Impregnable – But are you?

English Castles and Peel Towers, often have one thing in common, they are built with very thick walls, often with arrow slits everywhere, standard bow is short range, English Long Bow is for long range, cross bow is for very long range, musket can shoot even further, therefore the ring of protection grew with technology until there was a great distance between the attacking Army and the Castle wall, but the castle still remained impregnable.  Technology advances and cannons came, but Castle walls are so thick that cannon balls just simply bounce off harmlessly, maybe knock a hole in the roof, but nothing much more, lots of noise and effort, but no breach.  Teams of miners were often sent in to dig in under the walls, they either got in and opened the main gate, or they just dug out under the wall, propping the walls up with poles, just like as miners held up the roof of the tunnels as they mined coal or ore, then they simply filled the space with tinder and dry brush, setting it all alight, the props and poles burnt through, and the wall collapsed into the mined out cavern, spilling out onto the ground, a ‘Breach’ in the wall has been made, and the attackers pour in, and the Castle is taken.  Next came more advanced new technology and a very short big bore Siege Cannon made its entry, powder charge loaded, but the shot was a big heavy stone ball, or mortar as it was called, and often of solid granite, 100kg, 180kg or for a larger gun, even up to 250kg shot was fired high, high up into the air at angles greater than 45degrees, up and up the mortar flew, then down, down, it fell, crashing through the roof, often crashing through the floor, but external walls are very strong by their thickness, and by their design which protects them from external attacks coming in, but  internal walls are not very strong, thus also external walls when they are hit from the inside by a very heavy siege cannon ball, hitting from inside to the outwards, well it just blew out the castle wall, and a ‘Breach’ was made, you just need to attack some more, or a ‘White Flag’ of surrender was waved.

The English once sailed up against the Scottish, sailed up to Eilean Donan Castle, and let rip with barrage after barrage of cannon fire, the cannon balls just simply bounced off the walls, so they sailed away, right behind those very walls were rooms packed to the ceiling with kegs of gunpowder, guns, powder but no cannon balls.  The Scotts then quickly gathered up all the cannon balls, stacked them all up, and when the English came back the next time, they were politely given their missing English cannon balls right back again; fired out from the barrels of Scottish cannons.

Are you protected from the advances of sin, Great; what about the ‘New Technology’ new advancements in warfare, are you growing in Grace and in Wisdom, knowledge and in Understanding, full of the Holy Spirit, active in the word, [protected from the Fiery Darts of the Wicked] as Satan is always inventing new ways to attack, new technology, are you up with the play, or are you smug and contented, we have withstood everything thrown at us in the past, we should be able to withstand anything formed against us in the future; or will you?

Goodrich Castle is a Norman Medieval Castle ruin north of the village of Goodrich in Herefordshire, England, controlling a key location between Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye. It was praised by William Wordsworth as the “noblest ruin in Herefordshire” and is considered by historian Adrian Pettifer to be the “most splendid in the county, and one of the best examples of English military architecture”.

Quote; “Goodrich Castle was probably built by Godric of Mappestone after the Norman invasion of England, initially as an earth and wooden fortification. In the middle of the 12th century the original castle was replaced with a stone keep, and was then expanded significantly during the late 13th century into a concentric structure combining luxurious living quarters with extensive defences. The success of Goodrich’s design influenced many other constructions across England over the following years. It became the seat of the powerful Talbot family before falling out of favour as a residence in late Tudor times. Held first by Parliamentary and then Royalist forces in the English Civil War of the 1640s, Goodrich was finally successfully besieged by Colonel John Birch in 1646 with the help of the huge “Roaring Meg” Mortar Cannon, all it took was some 20+ shots, job done, resulting in the subsequent slighting of the castle and its descent into ruin.” {Wikipedia}

Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue [that] shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This [is] the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness [is] of me, saith the LORD.”  2 Samuel 22:3-4 “The God of my rock; in him will I trust: [he is] my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.  I will call on the LORD, [who is] worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.”  Psalm 59:16-17 “But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.  Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God [is] my defence, [and] the God of my mercy.”  Psalm 94:22 “But the LORD is my defence; and my God [is] the rock of my refuge.”

