On the 2nd May 1643, Old Wardour Castle was put under siege.

My family & I recently visited Old Wardour Castle in Wiltshire, England. DSC09142The castle was built in the 14th Century and saw two sieges during the English Civil War of 1642-1651. At this time the castle was owned by Lord Thomas Arundel, who was a Royalist. Whilst Lord Arundel was away on the business of King Charles I he asked his wife, Lady Blanche Arundel, to defend the castle with a garrison of twenty five armed men. On the 2nd May 1643, the castle was put under siege by 1,300 soldiers on the Parliamentarian side of the conflict. Five days of fighting followed and partly due to lack of sleep for the men defending the castle, Lady Arundel was forced to surrender and the Parliamentarians took possession.

Henry Arundel applied what may seem to be a foolish tactic to use – especially considering that this was his home!

However, that was not the end of the matter. In March 1644, Thomas & Blanche Arundel’s son, Henry, decided to reclaim his family home by laying siege to it. Henry Arundel applied what, with hindsight, may seem to be a foolish tactic to use – especially considering that this was his home! It was though a tactic that was apparently not unusual during medieval times. Some of Henry Arundel’s men managed to get into the tunnels under the castle walls and placed there barrels full of gunpowder. The idea being that the occupants would then be informed of the gunpowder and they would (hopefully) surrender, rather than being blown up. Everything did not go according to plan though! DSC09076A spark from a cannon being fired, dropped into one of the gunpowder barrels, causing an explosion which surprised both the Royalists attacking the castle and the Parliamentarians defending it. The result of this explosion, was that an outer wall of the castle was destroyed and although the Parliamentarians did surrender the castle, it was now uninhabitable. The photo at the top of this post shows the front of Old Wardour Castle, which is in a relatively good condition. This photo, which was taken from the other side of the castle, paints a different picture though. It shows the extensive damage that was caused by the unintended explosion.

Sin is like a deadly snake – you cannot play with it without getting bitten.

So why am I telling you this account from English history? It is because God showed me the connection between the gunpowder used by Henry Arundel and sin. To me, it seems completely crazy to risk putting explosives under your own home, but how many of us play around with sin – which is far more dangerous than gunpowder? Many Christians are treating sin as though a little bit won’t do any harm. Sure, we are not talking about the same levels of sin as people in the world, but it is sin nonetheless. The Bible does not say that the wages of sinning a lot is death, but a little bit is relative harmless! No, it says plainly in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. black-mamba-12Sin is like a deadly snake – you cannot play with it without getting bitten. We need to recognise the dangers of sin and refuse it entry into our lives. Sin is never, ever harmless! The devil is not offering us what the world refers to as a ‘guilty pleasure’, he is using the temptation of sin as a weapon to keep us in defeat and not going forward in God. It’s time to recognise sin for what it is and stop acting as if God just wants to spoil our enjoyment. To be it bluntly, it is time to wise up and stop being stupid.

Sin that is tolerated will act as a blockage to the blessings of God.

Henry Arundel thought that putting gunpowder under his home wouldn’t do any harm, as long as he was careful. But something unexpected happened and his home was no longer a place that his family could live in. Maybe you have tolerated sin in your life, thinking that it won’t do any harm, as long as you’re careful. But don’t be deceived, it will only take one spark for things to blow up in your face. At the very least, sin that is tolerated will act as a blockage to the blessings of God. God has promised to pour His blessings into our lives, the problem comes when the pipe through which God’s blessings flow becomes clogged up with sin and nothing much can get through. It’s time to take what the Bible says regarding sin seriously. Sin is not something to be played around with. Ephesians 5:12 in the Contemporary English Version says, “It is disgusting even to talk about what is done in the dark“. That is the attitude that we need to have towards sin. It must be so disgusting to us, that Satan has a hard time trying to tempt us with anything. 

The next time that the devil comes to you with his temptations, tell him to get lost. Resist him according to James 4:7 and he will run away like the coward he is. I will end today by quoting from The Message translation’s version of James 4:7-10:

So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.

If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.


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