Listen to this devotional:
Isaiah 32:14 – The fortress will be abandoned, the noisy city deserted; citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever, the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks. (NIV)
I've a beautiful painting hanging over the fireplace in my home. It's a picture of Dunure Castle, an old medieval fort that sits above a cliff on the west coast of Scotland. At one time, it was owned by the mighty Kennedys of Cassillis. They lorded over the region for several centuries and some of them were despicable despots. In the sixteenth century, Gilbert Kennedy roasted a local minister, Alan Stewart, on a spit in the castle dungeon. Gilbert did this to obtain the deeds of church lands to add to his possessions.
The painting was given to me by the people of Dunure when our family left Scotland to emigrate to America. Whenever I feel homesick, I look at the painting and remind myself of the great times and moments that I shared with the villagers over nine years.
During the summer, many of the village children and parents used to gather on the grounds of the castle on Sunday evenings to play rounders. It's sort of like baseball, only you use Hula Hoops for bases and hit a tennis ball with a racket. We would play for hours on the green, and it was a great way of blending the families in community activities.
Always in the background, the ruins of Dunure castle would watch over us, and sometimes, I wondered what the mighty Kennedys would have thought if they could have seen the local minister and villagers trespassing on their grounds. No doubt another Stuart would have been roasted!
The Kennedys built a fortress that they thought would endure forever, but as time went by, it fell apart and was ruined. Sometimes in our own lives, we build emotional and spiritual fortresses around ourselves to keep us free from corruption and impervious to the world's woes. Eventually, time will have its way, and even the strongest of us will grow weak and become frail. That's when we need the mighty fortress of God to enable us to endure. That's when we rely upon the name of Jesus to keep us strong.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we depend upon You to get us through the good and bad times of life. You shield us from sin and help us to overcome our problems. We look to You for guidance and assurance, for safety and security. Be our mighty fortress and the guardian of our souls. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.