Goodrich Castle, well how good was it on defence from external attacks, how good is a 13th Century castle’s defences going to stand against the quick advances in warfare and technology, let us explore.  Goodrich Castle is built on a high stone hill, with the river Wye flowing across the front and down the side, with a long gently sloping hillside going down from the front of the Castle to the river out there in front, which also contains many a mass grave of the foolhardy who ever tried to attack, for there is just no place to sneak up from the front, well how about the side, yes sneak along the edge of the steep drop off, but then you reach the deep pit the castle sits in, but the steep drop-off beside also continues along the back wall, around to the end wall looking down upon the river Wye and the ferry boat. Along the back and main drawbridge end is a high walled outer courtyard, with the stables at the end, built at the top of the steep cliff, here are situated these outer castle walls.  If you somehow ever got over these, then you are in plain sight of numerous look-outs, the high wall means a huge drop to the ground and lawn around the castle proper, which now looms high above, not a chance of survival or entry this way.  Absolutely no entry around the back or end, so turn right to go around the front edge of the huge deep pit right in front of the castle, with 3-4 towers watching your every move.  There is the castle now clearly seen right in right in front of you, move a bit more to the right and you are now faced with a tall tower, the ‘Barbican’ (Outer Guard House) and separating you from it is a pit, the drawbridge is raised blocking your entrance, behind which is a set of heavy castle doors, the Barbican has arrow slots on a few levels, once inside, through an opening to your left is seen the corner tower of the Castle, another drawbridge, another tower with the main entrance being situated between the two towers, arrow slots everywhere, and behind you on the other end of the castle is the corner tower bristling with arrow slots and between them is the high parapet walkway, with bowmen looking down upon you, arrows, arrows everywhere, and not a chance of survival.  You are granted permission to enter, drawbridge is lowered, the heavy doors swing open, and into the ‘Barbican’ you walk, only to discover that it is a small stone room, the guards in the tower, hidden behind arrow slits in the wall in front as well as beside and above, you turn left into the opening and now face the Castle proper, towers and arrow slits everywhere, no chance of survival should you be unwelcome.  You walk the path before you, waist high stone walls either side, and over the edge is that very deep pit the castle sits in.  The second drawbridge lowers, the heavy front gates thump open, you move forwards, arrow slits on either side, into the stone room between the two towers, and there are arrow slits on both sides for bowmen stationed behind arrow slits in the side walls of both round towers, looking up, there are arrow slits in the roof for archers on the second floor.  Before you there are two massive ‘Portcullis’ those heavy grates of steel and timber, behind which is yet another set of heavy doors, the Main Doors, through which, when you next enter, you come into yet another room between two circular towers, the two giant Portcullis clang down behind you out of the ceiling, you move forwards, but again there are arrow slits to the left, to the right, in the ceiling above, now even from a tower in front of you, you move into the courtyard, a low wall fences you in, now you are inside, but in front are the two rear towers, arrow slits everywhere, behind are towers, arrow slits everywhere, both at your level and above and behind you, and high up on the parapets, nowhere to hide.  This is one place that you cannot ever conquer, it is so well protected, layer upon layer of protection, but you are a guest, no fear, you are safe and well protected, you are welcome, you are a guest, you are family, Psalm 91:5 “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; [nor] for the arrow [that] flieth by day;”  They have a very deep well, so water is eternal, you cannot make them thirsty, they have food stores for years, you cannot starve them out, the attacker is the vulnerable one, wander too close, and an English Longbow will quickly end you days. Your armour is useless protection, they just shoot straight through that, and you are an easy target and will kill you even at 250 yards or 231 meters away, just nowhere near is safe. 

But Goodrich Castle did fall, ‘Roaring Meg’ the siege cannon, with a 15½ inch or 390mm barrel lobbing 220lb or 100kg stone balls, accomplished the desired effect, stationed on a ridge close by, and just outside the castles ability to fight back.  Roaring Meg was forged about a mile away, dragged over, set up on the ridge, and lobbed just over 20 shots, now if you can get the cannon almost pointing to the sky, the shot goes up, and then it curls back on itself, back towards the cannon, and the shot strikes from inside to the outwards, for castles are designed to withstand hits from outside to inside, where they are super strong, but most easily to burst from inside by hitting outwards, so in 1646, ‘Roaring Meg’ accomplished the impossible, and the cannon is now on permanent display in Goodrich Castle.

