William Marshal is my 26th great grandfather and he built this castle at Pembroke, Wales.
William chose this place on the Pembroke river, which rises and falls with the tides of the Celtic Sea. The river surrounds the castle on three sides and creates a natural moat. The 75 foot vertical cliffs made it virtually impossible to assail, and a 20 foot thick wall with a deep mud pit trench on the gate side meant that in 900 years the castle has never been taken by siege. William built the tall keep in the center of this linear castle with a rock domed roof so that flaming arrows would not compromise the Earl and his family if by some miracle the outer walls were breached. Pembroke was like the titanic of castles of it’s day, built by the greatest knight that ever lived, one with incredible knowledge of warfare and politics.
I will never forget the day that my father and I visited the castle. There is something in my blood that cries out like a warrior king that has found his home. It was a peaceful place that was powerful, timeless and beautiful. It was a wonder in the 12th century, and it still stands as a testament to one man’s vision and leadership. When William was resident at Pembroke, he was trusting in this incredible set of defenses to protect him and his family.
Psalm 20:7 says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”
It is so easy for us to trust in man-made structures or things to be our security. David writes in Psalm 20 that it is the Lord who saves his people, and He answers our prayers with a powerful response. David’s son Solomon wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (Prov. 3:5-6).”
The Hebrew word for “acknowledge” can have the connotation of “distinguishing, and discerning.” So my paraphrase could be, “Put your full confidence in the God who is so good, and don’t just try to solve your problems without consulting Him. In all your circumstances, discern what God is doing so you can join Him in His work, and when you do, then you will be blessed.”
What is it that you are trusting in more than God?
- Are you trusting in your employer and the paycheck you receive?
- Are you trusting in the promises of a business associate or the wisdom of a consultant more than God?
- Are you believing in human leaders or people who aren’t perfect?
- Are you listening and believing the advice of our culture that is the opposite of God’s Word?
I want to remind you today that Jesus came to give us life to the fullest, and He offers us wisdom if we will just ask Him for it.
I have the sense that there are a few people who will read this who are about to make a big decision. You have been agonizing over what to do, and it’s time for you to get serious about seeking God for His answers. I want to challenge you to let go of control and let God speak into the situation and for you to join with at least one other person who will confidentially pray with you for this.
God wants to bring us into breakthrough, but it won’t be from the comfort and safety of a fortress that’s man-made. It will be from a vulnerable place of surrendering control to Jesus where you will get the answers you really need to move forward.
In 2 Samuel 22:31-33 David said, “God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is a solid rock? God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect."
Run into the fortress that will make your way forward perfect.