The Best Offense Is A Strong Defense: Fortifying the Cities Of Defense

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles, which begins with the days of the reign of Solomon king of Israel and continues by describing the days of the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah, and the kings who sat upon the thrones therein. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters twenty-six through twenty-nine of this Old Testament book. STORE CITIES! FENCED CITIES! CITIES OF DEFENSE! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find another transition taking place during the days and times of the southern kingdom of Judah, for there would yet be another king who would sit upon the throne of David in the midst of the land. As you come to the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture you will the emergence of a king which would be mentioned within the prophetic book of Isaiah—namely, Uzziah king of Judah who was also called Azariah. The more I ready and the more I study the history and narrative of the kings which reigned upon the throne of David in the city of Jerusalem, the more I come face to face with what those kings did during the days of their right. When I woke up this morning and began to prepare myself to sit down and engage in this writing I couldn’t help but think about and consider the fact that if you ready and study the history and narrative of the kings of the southern kingdom of Judah you will find that most of them during the days and times of their reign took great measures and went to great lengths to secure and fortify—not only the city of Jerusalem with its walls and gates, but also fortify the land of Judah. During the days of David king of Israel we find a king who engaged the peoples and nations round about the nation and kingdom of Israel in warfare, in battle and conflict, and subdued all that were round about Israel. It would be during the days of Joshua enemies and adversaries within the inheritance would be conquered and subdued, and it would be during the days of David king of Israel that the peoples, the nations, and the lands round about the inheritance of the people of God would be conquered and subdued. It would be during the days of David when the kingdom of Israel and the dominion and authority in the midst of it would be expanded beyond its borders and would touch the nations and kingdoms round about Israel. What’s more, is when you read the narrative of Solomon the son of David who sat upon the throne of his father and reigned over Jerusalem, you will find that during his days—not only did all the kings of the earth seek unto him, and not only did all the kings seek an audience with him to hear his wisdom, but Solomon also ruled and reigned over all the kings of the earth. It’s absolutely necessary and imperative for us to realize and recognize what took place during the days of David king of Israel, as well as Solomon king of Israel, for what would begin during the days of their reigns would be experience a transformation during the days of the kings that would sit upon the throne in the midst of Jerusalem.

If and as you read the words which are written and recorded within the book of Second Chronicles—as well as the words which are written and recorded within the books of First and Second Kings—you will find that when you read and speak of the kings which sat upon the throne of David in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, the kings which would sit upon the throne would take great measures to secure and fortify themselves as king in the midst of Jerusalem, as well as secure and fortify both the city of Jerusalem, as well as the southern kingdom of Judah. I have to admit that while on the surface it might not seem like there is anything significant about the words which are written and recorded within these chapters, we must recognize and understand what these kings did during the days of their reigns, for there is a strong and powerful significance within our own lives. I firmly believe that what we read and what we find during the days of the reigns of the kings of the southern kingdom of Judah is a truly powerful picture of what is so desperately needed within our hearts and lives during this day, and what is needed as we continue to pursue a spiritual walk and journey with Jesus the Christ. I firmly believe that when we read the words which are written and recorded in these passages of Scripture we must recognize the great lengths and measures the kings of Judah took to secure and fortify the city of Jerusalem, for we are called to take great lengths and great measures to secure and fortify the Jerusalem that is present within our own hearts and lives. While Jerusalem was indeed, and still is a physical city within the nation and land of Israel, there is also a spiritual element and aspect to Jerusalem—one which I am convinced can be oftentimes overlooked. It would be incredibly easy to read and consider the reality of Jerusalem and simply see it as a physical city in the midst of the kingdom and nation of Israel, and yet the truth of the matter is that Jerusalem is so much more than simply a physical city located within a geographical location within the nation and kingdom of Israel. It is indeed true that the city of Jerusalem is the city of the Great King, and that the LORD chose Jerusalem out of all the cities of Israel, and even out of all the cities of the world to place His holy name, and yet there is within Jerusalem a truly prophetic and powerful mystery which we as the people of God must recognize and understand within our own hearts and lives.

If and as you study the narrative and history of the city of Jerusalem you will notice that Jerusalem was the seat of the throne of David, as well as the Temple of Solomon. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this particular reality, for both of these realities would have a strong and powerful application for us during our lives and spiritual journeys of faith. It’s important that we recognize that Jerusalem was the seat of the throne of David, for it is the throne of David the represents the place of the government, the authority, the dominion, the mighty, the strength and the power of heaven on the earth. It’s very easy to allow ourselves to get caught up in the reality that the throne of David simply represented the dominion and authority of an earthly and natural kingdom, and yet the truth of the matter is that above and beyond the throne of David representing a physical authority, a physical dominion, and a physical government within the earth, it also represented the authority and government of heaven in the midst of the earth. The more we read and the more we consider the narrative of the throne of David in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, the more we must recognize and understand that the throne of David was the seat of an authority and dominion that was far greater than that of an earthly kingdom within and upon the earth. The throne of David was indeed the seat of the authority and dominion of the house of David in the midst of the earth, and yet there is something even greater at work than the government of an earthly king, for through the throne of David we come face to face with the truly remarkable picture of an authority and government of heaven that was to be manifested within and upon the earth. There is not a doubt in my mind that through the authority, through the government and through the dominion that would be found within the throne of David we find the living God once more causing His authority, His dominion, His government, His strength and His might to be displayed in the midst of the earth. It would be through the throne of David the living God would not only exercise His government, His authority and His dominion within the nation and kingdom of Israel, but it would also be through the throne of David the living God would be able to exercise His government, his dominion, and His authority in the midst of the earth. If there is one thing we must understand, it’s that when the living God first created and formed man from the dust of the earth and made man in His image and after His likeness, He did so in order that man might exercise dominion within and upon the earth. As you read the narrative of the creation of man in the image and after the likeness of the living God, you must acknowledge and come face to face with the reality that man from his inception was created to exercise dominion and authority upon the earth.

