Homeschool Dads: Guarding the Castle
- Friday, June 19, 2009
The cavalcade of dark knights thundered across the ridge and swept down the grassy slope toward the drawbridge. High atop the castle walls, the sentry saw them coming and dashed for the portcullis release. The portcullis crashed down. Slowly, slowly, ever so slowly, the end of the drawbridge lifted clear of the castle approach and moved steadily skyward. The gates slammed shut with a crash and the heavy bars thudded into place. The castle entrance was secure
The leader of the dark knights snarled as he reined his powerful warhorse to a standstill. There was no point in pressing the attack. Thanks to an alert sentry, the castle was secure.
The most unique and intriguing structure ever built by man has to be the medieval castle. More than 15,000 castles once stretched across Europe and the Near East, and hundreds of those are still standing. The construction of a typical castle could take as long as twenty years and at today’s prices would cost millions of dollars.
Castles were built with one purpose in mind: protection. The castle designers were keenly aware that they had enemies, and the castle designs reflect this awareness. From the towering walls and battlements to the massive gates and portcullis, everything about a castle says protection.
In my research for the Terrestria Chronicles allegory series, I read everything I could find about knights and castles, toured castles in Europe, and desperately wished that I could interview a few knights. As I studied castles and medieval warfare, one thought kept recurring: the defenses of a medieval castle closely parallel the defenses of the human heart.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) In this text, the word keep means “to guard, to protect.” God commands us to guard our hearts with all diligence. Let’s see what we can learn about such protection from castle design and castle defenses.
Defending the Entrance
The weakest part of a castle was the entrance. There were occasions when attacking forces attempted to go over a castle wall with ladders and siege towers, and there were attempts to tunnel under the castle walls, but for the most part, the battle for the castle was an attempt to breach the entrance.
Castle designers and builders protected the castle entrance in five ways: (1) the moat, a steep ditch surrounding the castle, sometimes empty, sometimes filled with water, (2) the drawbridge, which could be lowered to allow entry or raised to keep intruders out, (3) the gates, which were typically made of oak and weighed several tons, (4) the portcullis, a huge, ironclad grating that could be raised or lowered by a series of chains, pulleys, and counterweights, and (5) the gatehouse, from which castle knights could defend the castle entrance by dropping huge boulders on enemy knights. To defend a castle, then, meant to defend the entrance.
You and I must realize that we are in a desperate battle to protect our minds and our hearts, especially the minds and hearts of the generation following us. Just as a garrison of medieval knights would defend their lord’s castle by protecting the entrance, you and I must be diligent to guard the entrances to our “castles” (hearts): our eyes and our ears. As Christian parents, we must train our children and grandchildren to diligently guard against the attacks of Satan and his evil forces. Any alert believer must realize that our homeschools and churches are under constant, unrelenting assault; our homes and families are under a withering, never-ending barrage of evil; our nation teeters at the brink of disaster. The battle is for the minds and hearts of our precious young people.
I challenge you to find another generation that has been called to withstand an attack as vicious as the one the young people of today are facing. As one California pastor said recently, “When you look at America, you realize that every element of our society is geared toward one thing: the destruction of our young people.”
God has called us. We must defend our castle, and we must give our lives if necessary in its defense, but we must also teach our young people to guard their castles against the onslaught of evil in today’s society. In our own lives, we must embrace and act on the words of King David: “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” (Psalm 101:3)
Let’s be specific. What programs appeared on your television screen during the past seven days? What music played on your radio? What websites did your computer visit?
If you’re a child of God, guard your heart diligently. Though you are busy, take the time to walk with God, read His Word, and spend time in prayer. Realize that your heart and mind are going to be under constant, unrelenting assault by the enemy, and take the necessary precautions to guard your castle. And then help the next generation guard their castles.
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