Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Stronghold

Psalm 27:1 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
Psalm 27
Of David.
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

A few precious moments to sit in his presence before starting my day. Starting to read, my eye gets stuck on the word "stronghold." As a child, my appetite for reading resulted in learning words in context and assuming their meaning and pronunciation before hearing them spoken or explained. I've made some funny mistakes as a result and now, still a lover of words, I find myself sometimes focusing and wondering, "What does that word really mean? Is it what I think?"

The word "stronghold" is mentioned often in the Bible and it seemed important this morning to open it up, to fully understand it. So there I sat, steaming, strong black coffee at hand, the clock ticking down the minutes until I absolutely had to leave the house, having read hardly anything before I skidded to a halt, stopped in my tracks by a word, dictionary and concordance open, reading glasses perched on my nose and scribbling down notes as fast as I could!

I discovered from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary that a stronghold is, "A place of security or survival; a place dominated by a particular group or marked by a particular characteristic."

According to Barbara Ann Kipfer's Flip Dictionary, it is, "A bastion, bulwark, bunker, castle, citadel, fort, fortify, fortress, garrison, redoubt."

In psalm 27 the Lord is the "stronghold" or "place of security and survival", or "fortress," of my life. I think of other things I have used as strongholds, or places of security and survival, besides God; fortified places in my life and heart, defence mechanisms, means of self protection--I still have them--barriers against the Holy Spirit.

I think then of 2 Corinthians 10:14 where a stronghold is referred to as something to be pulled down. Out comes my big Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, and I find that the root of the word translated "stronghold" here is "argument," which is clear in the Amplified version of the Bible (see below).

Things that need fixing are often "stripped down" so that they can be rebuilt. That's what I want, any stronghold that I run to other than God--I want to be torn down. May "every thought and purpose be led away captive into the obedience of Christ." May the Lord alone be my stronghold, my place of security and survival.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (Amplified Bible)
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
3For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons.
4For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,
5[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),

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