I recently took a trip with my wife to the UK. We traveled throughout England and Scotland. One of the things this part of the world is known for is its castles. There are various types of castles But generally a castle is a fortified dwelling, built at a strategic location to provide protection against attack for a group of people.
Some of the castles I walked through were over 1,000 years old. Often a castle was built by people who found the location and wanted to live there. But often times it was land given to the person by a king. These castles are not currently as they were when they were built. They are all larger now. Over time, castles grow as the number of people needing its protection grows. Also, the castles have had to rebuild after attacks. I didn't see a single castle that was in pristine condition. In fact, every castle has stories of attack, ruin, and rebuild. Some castles are still 'working castles' because the family or government has maintained it. But some reached a point of disrepair where people just abandoned them. They are currently in ruins.
In America we don't build castles like the ones in Europe. But we do say that a man's house is his castle. What we mean is that a man has a place of stability and peace where he can come away from his work and worry, and simply enjoy his place. Even the most humble of homes is a castle to a man who owns it.
But as I walked around I began to wonder about castles and this Western phrase. What does it mean to have a castle? What does it mean to maintain a castle? Does it mean that we should be proud of our awesome place, or is a castle something to work more than something to worship?
If my home is my castle, my family makes up the inhabitants. God, my King gave me that land. It was a gift. He expected me to build and fortify the area where we would dwell. It was to be a safe place of peace. Surely it would come under attack by various enemies. A castle is not something to polish. It is something to protect. I was to be wise in how I built the walls. The walls were to be high and thick. As it came under attack, it would certainly be broken down in certain areas. This would require rebuilding. Having a castle is not just about making sure the landscape is perfect and the moat water is clean. A family castle is a lot of work.
In the Bible times we find people living in castles and palaces. We find fortresses. These were common in those times. A king would build a strong castler or palace in which he would live and have his seat of government. During war, the people in the surrounding community would come inside the walls to live.
King David wrote this song, "I love You, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies." Psalm 18:1-3
I have not always built, maintained, or protected my castle as well as I could or should have. I have been a slacker at times. And the enemy took advantage of that. I have let walls get broken down, and then did not repair them as quickly or as well as I should. I can look at my castle and see where certain battles occurred. These building and rebuilding lines tell a story. Sometimes the story is not so good.
But through it all I can see places where I trusted the Lord and obeyed Him. I can see that the castle of my life and family, though attacked, is not in ruins. God is faithful. He has always been our best defender. He is our strong tower. We need not fear when He is enthroned in our castle. When He is on the throne, the flag or standard is waving in the breeze. This puts the enemy on notice that it is not just dealing with a peasant. But there is a strong warrior who has given that land and is willing to fight for that place. And when I have been derelict in my duty, God has rebuilt and expanded my castle.
Be faithful with your castle. Build it well. Maintain it properly. One way to do that is to be obedient to the King. Jesus, after giving His famous Sermon On The Mount said, "Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!” - Matthew 7:24-27
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My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.