The throne of David which would be found in the midst of the city of Jerusalem would be the place of an earthly government, and a place of an earthly dominion and government in the earth, however, that throne would be more than just the seat of an earthly government and authority. If the throne of David was simply about an earthly and natural government within and in the midst of the earth than there would be absolutely no mention in Scripture of the Son of David sitting upon that throne and ruling upon that throne. The throne of David within the midst of the earth was in fact a truly powerful representation of the dominion, the authority, and the government of the house of David over both the nation of Israel, as well as the nations of the earth, however, the throne of David would be but an extension and manifestation of the authority and dominion of heaven which flowed from the throne upon which the living and eternal God sits upon. If we are to truly understand the significance of the city of Jerusalem we must recognize that the city of Jerusalem was indeed the seat of the throne of David, and it would be the throne of David where the government of heaven, and the government of the living God would be demonstrated and manifested in the midst of the earth. Jerusalem was indeed the place where the living and eternal God chose to place His name, however, it was also a place where the government of heaven would be manifested in the midst of the earth—a government that would touch the nations, the lands and the peoples round about the nation and land of Israel. In fact, it would be during the days of Solomon when we would see this truly at its height and pinnacle, for it would be during the days of His reign we find and discover how Solomon ruled over all the kings of the earth. As Solomon sat upon the throne of his father David, and as he ruled and reigned over the nation and kingdom of Israel, it must be understood that he didn’t merely rule and reign over the nation and kingdom of Israel, but also ruled and reigned over all the kings of the earth. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this truly remarkable and astonishing reality, for this reality brings us face to face with the truly incredible reality that the government which flowed forth from the throne of David would be a government that would touch the nations, the kingdoms, and the kings of the earth. The throne of David would be established during the days of David, however, we would truly get a wonderful and powerful picture of the government, the authority and dominion of that throne and what it was meant to be through and during the days of Solomon. It would be as Solomon would sit upon the throne of his father David and as he would rule and reign as king over the nation and kingdom of Israel that he would ultimately rule over the kings of the earth. In fact, it might very well be said that Solomon not only ruled over the kings of the earth, but that the kingdom of Israel ruled over the kingdoms of the earth. Oh that we would recognize and understand this truly incredible reality, for it helps built to something which we must recognize and understand concerning the city of Jerusalem and its direct impact and implications for us within our hearts and lives.

As you read the words which are written and found within the book of First Kings, as well as within the book of Second Chronicles you will find that during the days of Solomon the son of David who ruled as king over the nation of Israel—not only was the throne of David in full operation in the midst of the earth, but the Temple which Solomon had built before and unto the LORD would be present in the midst of the nation and kingdom of Israel. During the days of Solomon the son of David—not only would we see a powerful picture and demonstration of the throne of David in the midst of the earth, but we would also see a truly powerful picture of the Temple of Solomon, which would be built for and unto the living God. If the throne of David represented the government of heaven upon the earth, then the Temple which Solomon built for and unto the LORD would represent the glory of heaven upon the earth. During the days of Solomon we would encounter and truly come face to face with the government of heaven upon the earth, but we would also encounter the glory of God upon the earth, for if there is one thing we must understand, it’s that God’s glory and God’s government do not and were never meant to work independently and separately from each other. I previously wrote about a separation of the altar and the Ark of the Covenant, and how the altar represents the place of sacrifice, the place of offering, and the place of gifts before the LORD, while the Ark of the covenant represents the glory of the living God. I wrote of the tremendous danger that surrounds a separation of the place of glory from the place of the fire, and how the altar was never meant to operate independent and separate from the Ark of the Covenant. In all reality, we must very well come to terms with the fact that the Ark has its lifeblood in the altar, and the altar has its lifeblood in the Ark of the Covenant. When the LORD gave the pattern for the Tabernacle unto Moses, and when He even gave the pattern of the Temple unto David king of Israel, He gave this pattern which would include both the altar and the Ark of the Covenant. Neither the Tabernacle, nor the Temple could truly function the way it was designed and intended to without and apart from the altar of burnt offering and sacrifice working in direct harmony and connection with the Ark of the Covenant. It was the altar which the place of the consuming fire of God, while it was the Ark of the Covenant which was the place of the glory and presence of the living God. During the days of Solomon and the Temple of the LORD we would see both the altar and the Ark of the Covenant, both the fire and the glory of the living God working in perfect harmony with each other, as the fire of God would come down from heaven and consume the burnt offering and sacrifices, and as the glory and presence of the living God would fill the Temple from the inside out.

