Strongholds Good and Bad!

Nick   November 17, 2017   Comments Off on Strongholds Good and Bad!
In ancient times a stronghold was a fortified area designed to resist the attacks of an enemy. In ancient times a stronghold was very important. We don’t get it today. Not so relevant to our culture. A community would grow up in an area that could be well protected. Often on a hill or a rocky outcrop. A good place to defend.
The bible in the OT often talks about – stronghold or fortress or strong tower in a literal sense – for instance Jericho – built to withstand attack. But it is also used as a picture to illustrate truth.
Different terms used with same idea. Stronghold, fortress, tower, strong tower
2 types of stronghold – good and bad
1. The lord is our stronghold
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9.9
The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov 18.10
You are my rock and my fortress, Ps 31.3
For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. Ps 61.3
Often the word stronghold is used by David – he is a soldier, he understands conflict. He understands  the importance of having a stronghold where you were safe from the enemy, the difficulty of defeating an enemy in his stronghold and he understands that ultimately God is his stronghold.
Now for us God is also our stronghold. He is our refuge. If you are feeling under attack, beaten up, then God is your place of safety. You do not need to be at the mercy of enemy attacks – there is a place you can be safe.
The enemy will try many ways to break into that tower – Head on assaults like catapulting rocks, or building tunnels to sneak up close. But be assured the Lord is an impregnable tower. You do not have to be battered by the enemy, You are not the tower – he is.  You can be secure in the strong tower.
In a siege there are several possible outcomes – the fortifications fail, the defenders are starved out, there is a truce, the attackers are defeated.
When the enemy attacks  and you have taken refuge in the Lord the fortifications will not fail, you will not be starved out – you feast on his provision, you don’t need to make a truce or compromise with the enemy, the attacker will be defeated
2. Strongholds that we build become a prison.
In history there have been many times when people have retreated into a stronghold to avoid the attacks of the enemy, but the enemy force is so strong that the stronghold has become a prison. The enemy is able to restrict communication, restrict supplies. What the defending force meant for good has become a trap.
This can be a picture of what happens when we build a stronghold. Sometimes we are under attack, we are hurt by people and we retreat to our stronghold. I won’t get hurt again. I won’t allow myself to be vulnerable. But that stronghold actually becomes a prison.
So you build a stronghold so I don’t get hurt again but the enemy takes shelter in your strongholds.
It can be anger or resentment – promised a promotion at work and then were overlooked.
Marriage – parents divorce.
Unfriended on Facebook can harden your heart towards people.
Don’t build your own stronghold – take shelter in the Lord’s stronghold. BUT you don’t have to put yourself in that place again and be a victim
3. The church – a stronghold of righteousness.
The church is a refuge. It’s a place to come for safety. It’s a place of righteous refuge against attacks of the enemy and the ways of the world. If the church is a refuge from the world it should not adopt the ways of the world. The church should not be like the world. The church should not be a place of gossip and backbiting. When people come to the church (I’m not talking about the building) they should know that this is different. The values here are different. The morality here is different. The lifestyle here is different is different. That is attractive.
Bill Johnson – if we condone sin in the church, we are not representing Christ well in culture and society. The church a stronghold of godliness. The church welcomes those who are greedy, gossip, steal, defraud, are sexually immoral but offers hope for change and demonstrates that change.
The church a stronghold that doesn’t just resist or retreat from ungodliness but that invades society. Not with rules and legislation for moral living but a demonstration of a better way. A demonstration of godly marriage, a demonstration of family life that works, a demonstration of being a good boss or a good employee and the blessings that those things bring. The world is not going to be impacted by a church about which they say “oh look they’re just the same as us” . That’s not to say we become weird or unattractive or culturally irrelevant!