God is our refuge and strength, an ever–present help in trouble.
No building captures the imagination like a castle. Turrets, moats, and secret passageways feed our sense of romanticism. The military, political, social, and economic role of castles and fortress cities was paramount in ancient times. Developed first as strongholds of timber and earthworks, they were later redesigned with stone.
The psalmist may not have been familiar with the design of castles or fortresses as we know them. But he did have in mind their purpose—to provide people with an invincible refuge.
In a time of un–creation, when floods threaten and the world caves in on itself, fortresses hold fast. In such times believers have a foundation, a refuge. This metaphor underscores for us the critical importance of the footings of faith. Such an image can give us poise amid the panic of unstable economies, political chaos, or war. When the familiar collapses, we have a refuge!
You could put your trust in a retirement fund or a new political party. But wise people trust in the God who is a refuge. After the 13th century few castles were built. That’s because in the 14th century a weapon appeared that made them obsolete—gun powder. By the 15th century many castles were not even maintained; their roofs and timbers were stolen and put to other uses. Be careful what you make as your refuge.
“O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, still be our guard while troubles last, and our eternal home!” In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
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