Battle Lines: Castles

Nov 8, 2023 | by Brad Rowland

Battle Lines: Castles

By: Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee

Castles fascinate me. Which is rather unfortunate because the real ones are in Europe, and I am not. And no, I don't count those sparkly fabrications in Disney parks with Cinderella's name on them.

Some castles are quite beautiful, but that's not at all what I find attractive. I like to look at a castle and imagine the day for which it was constructed. How successful could a castle be in discouraging an invading foe? How well could it stand up if it was besieged? Would catapults be able to dent its walls? Would cliffs or moats be enough to keep the hoards from gathering at the base of its fortifications? How well could the defenders use their weapons from the battlements against the enemy? Would those inside be safe, or would they be trapped?

Castles stand as monuments to a different era, before planes and bombs and artillery and rockets could hurl explosives of unimaginable power against the stones and mortar of centuries ago. They continue to stand because no one seeks their safety anymore, knowing that any protection that they might afford is only fleeting. These magnificent castles, designed with the greatest genius of the day, afforded the best defense that could be offered then. Now they are visited by tourists and house museums that display weapons that bemuse but do not frighten.

The Old Testament writers spoke of being safe in terms of ancient fortifications. "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust'" (Psalm 91:1,2).

But if these castles now crumble, is our defense—our safety in Him—an old-fashioned idea for a day long past?

I am not sure how the biblical writers would frame a metaphor now to speak of our safety in God, but the bottom line would remain the same. The Lord knows how to keep His children safe. Though the battle may rage at the gates and though weapons may constantly be formed against us, when we flee to the Lord, we are safe. What a castle could never guarantee, an eternal God does.

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