Summary: 1 Sam 10:5 speaks of a garrison of the Philistines on the Hill of God. This is a message about strongholds of the enemy in the hearts of believers.
The Garrison of the Philistines
Text 1Sa 10:5 After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where [is] the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy:
A garrison of the Philistines on the hill of God!
The hill of God most Jewish commentators believe was the place the ark of the covenant was located. Some Christian commentators believe that is was a location of a school of the prophets.
For our message today we will look at it as if the Jewish commentators are correct. Either way of understanding the passage will not affect the truths in this message. C.T. Studd, the great missionary, said:
"Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell;
I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell."
That statement has inspired and enflamed the heart of many a Christian as its echo resonated in their spirit. Think of it, a mission one yard from hell’s door! As exciting and thought provoking as that idea is, it is not the subject of our message today, the opposite is: a stronghold of the enemy erected and maintained in the heart of a believer.
There was a time when the ark of the Covenant struck fear into the heart of the Philistines. There was a time when the Philistines did everything within their power to stay away from the Ark of the Covenant. There was a time when the ark of the Covenant caused the Philistines to be smitten with hemorrhoids. (tumors) That will make you want to stay away from it! What in the world is a garrison of the Philistines now doing parked alongside the Ark of the Covenant, on the hill of God?!!!
What happened? What happened to their fear, trepidation and fleeing from the ark of the Covenant?
LET ME SIMPLY SAY THAT STRONGHOLDS CANNOT BE BUILT WITHOUT YOUR COOPERATION. (Elaborate and expand.)
You are the gatekeeper of your heart. Even God Almighty has to stand at the door and knock!
Strongholds may begin by simply allowing a negative thought safe passage, or by doing something you shouldn’t be doing. Either way satan gets a brick and starts building a stronghold from which he can mount a base of operations.
Strongholds then, develop when you the gatekeeper give access to the devil on the temple mount, and if you do, what eventually will happen is that he will control the mount even as the Muslims do in Jerusalem, to the point where even the Israeli Government has passed restrictions denying Jews access to that Holy Place!
Talk about a picture is worth a thousand words, on the screen is picture of modern day Jerusalem, and you will notice the most predominate feature is the Muslim temple, while the Jewish temple has just one significant wall remaining. If we could look inside the hearts of some believers, sad to say, what the enemy has erected is more prominent than what the Lord has done, and yet they are still believers. To quote the scriptures: Jas 3:10 "Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be." My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
So then the text is saying that there was a stronghold of the enemy in the place where God’s presence was.
The modern equivalent of the location of the ark of the covenant is the heart and soul of redeemed men and women.
To say that there is a garrison of the Philistines there is to say that there is some part of a Christians heart that is controlled and dominated by the enemy.
Webster defines a stronghold as: a fortified place, a place dominated by a particular group or marked by a particular characteristic.
This is the definition I like:
A STRONGHOLD: (A fortification and buildup of thoughts that leads to:) A mindset impregnated with hopelessness, that causes us to accept as unchangeable situations we know are contrary to the will of God. (From Ed Silvolso’s book, "That None Should Perish".)
Tonight I want to break this definition down, give an illustration from my own life, share 3 keys to tearing down strongholds, close with a time of prayer to tear down strongholds.
1. A stronghold is a fortification and buildup of thoughts that leads to a mindset:
A fortification and buildup of thoughts
Two hearts beat within this chest.
One is evil; the other blessed.
The one I love; The other I hate.
The one I feed will dominate.