FROM THE INSIDE OUT! I feel a great need to take a step back real quickly, and discuss the absolutely remarkable reality that when we think about and consider the fact of the glory of the living God filling the Temple, we must understand that the glory of the living God never fills the Temple from the outside in, but rather from the inside out. When you think about and read the narrative of the glory of the living God filling the Tabernacle of Moses, as well as filling the Temple of Solomon, you will quickly encounter the fact that when the glory filled both places, it always filled it from the inside out, for the glory would begin in the Holy of Holies, and would then manifest itself within and throughout the Temple. When you read of the encounter which took place at the Temple during the days of Solomon you will find that the glory of the LORD appeared and was manifested first in the midst of the Temple before the fire of the living God came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice and burnt offering which was upon the altar. Although there is no formula and recipe for the glory of God and the consuming fire of heaven, one can’t help but wonder if the manifested presence of God’s glory is an indication of the consuming fire of God which can indeed come upon the altar and consume the burnt offering and sacrifices we offer before Him in His presence. When we think about and speak concerning the glory of the living God, we must recognize that the glory of the living God—when it fills the sanctuary of the living God—it always fills the sanctuary from the inside out. In the Old Testament we find the Spirit of the living God coming upon and resting on men and women, and it isn’t until the New Testament where we no longer find the Holy Spirit resting upon people, but actually dwelling inside them. I am convinced that what we find and what we see in the Tabernacle and Temple is not only a picture of the living and eternal God dwelling in the midst of His people, but also His glory infilling and indwelling His people. It is through the Temple and sanctuary that we truly encounter and come face to face with the fact that the living and eternal God desires to completely and utterly fill us, and how He desires to fill us from the inside out. You will never find in Scripture the glory of the living God moving from the outside and working its way inward, for the glory has always and will always begin in the Holy of Holies and in the secret place which is hidden from the eyes of men. It is in that secret and hidden place the glory of the LORD is manifested—and not only manifested, but also completely and utterly fills us from the inside out. The glory and presence of the living God has always and will always begin from the inside out, and will always fill the Holy of Holies and then gradually fill the rest of the sanctuary and Temple of the living God.

While it is absolutely true that we cannot and must never make the mistake of attempting to separate the brasen altar from the Ark of the Covenant—separating the place of sacrifice from the place of incense, separating the place of fire from the place of glory—we cannot and must not attempt to separate the glory of God from the government of God. The throne of David would begin to be established in the midst of the days of David king of Israel, and in the very next generation—during the days of Solomon the son of David—we would find the throne of David working in perfect harmony and unity with the Temple of Solomon. It would be during the days of Solomon that we would see the glory of God and the government of God being manifested and working together in the midst of the earth, as the glory and the government were never meant to work separately and independent from each other. We dare not, we cannot and must not make the mistake of thinking we can somehow separate the government of God from the glory of God, for the two were never meant to work independent from each other. It’s worth noting that during the days of Solomon the kings of the earth would come unto Solomon to hear the wisdom which the LORD had given him, and while the kings of the earth would come unto the throne of David—unto the place of the government of the living God upon the earth—the Temple was not to be so. The throne of David would be that place which would represent the government of heaven upon the earth, and the kings of the earth would come before and unto the government of heaven within the earth, however, the Temple itself would be completely and utterly different. The Temple which Solomon built was not only meant to be a place of worship for the children and people of Israel, but it was to be a house of worship for the nations of the earth. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand concerning the Temple which Solomon built, it’s that unlike the Tabernacle which was simply a house of worship for the people of Israel—the Temple was to be a house of prayer and a house of worship for the nations of the earth. It was Jesus Himself who would refer to the Temple as His Father’s house, which was to be a house of prayer, and with that being said we must understand that it was to be a house of prayer and a house of worship unto and for the nations of the earth. As the kings of the earth would be drawn to the throne of David in the midst of the land during the days of Solomon, so also would the nations of the earth be drawn to the Temple which Solomon built as a place where they could worship the LORD with their gifts and offerings. What we must realize and recognize concerning the Temple which Solomon built was that it was to be a place of worship and prayer for and unto the nations of the earth, and that it wasn’t simply meant to be a house of worship for the people of Israel. To help illustrate this even further, I would like to draw your attention to the words which the ancient Hebrew prophet Isaiah prophesied during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in the second chapter of this Old Testament prophetic book beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse:

“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:1-4).

