Stronghold: a well-fortified place; fortress; a place that serves as the center of a group, as of militants or of persons holding a controversial viewpoint.
What images are popping into your mind right now? Are you thinking of scenes from Lord of the Rings or The Kingdom? We don’t really have a reference for a stronghold here in America, which makes dealing with spiritual strongholds a little more difficult than we would think. How can we identify a stronghold? What do they look like? What is their purpose? How are they built? How are they torn down? Are they good? Bad?
As we address spiritual strongholds, we thought it would be beneficial to gain some background knowledge that will enable us to have a clear understanding of what we’re up against… or inside, depending on your perspective! We turned to our resident expert on ancient and medieval warfare for a crash course. Here’s what we’ve learned:
Q: What was the purpose for a stronghold?
A: Strongholds were defensive structures designed to ward off enemies. Kings, Lords, and Warlords would construct strongholds to defend their kingdoms from harm. They were not places of luxury or entertainment, but were places of war and hard work, often serving as a military base. An army leaving for war may stop by a stronghold to restock supplies, or they may gather in a stronghold when the country was under attack. Often times, a kingdom had several strongholds placed strategically around its borders for security. If those borders fell to the enemy, the soldiers in the border strongholds would retreat to a well-protected fortress deep within the center of the territory. These strongholds were much more difficult to reach, well stocked for long-term sieges, and equipped with tunnels and escape routes for those inside.
The C: We’ll look at more aspects of strongholds tomorrow. In the meantime, consider your own life. What kinds of defensive structures have you built in your life that keep others out? Are you protected or are you isolated behind those walls?