For our 30th wedding anniversary, my wife and I drove the rural roads of Tuscany and rode the train along the Italian coast. Amidst the hills and coastal cliffs, we spotted ancient walls and boxed turrets guarding the highest points on the horizon. We learned that, during feudal times, lords built atop mountains to get the best view of advancing enemies.

Behind 20-foot thick walls, medieval people enjoyed relative calm. Shops, churches, city squares, and an ample water supply provided relaxed freedom. They had peace of mind knowing that the fortress served as refuge and shield from the threat of desolate heat, wild animals, and marauding soldiers.

David gives a similar image of God as a protective stronghold. Like ramparts protecting a city’s inhabitants, God — and living in his ways — affords us the opportunity to live freely and safely from the many struggles found outside his protective care. While God does not promise stress-free living (recall that Jesus spoke of persecution in John 16), a life of loving and serving provides peace, meaning, and community that fighting against God does not deliver.

It’s an intentional thing. David chose to take refuge in God, and God delivered him from Saul and other enemies. When David made poor choices and moved away from God, the consequences were harsh. So too we need to keep choosing God’s ways and the strength of His salvation to relish the freedoms afforded within the fortress.

Dear God, thank you for your protective love to which we may turn, and the way you shield us from hurts and struggles when we choose to live by your way. Thank you for being a place where we may abide freely and confidently in your sheltering care. Amen.

Throughout this Day: When you stand next to a wall, think of it as God’s protection for you. Whenever you are tempted to go outside the boundaries of his will, remind yourself there he has constructed walls for a reason.

Tags: Freedom Psalm 18 boundaries Obedience
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