The words which we find and read within this passage of Scripture are truly remarkable when you think about and consider them, for they reveal the wonderful reality that the mountain of the LORD’s house was to be a place wherein the nations and peoples of the earth flowed and entered into to worship before the living God of heaven and earth. The prophet Isaiah prophesied concerning the mountain of the house of the LORD, and how in the last days the mountain of the LORD’s house would be established in the top of the mountains, and would be exalted above the hills, and that all nations shall flow into it. What’s more, is that many people during those days will say to one another, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” It’s necessary for us to recognize and understand that the Temple of the LORD was not only to be a place of the glory of the living God, but it was also to be a place where the nations and peoples of the earth would come before and come unto the house of the LORD to worship the living God of heaven and earth. Within and during the days of Solomon we encounter rand come face to face with the reality that the kings of the earth would come unto the throne of David in order that they might hear the wisdom which the LORD had given unto him, and the Temple which Solomon had built would be a place of worship and prayer for the nations and peoples of the earth. WHEN KINGS COME BEFORE THE THRONE AND PEOPLES COME BEFORE THE ALTAR! I find it absolutely astonishing that during the days of Solomon we would find the kings of the earth coming before the throne of David in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, and we would find men and women coming unto the Temple of the living God and unto the altar to bring their offerings, their gifts and their sacrifices before and unto the living God. It’s absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this truly remarkable reality, for within and during the days of Solomon we would see the absolutely undeniable and perfect harmony between the throne of David and the Temple of Solomon, as the place of the glory of God and the place of the government of God would work in joyful harmony before each other. With that being said, I feel compelled to call and draw your attention to the reality that it is an incredibly dangerous thing to think that we can somehow separate the glory from the government, for there are men and women who seek after and desire the glory of the living God, and yet have absolutely no desire for the government of the living God. We play an incredible dangerous game when we seek after and pursue the glory of God while seeking to eliminate the government of God from the equation. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize that the glory of God and the government of God were never intended to operate independent and separate from each other, and that any true spiritual experience and encounter with the living God must indeed have both to fully and completely accomplish that which the LORD desires within our hearts and lives.

With all of this being said, it’s absolutely necessary that we recognize the tremendous significance of the city of Jerusalem, for the city of Jerusalem was the seat of the throne of David, as well as the Temple of Solomon. The city of Jerusalem was the seat of the glory of the living God, as well as the seat of the government of God within and upon the earth. As much as the city of Jerusalem was the place of the altar and the Ark, it would be a place of government and glory. We must recognize and understand this, for while Jerusalem is indeed a physical city located within a geographical location in the earth, there is also a spiritual element to the city of Jerusalem, and a mystery that surrounds it. While Jerusalem was indeed and is indeed a physical city in the midst of the earth, there is also a mystery to Jerusalem, for there is a Jerusalem that lies within our own hearts and lives. Would it shock and surprise you think about and consider that there is a Jerusalem within your own heart and life—that place of the glory and government of the living God? Would you find it strange and somewhat odd to think that there is a Jerusalem within your heart and life, and how within the city of Jerusalem is a spiritual mystery that points to and represents the place of glory and government within our hearts and lives? While the physical city of Jerusalem was the seat of the glory and government of the living Godin the midst of the earth, so also is there a Jerusalem that exists within our hearts and lives, which is the seat and place of the glory and government of the living God. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this reality, for it is when we understand this reality we come to also understand the significance that surrounds the kings of Judah building certain cities round about the city of Jerusalem in the midst of the land of Judah. You cannot read the narrative of the kings which sat upon the throne of David and which reigned over the southern kingdom of Judah without encountering the great lengths and great measures the kings which sat upon the throne of David took to fortify the land itself, as well as to surround the city of Jerusalem with fortified cities of defense and strength. The more you read the words which describe the reigns of the kings which sat upon the throne of David, the more you will encounter the tremendous lengths and measures they took to not only set up and establish fortified cities of defense in the midst of the land, but also store cities which would be those cities they could store treasures, goods and possessions. I am absolutely and completely convinced that it is necessary to take a look at and examine these cities which the kings of Judah built, built up, set up and established in the midst of the land, for it is when we look at and examine these cities we encounter a work which is much needed within our hearts and lives as we attempt to fortify our lives from the threats of enemy and adversary before and round about us, as well as to guard and protect the place of the glory and government of the living God within our hearts and lives. Consider if you will the references found within the book of Second Chronicles which describes the lengths and measures the kings of Judah took to fortify the land, as well as to surround the city of Jerusalem with cities of defense and cities of treasure:

“And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the LORD, and his own house, that the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there. And Solomon went to Hamath-zobah, and prevailed against it. And he build Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store cities, which he built in Hamath. Also he built Beth-horon the upper, and Beth-horon the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars; and Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities, and the cites of the horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and throughout all the land of his dominion” (2 Chronicles 8:1-6).

“And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defense in Judah. He built even Beth-lehem, and Etam, and Tekoa, and Beth-zur, and Shoco, and Adullam, and Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph, and Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah, and Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and in Benjamin fenced cities. And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, and store of virtual, and of oil and wine. And in every several city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side” (2 Chronicles 11:5-12).

“And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God: for he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves: and commanded Judah to seek the LORED God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment. Also he took away out of all the cites of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him. And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest. Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates and bars, while the land is yet before us: because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered. And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and four score thousand: all these were mighty men of valour” (2 Chronicles 14:2-8).

“And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel. And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cites of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken. And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; but sought the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance. And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD; moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah” (2 Chronicles 17:1-6).

“And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the land that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat. Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred he goats. And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store. And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty in valour, were in Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 17:10-13).

“Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Ahaziah did. And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper. And he went forth and warred against the Philistines, and brake down the wall of Gath, and the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod, and built cities about Ashdod, and among the Philistines. And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians that dwelt in Gur-baal, and the Mehunims. And the ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly. Moreover Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate, and at the valley gate, and at the turning of the wall, and fortified them. Also he built towers in the desert, and digged many wells: for he had much cattle, both in the law country, and in the plains: husbandmen also, and vine dressers in the mountains and in Carmel: for he loved husbandry. Moreover Uzziah had an host of fighting men, that went out to war by bands, according to the number of their account by the hand of Jeiel the scribe and Maaseiah the ruler, under the hand of Hananiah, one of the king’s captains. The whole number of the chief of the fathers of the mighty men of valour were two thousand and six hundred. And under their hand was an army, three hundred thousand and seven thousand and five hundred, that made war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy. And Uzziah prepared for them throughout all the host shields, and spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones. And he made In Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong” (2 Chronicles 26:3-15).

“Jotham was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Jerushah, the daughter of Zadok. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Uzziah did: howbeit he entered not into the temple of the LORD. And the people did yet corruptly. He built the high gate of the house of the LORD, and on the wall of Ophel he built much. Moreover he built cities in the mountain of Judah, and in the forests he built castles and towers. He fought also with the king of the Ammonites, and prevailed against them. And the children of Ammon gave him the same year an hundred talents of silver, and ten thousand measures of wheat, and ten thousand of barley. So much did the children of Ammon pay unto him, both the second year, and the third. So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God” (2 Chronicles 27:1-6).

If you take the time to read the words which are written and recorded within these passages of Scripture you will find that beginning with Solomon and extending all the way through to the days of Hezekiah—pretty much every king that sat upon the throne of David which did that which was right in the sight of the LORD would also at the same time build fortified cities of defense within the land of Judah. You cannot read the words found within these passages of Scripture and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous reality that during the days of the reigns of the kings of Judah—not only did they build fortified cities of defense in the midst of the land, but there were also those kings who built store cities, and cities of treasure in the midst of the land. Moreover, you will find kings that build chariot cities and cities that were armed with mighty men of valour who were equipped with swords, with spears, with shields, and with all manner of weapons. It is impossible to read the words which are written and found within this passage of Scripture and not come face to face with the powerful reality that in addition to building up the city of Jerusalem—which is the seat of the government and glory of God—the kings would take great measures and go to great lengths to establish fortified cities of defense, and fenced cites in the midst of the land. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this, for whenever an enemy and adversary sought to invade the land of Judah and exercise their own dominion and authority over the people of God they would always target the cities of defense first. You cannot read these passages of Scripture and not encounter and come face to face with the reality that when and enemy and adversary entered into the land of Judah when the LORD had given the people of God into the hands of those that would oppress and afflict them, they would always target the cities of defense and the fortified cities of defense in the midst of the land. There is not a doubt in my mind that the fortified cities of defense which were present in the midst of the southern kingdom of Judah were cities that would serve as a safeguard and as a buffer if you will round about the city of Jerusalem. It was indeed true that Jerusalem would itself be fortified with walls and gates, and that until the days of Nebuchadnezzar there would never be an enemy that would breach those walls, and break through those gates, however, aside from the fortification that was round about the city of Jerusalem there would be cities of defense, strongholds, and fenced cities with gates, with iron and with bars which stood round about the city.

I previously wrote concerning these cities of defenses, and how these cities stand and serve as a powerful prophetic picture of the great lengths and measures the kings of Judah took to not only strengthen the land of Judah, but also to guard and protect the city of Jerusalem. In all reality, we must recognize and understand that the fortified cities of defense which were present in the midst of the southern kingdom of Judah were cities which would be built up and established in the midst of the land that the kingdom itself might be strengthened and established in the midst of the land. In fact, I would say that the kings which sat upon the throne of David not not sought to establish the kingdom in the midst of the land, but they also sought to strengthen it within the land among the nations of the earth. The kings of the southern kingdom of Judah sought to strengthen the kingdom of Judah—pretty much from the days and time the kingdom of Israel was split and divided between the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. These cities of defense would be used by the kings of Judah to strengthen the kingdom from enemies and adversaries round about it—in addition to putting measures in place to guard and protect the city of Jerusalem. Undoubtedly the kings which sat upon the throne of Judah sought to safeguard the city of Jerusalem, and recognized that the city of Jerusalem would not only be the place of the throne of David, but would also be the place of the Temple of Solomon. The kings which would sit upon the throne of David knew that in order to strengthen themselves in the midst of the land, and in order to strengthen the kingdom of Judah within the land among the nations which were round about the land, they would need to establish and build up these fortified cities within and throughout the land, for these fortified cities would be the first line of defense against any threat and invasion of an enemy or adversary. It might very well be said that if any enemy and adversary truly wanted to exercise dominion over the the kingdom of Judah, over the king which sat upon the throne, and even over the throne of David, they would first need to conquer and subdue the fortified cities of defense which were round about the city of Jerusalem and throughout the land. These passages of Scripture provide great details into the names of the various cities of defense and fortified cities within and throughout the land of Judah in order to paint the absolutely undeniable picture that within the southern kingdom of Judah there were cities of defense and strongholds that were designed to keep the enemy and adversary from entering into the land, and from marching and coming unto the city of Jerusalem.

