Hochosterwitz castle is a fortress that rises over 2,000 feet above sea level in Austria. It’s first historical mention is in the year 860 AD. While there are, in my opinion, plenty of other castles in Europe that are grander and older, Burg Hochosterwitz is famous for the simple reason that, according to local tradition, NO ONE has ever captured this castle.
If you’re familiar with Europe’s history, you’ll understand why this is so remarkable. Paris was beseiged at least 5 times and our own city of Philadelphia was captured by the British in 1777.
Built on a limestone rock that rises about 500 feet above ground, this fortress is considered impregnable because of its design. It has 14 gates that an enemy must conquer one at a time to get to the heart of the castle compound. But the gates weren’t designed just to slow down the enemy—they were built with a second set of steps that allowed the castle’s defenders to attack the enemy on all sides.
With this kind of setup, after almost 1,200 years the castle’s reputation remains intact.
The Bible tells us that Christ’s Name is our Tower. I want you to think for a moment. If natural men could build a tower (or a fortress) so defensible how much stronger is the Tower of the Word?
Our Tower has been carefully crafted, word by word, just like Hochosterwitz castle was constructed stone by stone. Our fortress is impregnable. Untouchable. And no enemy is capable of reaching us, as long as we remain IN the Tower.
We Christians are in a unique position. We can either build up our Tower or tear it down. Now, I know we might resist that thought–after all, it’s hard to imagine deliberately tearing down the tower of Christ’s name. But remember, in order to sin, we must first deliberately lay aside the Word like Adam and Eve did when they tore down the fortress that was given them in the Garden of Eden.
You see, in order for our castle, or fortress to do its job, we need to build up its influence in our life. We must remind ourselves daily that it is more than sufficient to protect us from the fears and assaults of our enemy that confront on every side. Spend time building up the impact of the Word in your life. Do not let the enemy put the thought in your mind that it is insufficient.
If Satan can cause you to doubt the power of your Tower, you automatically tear a block out of your own defences. With enough blocks removed, he will invade and take over your mind. Once your mind is conquered, your emotions will be easy to manipulate.
And once Satan controls your emotions, you will do and say things that you never would have thought you could. You become Satan’s tool and will destroy the faith of many until Satan destroys you.
The choice is yours. Build up your Tower. Don’t tear it down.
I want you for a moment to imagine your mind as being the courtyard of Castle Hochosterwitz. Castle Hochosterwitz has 14 entrance points that ultimately lead to its courtyard but your mind only has five.
Satan will hammer at each gate: conscience (sense of right and wrong), reasoning (what seems logical), affections (your emotions/feelings), imagination, and memories. Now, as I said this morning, each gate must be guarded by the Word for that is the only thing strong enough to defeat him. Frankly, that is the very thing that the Tower itself (the Name of Jesus Christ) is made of.
But we all know that in daily life our defenses get battered. We get tired mentally and spiritually from the enemy’s onslaughts. And in those moments…he strikes his hardest!
That is why we must constantly reinforce the defence around our gates with prayer and the presence of the Holy Ghost.
Because Satan knows that the Christian’s Tower is indestructible, his greatest success comes by causing us to question its ability to protect us.
To make this plainer, if Satan can make you wonder if your inner man has the faith to rise above a circumstance, then your outer, carnal man (the flesh) will automatically win.
When you focus your attention on a negative situation—an emotional crisis or a temptation you face, for example—you are inadvertantly helping your enemy gain access to your mind (the courtyard).
Instead, cripple Satan’s assault by replacing your thoughts about the situation with God’s Word on the issue. Literally take a block of God’s Word and put it between you and the enemy. Do you understand?
For example, Ruth in the Bible had to deal with the sudden loss of her husband and a spontaneous decision she made to go to a new land. Now, she’s grieving and, instead of getting a warm welcoming committe and the support of other believers in Naomi’s homeland, she faces a lot of suspicion and negativity. Remember, she’s a Moabite and–although they were related–Israel and Moab had a history of conflict.
Have you ever felt alone or that other people (believers or not) couldn’t understand what you were going through?
I’m sure Ruth experienced that. But, despite the trauma of losing her husband, leaving her family (because the Bible tells us her dad and mom were still alive) and getting the cold shoulder when she comes to this new land of supposed Christian charity, Ruth shifts her thoughts to the future, to whatever little she knows about God’s plan for her life.
I’m sure there were many nights when she questioned her decision. Times where her mind struggled to understand just why she had chosen this path. Remember, these people in the Bible were human and struggled like we do.
But she guarded her mind against the influx of reasoning and bitterness that would have destoryed her if left unchecked. And she showed us this when Naomi gave her some rather awkward advice.
“Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man (Boaz) until he has finished eating and drinking.”
Now, remember that God has a great plan he’s working out—Ruth will bear David who will bring forth, ultimately, Christ. But Ruth doesn’t know this. All she knows is that she trusts Naomi.
So she listens to what Naomi says (think of yourself listening to God’s Word) and blocks her mind from everything that she knows which would keep her from the threshing floor (think everything that seems to be reasonable).
Ruth goes forth and bears the reproach, because, it was a really shameful thing for a woman to be out in the night on a threshing floor. I’m sure you understand.
While, under normal circumstances, it would have been right to avoid a “threshing floor” situation, here Ruth steps beyond the confines of social propriety and the result (1,000 years later) is the birth of the Messiah.
Now don’t misunderstand—I’m not advocating for people to act irresponsibly or immorally, God forbid.
My point is that we have to literally choose to put the Word in front of every gate of our life, no matter how strange it may seem to us. For Ruth, guarding her mind, even against what she might think to be right, was what let the plan of God roll forward.
I told you that Castle Hochosterwitz has 14 gates through which an enemy must pass before gaining access to the courtyard. THe furthest an enemy has ever gotten is Gate 4.
The Name of Jesus Christ is your tower. But you must still defend the gates. Daily build up your Tower’s protective ability by reminding yourself of its power and by placing the Word at every gate in your life.
- Suggested Reading:
- Romans 7 (whole chapter)
- Questions and Answers #4 08.30.1964
- Here’s a quick video showing aerial footage of Hochosteriwtz castle.