Behold! Stronghold

Behold! Stronghold

Behold! Stronghold.

There are some individual words and short phrases in Scripture that need to be highlighted as they are read, words or phrases that are significant or point to something meaningful. Some phrases might be: Fear not. Here I am. Woe to you. One another.   And maybe some words are: AmenHallelujahBlessedAbba. Come.  The word Behold! is one of those significant words, an exclamation that is intended to get our attention. Listen, people, this is something you need to hear! Behold says to the audience, Look at this and take note! You would be wise to remember these words and think about them! Careful now, don’t be deaf to what I am about to say! Stop what you’re doing and listen up! As the Eastern Orthodox Christians say before they read the Gospel in the Liturgy… Attend! The following verse begins with Behold! So the words that follow must be important.

Behold! God is my salvation. Surely it is God who saves me! I will trust in Him and not be afraid. For the Lord is my strength and song. He is my stronghold and my sure defense. And He will be my Savior. I  will not be afraid, for the Lord is my glory and my praise. Behold! The Lord gives me triumph! I am confident and unafraid. He has been my deliverance.” (Isaiah 12:2).

FEAR: dread or alarm in facing danger; to be afraid or apprehensive; anxiety caused by belief in approaching danger or by a perceived threat; feeling frightened concerning one’s safety or a loved one’s well-being; unpleasant emotions due to the likelihood of something unwelcome or undesirable; trepidation over unexpected crisis.

We are living in the 21st century, 2022, and fear is in the air we breathe. We nonetheless try our best to survive in this firmly established climate of fear. Consider the many causes of fear this day: the covid pandemic; terrorism; climate change; a seeming moral breakdown in society; old age; extreme weather; tragic violence; educational chaos; the diminishing of parental influence; international conflict; nuclear weapons; racial unrest. For Christians, we can add the fear of spiritual warfare on our loved ones and on our culture. Many of us have more private fears, such as crime, hunger, unemployment, and subsistence survival.

All these fears have a cumulative effect. At one level we seek to live with stability and peace. But at a deeper level we fight all these fears in our spirit. What is the antidote to fear, before it overwhelms us? Scripture spells it out, both in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Overcoming fear is a major theme all through the Bible. For students of Scripture, there were countless times the reader sees a story or reads an encouragement telling us, Do not be afraid, Fear not, Have no fear. The Bible is full of wisdom on how to conquer our fears.

The Lord gives us confidence in Him and courage in our life situation, because He has already proven Himself as our deliverer, Savior, and our triumph. The Lord is my stronghold of strength and protection. God is our refuge, our shelter, our protection from the elements that could do us harm. Without a stronghold, we are vulnerable to everything the world has to throw at us. Without a shelter, our souls are unprotected from the enemies of the spirit. As we walk through our journey with God, we don’t need to be convinced that we are surrounded with difficulties, that we need a safe haven. Run to God our tower, our fortress, our hiding place. God is our rock and shield, our sure defense in the midst of difficulty. Behold! Think about this!