The more you read the words which are written and recorded within these passages the more you will come to appreciate and understand the significance of these cities of defense which were present in the midst of the southern kingdom of Judah, for these cities of defense would be the kingdom’s first line of defense against foreign enemies, invaders and adversaries which would seek to enter into the land. If any enemy and adversary would seek to invade, conquer and subdue the land, they would first need to conquer and subdue these fortified cities and essentially render them useless in order that they might have a clear path and course to the city of Jerusalem. It might very well be said that if the fortified cities which were present within and throughout the land of Judah were conquered and subdued by an enemy and adversary, the city of Jerusalem would be more exposed, more vulnerable, and more susceptible to the threat of the enemy. Within these passages we encounter the fact that Shishak king of Egypt would successfully enter into the land of Judah, conquer these fortified cities, and would even march on to Jerusalem himself. Of course we know and understand that he would not actually subdue Jerusalem, and would not enter into the city of the Great King. Furthermore, we know that during the days of Hezekiah king of Judah that Sennacherib king of Assyria would send an army of at least one-hundred and eighty-five thousand men into the land of Judah, and would conquer and subdue these fortified cities and cities of defense in the midst of the land. Sennacherib would conquer and subdue the fortified cities which were present in the midst of the land of Judah, and by doing so he would effectively isolate the city of Jerusalem. With the lines of defense round about the city of Jerusalem in the midst of the land conquered and subdued—not only would Jerusalem be isolated within and in the midst of the land, but it would also be more vulnerable to the threats and attacks of the enemy. This was definitely something Shishak king of Egypt, Sennacherib king of Assyria, and Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon knew and understood when they each entered into the land of Judah and conquered the fortified cities of defense which were present in the midst of the land. Each of these kings knew and understood that with the fortified cities of defense round about the city of Jerusalem captured and subdued, the city of Jerusalem would more exposed and more vulnerable to the threats, the attacks, and the invasion of the enemy. Consider what it would have been like for the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem to have and enemy—not only within the land of Judah, but also directly outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem. Pause for a moment and consider what it would and could have been like for the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem to know that there was an enemy directly outside the walls of the city which would not only threaten it, but also possibly lay siege to it to overthrow it.

It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this concept of fortified cities of defense in the midst of the southern kingdom of Judah, for these fortified cities of defense would be cities that would serve as the first line of defense against enemies that would seek to enter into and invade the land. As you read the narrative of the kings which sat upon the throne of Judah you will find that there were kings which not only engaged in warfare and battle against the nations, lands and peoples round about the kingdom of Judah, but they would also at the same time build these fortified cities of defense within and in the midst of the land. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for it brings us face to face with the fact that not only would they mount a successful and effective offense as they would conquer and subdue nations, lands and peoples round about the kingdom of Judah, but they would also seek to strengthen the kingdom of Judah in the midst of the land, and set up strongholds within the land to serve as a wall of protection round about the city of Jerusalem. These fortified cities of defense with their bars, their gates and their walls would serve as a natural defense in the midst of the land which would be the first ones to engage the enemy and adversary that would seek to enter into the midst of the land. These cities of defense would not only have their own bars, their own gates, and their own walls, but they would also have within them mighty men of valour with weapons which would be necessary to engage the enemy and adversary that would seek to enter into and gain access to the land. There is an undeniable spiritual principle that is found and contained within these passages of Scripture, for these fortified cities—as much as they were means and measures to strengthen the kingdom of Judah, they were also great measures and lengths taken by the kings of Judah to guard and protect the city of Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem was the seat and house of the glory of Almighty God, and would be the seat of the government of the living and eternal God in the midst of the earth, and it would be these fortified cities of defense which would be used as the first line of defense against any enemy and adversary that would try to march against the city of Jerusalem, and march against the throne of David and Temple of Solomon.

I mentioned that there is a strong and powerful prophetic significance in these fortified cities of defense and refuge in the midst of the land, and this must be understood, for just as the kings of Judah built and set up these fortified cities of strength and refuge in the midst of the southern kingdom of Judah, so also do these cities represent those places we have set up and fortified within our hearts and lives. I can’t help but think about a fortified city which we set up within and in the midst of our lives as being the city of prayer before the LORD. I can’t help but think about another fortified city of defense within our hearts and lives being a city of worship before the throne of God in heaven. We might understand another fortified city to be a city of praise before the living God as His praise is continually on our lips. Another fortified city might be a city of private devotion before the LORD as we spend time reading and studying His sacred and holy Word during quiet times of reflection in His presence. Such fortified cities could be a city of intercession as we enter into our secret closets of prayer and cry out in prayer and intercession on behalf of those in need. Such cities of refuge could be cities of fellowship and relationship within our lives as we engage with our fellow brothers and sisters. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—when was the last time you fortified prayer within your life? When was the last time you fortified worship within your life? When was the last time you fortified praise within your life? When was the last time you fortified accountability and relationship within your life? When was the last time you truly and honestly fortified relationship and fellowship within your life as you sought to engage with other brothers and sisters? Have you truly taken the time to fortify your personal and private time of devotion before the LORD as you spend time in His presence? Have you truly taken the time to fortify your private time of reading and studying the divine Word of God, and seeking the face of God through His Word? What is evident in the physical and natural realm in the southern kingdom of Judah is a powerful prophetic picture of what is absolutely necessary within our hearts and lives as we work diligently to secure places of defense, places of refuge and places of strength within our hearts and lives. These cities of refuge and cities of defense within the southern kingdom of Judah were great lengths and measures which the kings of Judah took as they sat upon the throne of David to strengthen the kingdom, as well as to safeguard the city of Jerusalem, and we would be incredibly wise and understand to come to terms with and recognize this. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss this incredibly important reality, for to do so would be to miss that which is absolutely vital and critical within our hearts and lives during this time.

