, secure and shielded inside the stronghold.


It’s difficult for us, in our country, in this day, to grasp the concept of real danger.  The attacks of 9-11 triggered an element of short-term fear.  For several months after theTradeCenter, Pentagon and plane crash in PA, we were tense, apprehensive.  Every time a plane flew over, people in parking lots would stop and stare at the craft as it made its way across the sky, watching for any sign that it was aimed at something other than its far off, intended destination.  Today, we are unfazed by the sound.  Life has returned to relative normalcy.  Our concept of the kind of fear described by the Psalmist is dull.  That depth of fear is inconceivable to us.


The kind of security the Lord offers us in our life is the same kind of security the Psalmist describes.  When we call on the Lord, He will deliver us, honor us.  He will show us salvation.  God wants us to dwell in His safety, to allow Him to be our shield in times of trouble.


Often, however, we settle for a place outside the fortress.  We refuse what God has to offer.  How often do we see a child, perhaps we have a child of our own, who sleeps in the rain because they’d rather live in poverty without rules than to accept the warm bed mom and dad offer with the understanding that there are rules to be followed.  “Daughter, you can stay here, BUT you cannot smoke in the house, bring drugs into the house, bring troublemakers into the house.”  Just like a rebellious child, we want “parental protection” but we don’t want to enter into the “parental fortress.”  We want the benefits without the rules.


Because we want to live life our way, we refuse the protection God offers.  This is true for the saved and the unsaved.  Salvation doesn’t guarantee a life without consequences.  We may have given our lives to Christ, but that doesn’t give us permission to live outside the boundaries God has set for us.  We aren’t saved by our works, but there will always be consequences for our choices.


God’s Word makes it clear that we must dwell in Him – live in the Lord, choose the Lord.  “Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the most High, Your dwelling place, no evil will befall…”  That doesn’t mean there won’t be trouble in our lives.  It does mean that the Lord will protect us and be with us through those problems.  John 16:33 says “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world, you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”


God’s offer for protection applies to His people, for those who have accepted the free gift of Christ’s sacrifice.  Only the saved are promised a place in God’s fortress of protection.  It is a gift that we must choose to accept.  God will not force us to choose Him.  We must receive, willingly, His salvation.  “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  Romans 10:9-10.  And, I John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


Don’t reject God’s offer of safety in Him.  Open your heart to Him.  Let Him come in and give you the protection He has for you.  Within His fortress is safety and comfort and the unending promise of life everlasting!

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