During our visit with Jill & Andy on St. Kitts, we spent one afternoon at Brimstone Hill Fortress. Built primarily during the 1700’s for British use but by black slaves, the fortress sits 800 feet high. It was constructed of dense black volcanic rock and limestone. Because of the valuable tobacco and sugar cane grown on St. Kitts, the fortress was necessary to protect the rich bounties of the island. The fortress is a magnificent sight to see as one wonders how the British were able to figure out the engineering puzzle of building such a structure on the sloping hillsides of a volcanic island. It also offers breath taking views of the Caribbean waters below.
Naturally, a visit to a ‘fortress’ brings to my spiritual mind the song, “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” Written by Martin Luther in the 1500’s, this song is one of Luther’s best known hymns. It is said to be a paraphrase of Psalm 46, although the word ‘fortress’ is not even in Psalm 46 (as least not in the bible version I read!). However, the word fortress is used many times in the Psalms.
Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 31:2 Bow down Your ear to me, Deliver me speedily; Be my rock of refuge, A fortress of defense to save me.
Psalm 31:3 For You are my rock and my fortress; Therefore, for Your name’s sake, Lead me and guide me.
Psalm 71:3 Be my strong refuge, To which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress.
Psalm 91:2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
The definition of “fortress” includes the following: A fortified place, especially a large, permanent military stronghold that often includes a town; a fort or group of forts often including a town; citadel; any place of exceptional security; stronghold. The definition fits Brimstone Hill Fortress. I hope the photos shared with you show how impressive this historic landmark is. But it is the last definition that fits the Psalmist referral to a fortress. God is our stronghold and it is with Him that we can experience a place of exceptional security.
As I stood 800 feet high on the grounds of Brimstone Hill Fortress, I was in awe at the quiet. There were no noises of cars, motors running, or any hums of civilization. It was quite serene with just the sound of the wind blowing through the tropical foliage. The air was so clean and clear. Perched high above the level of the Caribbean waters below, I felt almost a little closer to God. The amazing view was both glorious and revealing – like the soldiers of long ago, they had a clear view of any enemies who dared to come close.
And thus it is when we choose to trust God. Within His presence we can feel serene peace. We can feel safe. Perhaps, by staying close to His side, we also have a clearer picture of what God wants for us or desires of us. Keeping close to God our fortress also keeps the enemy at bay.
A might fortress is our God.