The question I can’t help but ask myself is what lengths and what measures are we taking within our hearts and our lives to guard and protect ourselves against the attacks, the threats and the invasion of the enemy. What lengths and what measures are we willing to take knowing that we do in fact have a very real enemy who desires to not only sift us as wheat, but also devour us as a lion would their prey. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Jesus spoke unto the apostle Peter in response to his declaration that he would die with and for him, as well as the words which are written and recorded—not only in the epistle which the apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, but also the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the second epistle written unto the Corinthians, and even the words which the apostle Peter, and James wrote in their epistles within the New Testament. I am convinced that in order to truly understand the great lengths and measures we must take within our hearts and lives to fortify ourselves against the threats, the invasions, the attacks of the enemy and adversary within our hearts and lives. Consider if you will the words which are found in the New Testament concerning Jesus’ encounter with the apostle Peter, as well as the words which are found in the epistles later on in the New Testament:

“And the LORD said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31-32).

“For thou we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the LORD, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole arm our of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore having your lions girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching there unto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:10-20).

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw night to God, and he will draw night to you. Cleanse your hands ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and He shall lift you up” (James 4:6-10).

“Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he care the for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablished, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 6:5-11).

“Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? HE that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. HE that backbieeth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor, in whose eyes a vile person is condemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved” (Psalms 15:1-5).

“The earth is the LORd’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O God of Jacob. Selah” (Psalm 24:1-6).

“The law of the LORd is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORd is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORd is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORd are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much find gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great rewarded. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:7-14).

“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our LORD. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:4-14).

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; net not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:16-23).

All of these passages bring us face to face with the absolutely tremendous reality that if we are truly going to be men and women who walk in purity, who walk in holiness, who walk in obedience and faithfulness before the living God, it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we have certain measures in place which serve as safeguards which are a line of defense against those things which would seek to enter into and invade our lives to destroy us. We must recognize that we do have a very real enemy and adversary who like a roaring lion seeks whom he may devour, and we must resist him steadfast in our faith knowing that when we resist the devil he must flee from us. In all reality, there are two distinct scenarios within Scripture that show a contrast between one who had safety measures in place within his life that he might not sin against the living God, and another who I would emphatically state did in fact have safety measures in place, yet who allowed himself to get caught up in temptation, in lust, and in the actions that followed. If you journey to the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find the narrative of Joseph, and how while in the land of Egypt the wife of Joseph’s master repeatedly and continually came on to him seducing and tempting him to lie with her. Time and time again Joseph refused her advances, for not only would he not sin against the LORD his God, but he would not sin against his master. Eventually there would come a day when it would only be he himself and his master’s wife who were alone in his master’s house, and his master’s wife would come on to him again. It’s worth noting that in this particular scenario—not only did Joseph refuse her advance yet again, but when she laid hold of his robe to force him to lie with her, he fled from her presence leaving his robe behind him in her hands. I am sure Joseph did not think for one minute that his fleeing from temptation would lead to his being falsely accused, and eventually cast into prison, however, we can be sure that Joseph was not only willing to resist temptation, but on this particular occasion he actually fled from temptation. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely tremendous reality, for I am convinced that if we are going to to be men and women who walk in purity, and men and women who walk in faithfulness and obedience before the throne of the living God—not only must we resist temptation, but there might be those extreme temptations when we must even flee from that temptation and leave our robe behind. LEAVING THE ROBE BEHIND! The question we must ask ourselves as we think about and consider this is whether or not we are willing to not only flee temptation, and not only resist temptation, but even leave our robe behind in order that we might run as far away from temptation as possible. We must be willing to be men and women who resist temptation when it seeks to seduce us within our hearts and lives, and there are indeed cases and times when we must do more than resist temptation, but must also in fact flee from temptation and run as far away from it that we might free ourselves from that which would ensnare us.

I sit here this morning and I can’t help but think about the words which are written and found in the eleventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel, for within this passage of Scripture you will find that at a time when kings would go forth to war, David sent Joab and the army of Israel into battle while he himself remained behind in Jerusalem and in his palace. There would come a night when David would awake from his sleep and would walk along the roof of his palace, and while he walked atop the roof he looked and beheld a certain beautiful woman who was bathing. David would ultimately send and inquire as to who the woman was, and upon finding out that this woman was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, he would send for the woman, and would ultimately commit adultery with her. Report, however, would come unto David that this woman—whose name was Bathsheba—had become pregnant. In an attempt to cover up his tracks, David would then send for this woman’s husband from the battlefield in order that he might lie with his wife during his furlough from the battle. Uriah, however, would be a man of integrity, and would not sleep with his wife while Joab and the army of Israel were on the battlefield against the enemies and adversaries. Ultimately, David would arrange for Uriah the Hittite to be killed in battle, and once he was killed, he would then send for Bathsheba a second time—this time, however, not to sleep with her, but to take her unto himself as his wife. It’s necessary that we recognize and understand the words which are written and recorded in this passage of Scripture, for there are certain keys within it that can and should help us to understand the measures we must put in place—and not only put in place, but also keep in place in order that we might not sin and transgress against the commandment of the LORD. First and foremost we notice that the first thing David ceased and stopped doing at this particular point in time was fighting and going out into battle. In a time when kings went out to battle, David instead chose to remain behind in the city of Jerusalem and would not engage in the fight against enemies. Scripture is unclear why David chose to stay behind and remain in the city of Jerusalem during a time when kings went out to battle, but we do in fact know that David chose to remain behind in the city of Jerusalem during a time when kings went forth to battle. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that this warrior by nature who had known nothing but warfare, conflict, battle and bloodshed throughout most of his life would now find himself in a place where he would not go forth to battle, nor engage the enemy in battle.

