Nahum 1:7

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him.

The Lord is good. That doesn’t sound like a huge revelation perhaps, but you might be surprised how many Christians have not come to that conclusion yet. He is good and He does good. He is not bad, and He does not do bad things to us. He is full to overflowing with goodness and He rains His goodness on us.

He is also a strong fortress in our day of need. What does it mean that He is a stronghold? It means that you can run to Him and he will be your strength, answer and protection. You can rely on Him to be your safe place when trouble heads in your direction.

What’s more, He becomes intimately familiar with those who trust Him and take refuge in Him. He wants to be your hiding place. He wants you to lean on Him when the pressure is on rather than relying on your own resources. You can come out of a bad situation as the victor and also closer to God. That alone makes it a victory. The more you get to know Him, the more you spend time with Him the more he will be able to share His wisdom and other good gifts with you. He is a good God and all of that goodness is stored up just for you.

Battle Strategy

Psalm 59: 16 – 17

But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, for You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my strength, I will sing praises to You; for God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.

You may need to read the beginning of this psalm to get the full thrust of these last two verses. The backstory is familiar. Saul was in relentless pursuit of David. Saul’s men surrounded, besieged and attacked David and his men. Day and night, there were spies, sneak attacks and ambushes. David tells of the trials and persecutions through the first fifteen verses. At the end he says, “but as for me . . ..” In these last two verses, David reveals his battle plan.

No matter what the enemy’s tactics were; regardless of being outnumbered, trapped or under siege, the battle plan David employed was praise and complete confidence in our Lord. David’s confidence wasn’t just something he held in his breast, though. His faith in the Father was boldly declared from his lips. That is one thing which distinguished him from every other. Perhaps other people thought God was a stronghold and deliverer, but David made a career of proclaiming it.

How about you? Are your words like David’s? Perhaps we too can turn the tide with our words. You know the end of the story. God removed Saul from the throne and installed David in his place. As I have studied David’s life, I noted his continual boasting in the Lord. I think his success was tied to his proclamation. While others count their soldiers and array their weaponry, David installed his stronghold. His plan involved the power of the Almighty, his strategy relying on the promises of his Lord.

It seems, then, that David didn’t have anything we don’t have. That is what makes his story so attractive. We can do what he did. We can love the Lord and trust in His prowess as David did and enjoy the same success. The strategy that prevailed for David will work for us too. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and soul. Lean on Him and His understanding. Make joyful praise to the Lord and let His power arise in your battles.

Sanctuary or Prison?

2 Corinthians 10: 3 – 4

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

Today, we hear God tell us that the weapons of the Spirit are divinely powerful and will destroy fortresses. Think of the word fortress also as stronghold. The Word of God will utterly destroy the stronghold of the enemy. But, guess who else has strongholds. Sure, all of us. We have mental and emotional strong holds that need to be defeated. The Word of God is sharp and sure and you can use it to destroy your own strongholds.

What are some strongholds that people often have? Well, we carry around all kinds of emotional baggage for starters. Strongholds can be little areas we retreat into when we are threatened. Strongholds can also be old and outdated traditions. Sometimes we adhere strictly to traditions that no longer make any sense. Maybe you lock yourself away in a fortress of fear. Even sickness and injury can be strongholds. Frankly, sometimes it is easier to be sick than to get up and fight to get well or whole. I know. Perhaps you rely on someone else to your own detriment. There is always a balance between leaning to heavily on others and being self-reliant to a fault. There are probably innumerable strongholds that we hide away in but the Word of God is strong enough to destroy all of those secret fortresses. While we have used those strongholds to protect ourselves, in truth they are keeping us from being whole. They have a high cost. They keep us disabled. They prevent us from reaching our true potential. Most importantly, they rob us of ever having healthy relationships with our Father and with others. They were convenient for a season but now it is time to break out of all those little dark fortresses we have built up within ourselves. They keep us from truly experiencing the freedom that we could have in Christ. Most of them are built out of lies and misconceptions anyway.