Cities of refuge gives us from the meaning of their names the concept that while we remain inside, we are enclosed, embraced, protected, just like Goodrich Castle, there are just so many layers, each impenetrable, but combined, layer upon layer, super strong, just like plywood, many layers make for huge strength. Isaiah 28:13 “But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.”  Breach of your life, allows all without to flood in, just like Goodrich Castle, ‘Roaring Meg’ did its designed job, breached the protective walls, thus the Castle fell, Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].”  We can so easily be protected from those outside trying to battle its way inside, but what about what’s already inside battling outwards?  Do we leave the doors open in our lives all unguarded, letting anything and everything wander in, giving corruption and wickedness the ability to breach us, to cause our fall, to conquer and to overcome us from the inside outwards, Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.”  That is as long as you have ‘Christ in us the hope of Glory’ we are washed by the Spirit and cleansed by the blood, tutored by ‘The Word,’ both Jesus Christ, as well as Scripture taught by the Holy Spirit, thus we are safe and protected from without, and with no sin or corruption within, we are more than able to resist anything and everything life can throw at us.   

The 10-Commandments are often described as being as a Castle Wall of defence round about us, our love to God is hedged in with protection, so it is pure and Holy; our love to our fellow man is also pure and Holy, there will be no, “Breach of 10 Commandments” no breach of our outer-wall of safety and protection as we are wrapped, enclosed, protected by the love of God as found in Christ Jesus our Lord; that is unless we break them down from the inside.  We are sort of Goodrich Castle, impregnable, and with God our shield and strength around and above us, 1 Peter 5:8 [Adapted] “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a “Roaring Meg,” walketh about, seeking whom he may Breach:”  God will deflect, Psalm 91:7 “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; [but] it shall not come nigh thee,” God is our shield, the Holy Spirit protects us layer upon layer, but we need to keep the drawbridge pulled up, the doors and gates locked shut against sin and evil, if left unguarded, we are easily taken, and sin will turn us into rubble.  1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” keep the watchmen on the walls ever vigilant, sorting out visitors from enemies of your soul, then are you impregnable, immoveable, resolute, unwavering, unshakeable, have you fortified your mind with scripture and are currently living in a vibrant relationship with God, we can often claim to be, “Impregnable – But are you?”

We need to ‘Fortify our Minds,’ set up our ‘Bowman’ of the Holy Spirit to check out everything that wants entrance into our lives, prove it, check it, test it by scripture, Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”  1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.”  Thus, one is shielded and protected, enclosed, enfolded in God and truth, nothing can ever get in from the outside, we are so well guarded and protected from external attacks, and safe from anything inside trying to breach the walls from inside to outwards, for anything and everything that could make us to ‘Fall’ and to be conquered is locked outside, for we are fortified with ‘Truth,’ and we hold fast to that which is good, therefore we remain “Impregnable.”   In Summary then; Goodrich Castle is impregnable, for the walls are super thick, it sits on solid rock, the castle is anchored in a deep trench, there are at least six well-armed guard towers, bowmen can even shoot through the floor above at those below in a few places, there are two draw bridges, three main gates, two giant ‘Portcullis,’ and the list goes on, basically Goodrich Castle is impregnable.  Spiritual Concept; Psalms 34:7 “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them”. Psalms 51:11 “Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.” Ephesians 4:30 “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” If you choose to be under God’s protection, then God stations Angel round about as an army of protection, but how powerful is a single Angel, let alone a whole troop?  2 Kings 19:35 “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they [were] all dead corpses.”  So only one Angel turned up, and an army lay dead upon the earth, in just a few quick short minutes, and the job is all done, so what would a whole troop of Angels achieve??  Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.”  Our sins and selfishness means that Gods protective Angel Army pack up and leave you very vulnerable, a very dumb move, as you will be breached, 1 Peter 5:8 [Adapted] “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a “Roaring Meg,” walketh about, seeking whom he may Breach:”  Quickly clear all sin and selfishness out of your life, welcome in the Guardian Angel Band, give place and take council from the Holy Spirit, come what may, let the attackers fail, let “Roaring Meg” roar day and night, but God is your shield and protection from below, above, to the left and the right, put God in control of the Castle of your life, and you will ever be “Impregnable.” If God is ‘For Me,’ then who can be ‘Against me’ for they will always fail to breach me??