As you read the words found within this passage of Scripture you will find that David’s first mistake was to stop fighting and to stop going forth into battle and engage the enemy and adversary in battle. Upon continuing to read this passage of Scripture you will find that the second mistake David made was upon seeing this woman bathing, he chose not to walk away from the edge of his roof and no longer look upon this woman. The third mistake David would make was to send for this woman to inquire as to who she was. David’s fourth mistake concerning this woman was upon learning that this woman was the wife of one of his mighty men, he sent for this woman in order that she might be brought unto him. Undoubtedly David knew that when he sent for this woman he would lie with her, and would engage in sexual immorality and adultery with her. This particular passage brings us face to face with the absolutely tremendous reality that during this particular time David abandoned the measures and the lines of defense which should and would have kept him from this temptation. It has often been said that the best defense is a good offense, and in the case of David the single best defense he would and should have had during this time was the offense of going forth to battle with Joab and the army of Israel. I sit here today and I can’t help but wonder and think to myself that battle and warfare within the life of David might very well have been one of the greatest defenses within the life of David, for when he was on the battlefield engaging the enemies and adversary in conflict and battle, he was not in a position to sin and transgress against the command of the LORD. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for perhaps the single greatest defense we have within our lives is to fight, is to resist, and is to continue in the battle. You will notice that both the apostle Peter and James write and speak of our resisting the devil who would seek to devour us, while the apostle Paul not only speaks of the weapons of our warfare being mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, built also taking up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God and the shield of faith whereby we might extinguish each and every fiery dart of the enemy. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for it is when we stop fighting, it is when we stop engaging ourselves in conflict and battle, and it is when we stop going forth into battle that we open ourselves up to all manner of temptation before and in the sight of the living God. It is when we stop fighting in prayer, when we stop fighting in intercession, when we stop fighting in worship, and when we stop fighting in praise that we open ourselves up to temptation before the LORD our God, and open ourselves to sin and transgress against both He Himself, as well as His commands.

Upon bringing this writing to a close I feel absolutely necessary and compelled to state that perhaps the single greatest measure we must put in place, and the single best defense we have is a good offense—that offense when we not only resist, but also when we even flee and run if necessary. It is necessary that we recognize that sometimes resisting temptation isn’t enough, for there are times when we—like Joseph—must flee and run from temptation in order that we might keep ourselves pure and keep ourselves from sinning and transgressing against the living God. It’s interesting that scripture instructs us to flee temptation and to resist the devil, and it is this joint venture of fleeing and resisting that we position ourselves to walk in victory and walk in triumph before the throne of the LORD our God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome reality, for we have been called to flee the temptation within us, and we have been called to resist the enemy and adversary round about us. Oh that we would recognize this absolutely tremendous and incredible truth, for we have been called to engage ourselves in means and methods to guard and protect ourselves from the temptations within and the temptations without, as well as from the attacks, the threats, the advances, and the weapons of the enemy and adversary. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize that not only have we been called to resist the enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion, but we have also been called to resist the enemy within which seeks to destroy us—namely, our flesh. It must be understood that there are times when the enemy within is far greater and far deadlier than the enemy without, and the enemy of our flesh must continually and daily be put to death and crucified with Christ. This is perhaps what is so incredibly vital and critical about the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the epistle written unto the Romans, as well as the epistle which was written unto the churches in Galatia, for not only have we been called to crucify our flesh, to mortify and put to death our flesh and the members of our body, but we have been called to be buried with Christ in the baptism of death that we might be raised and resurrected to newness of life. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are indeed taking the necessary steps through prayer, through worship, through praise, through intercession, and through accountability, fellowship, relationship, personal and private devotion, and even resisting the enemy, as well as fleeing from temptation within and in the midst of our lives. If there is one thing you must recognize and understand from the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, it’s that we have been called to fortify the defenses within our hearts, within our minds, within our souls, and within our lives in order that we might not only strengthen ourselves before and in the LORD, but also might be able to resist the advances, the attacks, the threats, and the weapons of the enemy that seeks to destroy and overpower us. The question you and I must ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to strengthen and fortify those areas within our hearts and lives that we might not sin against the LORD our God, for we are living in times when now more than ever the living God is calling for us to strengthen and to fortify the defenses within our lives that we might not only walk in purity and holiness before the LORD, but also might not sin against Him, nor against His command.

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