Give me movies about castles and knights set in the wilds of medieval Britain, and I am happy. Unfortunately, none of my family shares my enthusiasm. So, I rarely watch them.
This summer, though, I stepped into the real world of medieval fortresses, palaces and tales of knights in shining armor.
It wasn’t in Britain but on the Greek island of Rhodes, surrounded by the sparkling blue seas of the Mediterranean. Inside the walls of the beautifully preserved medieval city,
I let my imagination run loose.
The city with its Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights looked in near perfect condition.
I craned my neck to see the top of the sandy brown stone walls towering above us.
They stood solid; a stronghold from centuries past. How many men, I wondered, toiled under the hot sun, glistening with sweat, to build such a structure stone by stone?
At one point two circular turrets, topped with castellations always included in my drawings of castles as a child, jutted out into our pathway.
We passed through an open archway at the bottom.
There were no Crusaders, white crosses emblazoned on their chests, swords drawn, to question our entry.
Anyone who was a friend of the Knights of St. John could safely walk the narrow cobbled streets inside, enjoy bartering at the market stalls, rest in the shade of cypress trees, just was we did on a sweltering July day.
The Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem came to Rhodes after being forced to retreat from the Holy Land by the Ottoman Turks. There they built their fortress and walled city. They were warriors but also hospitaliers. They welcomed and cared for worn, weary, and sick pilgrims from the Holy Land.
Near the Street of the Knights, I peered through one of the arrow slits, and imagined the medieval archer scanning the blue waters for invaders.
With his bow raised, he could shoot an arrow through the narrow vertical slit without danger to himself. Back against the slanting walls, the archer could move around inside, target the enemy and not be hurt.
Yet, something different about the arrows slits here caught my attention. Something I hadn’t seen in the ruins of medieval castles in England. In Rhodes they were shaped like a cross.
The Bible reminds us God is an archer. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, David says.
Running for his life, wherever David hid, it reminded him that God was his protection.
The Lord is my rock, says David.
David‘s not talking about a large rock on which he stood exposed to attackers, but the safe cave in which he found shelter. A place where he and his men could sleep and rest without worry.
God is my stronghold, exclaims David.
Other translations use the phrase, my high tower. This was not a tower where David would be unprotected but a high rocky crag where he and his followers could be seen, but not reached.
God is my fortress, boasts David.
David and his men did not have to fear, because God was defending them.
He goes on to exclaim:
As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. Psalm 18:30 (NIV)
We need to remember God’s protection is not a maybe, but a definite reality.
We need to learn God’s security it is not a faint possibility, but an absolute certainty.
When you doubt, when you fear, when you wonder if God is doing what he can to keep you safe, slip inside those strong, solid walls. Let God fight for you.
What doubts or fears are causing you to wonder if God will keep you safe?
How do you need to trust today that God will protect you?
If the Lord’s word is flawless, what scriptures can you use as a shield against your doubts and fears?
Share a time when God’s protection was a definite reality for you. How can you use God’s faithfulness then to provide security for you now?