You no longer need a made up fortress to protect you from hurt. You are an adult in Christ now and you can take on the biggest baddie that the devil ever created because you don’t have to fight anything in your own might any longer. You don’t have to hide away in fear any more. When the light of the son shines on those old fears, you will see them for the lies they are. You will see how much greater the son is than those problems. You can truly be free and you can develop into the person that God intended you to be before those things interfered with your development. Let the light of the Word shine and vanquish those little demons that have plagued you for so long.


Psalm 18: 2

The Lord is my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

This is not an unfamiliar scripture to you nor is the concept foreign. What we may not have considered, though, is the practical application involved and implied in this verse. One of the things I am doing these days which is bringing enlightenment to my thinking is that I am reading verses from a very pragmatic perspective. Beyond the poetic verse, and the almost ethereal ideals, there must be a practical application in order for these verses to have gravity in my very present life. “Thanks, David, for showing us your relationship and interaction with the Father but how do I apply that to my here and now?” That is the continual question I endeavor to answer on a daily basis.

I like to think that the Lord is our refuge and fortress as well but when David wrote, “in whom I take refuge” what do you suppose he actually did? Was this just a figure of speech or was there something affirmative he did? I think for us to run into the refuge of our hiding place we must actually engage in some kind of intentional act. Perhaps that act is prayer or meditation. I do not think that accepting the concept of God as our rock, shield and stronghold is the same as taking refuge in Him. I perceive from David’s words that when the pressure was on, he stopped looking to himself as the source of strength and instead went to the Lord in his spirit, in his mind and in his prayers. I think his retreat into the Lord was so real that it was all but a physical sequestration.

There is a level of surrender and release in this escape into the fortress of the Lord. It calls on God to be the strong savior while we rest in the shadow of His presence. We can, quite literally, I believe, hide ourselves away in who God is.

This taking these verses literally instead of figuratively is where the revelation begins to pour out like a summer rain and we begin to see real world application for what otherwise might be mere poetry to others. In all these high ideals there is the real world and God is one for real effects. What seems like a purely spiritual idea is really a God idea that is effectuated through the Spirit but with real impact on real lives. We, therefore, can read the Bible with that in mind and thus find the means for it to change our lives forever.

Security in Humility

Nahum 1: 7

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him.

It is good to know that in the day of trouble we have a refuge into which we can run. Our God is a stronghold, a mighty fortress. We recognize these words like refuge and stronghold as words of strength and power. We may imagine a well-fortified castle with its reinforced walls and parapets. This image conjures up feelings of security and well-being. We know that within the walls of this fortress we are safe. God is a bastion of safe habitation but we must take up our residence within His walls. He gives us an open invitation to reside within His walls but we are the ones who must make the move to come within His protection. This is not the prayer of salvation. This is a decision that happens after we have made Jesus the Lord of our lives and it is not a once and for all decision. Every day you have the choice of whether to live within the walls of His protection or to set your abode outside His gates.

Choosing to run into the security of the Lord is a matter of humility. It is a matter of submission. You can well imagine a prideful person who in the day of trouble stands out on his little farm facing the onslaught because he is too proud to run to his Lord. He relies in his own strength, to his detriment, when he could lean on the strength of the Lord. 

God’s protection is not automatic. We have all been given a choice to accept it or reject it. When we accepted Jesus as our Lord we were given the right to take up abode in the castle whenever we want, the right to God’s strength and protection. We were not, however, rounded up and forced to take up residence within His walls. He gave an invitation which only we can accept. We must humble ourselves before the Lord, not asking if He will give us permission to enter but rather acknowledging that He, rather than we, is the source of strength and power. Only He can save us in the day of trouble. For some people this can be a difficult admission but there is freedom in yielding to truth. There is always great freedom and empowerment in submitting to the Lord. He infuses us with His strength and love when we allow Him open access to our hearts. This can only be done in a yielded attitude and that requires humility. When we finally reject ourselves as the Lord of our life then we can make room for God’s sovereignty. If we will make an honest self-assessment and humble ourselves before the Lord Almighty, then we will be able, at last, to enjoy that incomprehensible peace of Jesus.