Thursday, July 27, 2017

Strong-Walled Places

This year's summer Bible study, Think Differently*, by James MacDonald, has taught me a lot. So far I have learned how difficulties, dispositions and dysfunction are the tools used to bend, begin, and build multiple strongholds in my life.

The key passage for this study is 2 Corinthians 10:4-6...

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,  being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

I was curious, so I looked up the original Greek word for strongholds. This is what I found... the word - ὀχυρωμάτων - is a genitive plural noun that indicates possession. In other words the strongholds (plural) mentioned in the verse belong to us. It's our warfare, therefore these are our strongholds.

The Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament clarifies the translation further... In some languages a ‘fortress’ may be described in terms of its function, for example, ‘a place for protection’ or ‘a place to defend oneself.’ Often, however, a fortress is described in terms of its construction, for example, ‘a strong-walled place.’

As I continued to study I found myself in Psalms 18:1-3... I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

The Hebrew word for stronghold  -  מִשְׂגַּבִּֽי  - is a first person singular construct noun that also indicates possession.  In this verse it means my stronghold, and that stronghold is God.

The Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament describes the word as a metaphor—God as a refuge. Tie this together with the lexical meaning and you have a "high point for refuge", which indicates a high, inaccessible place that keeps us safe from enemies.

As I pondered the connection between these verses I was reminded of Isaiah 55:8-9 ...For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

There it is... Everything about God is higher than me. All my life I have built my strong-walled places with my strong-willed arguments and opinions. I may believe that these strongholds are safe, but God is the only fortress that truly protects me. Only God can lift me to a safe place that was never built by human argument or opinion. Therefore, I must learn to combat my strong-willed ways so I will stop building strong-walled places. I must choose to take every thought captive to obey Christ. This and only this will bring God's peace to the battlefield of my mind.

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

Remember this... you are loved and you are always in my prayers.

In Christ, Cheryl

August 2017 Lamplight - Strong-Walled Places
Written by: Cheryl Harrison
Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved.

*Think Differently, written by James MacDonald; Lifeway Church Resources; January 2017.

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