Topic: The Cardboard Castle
Series: The Simpsons
Episode: Rome-Old And Juli-Eh
Lesson PDF link: 29.pdf
Fun Fact: This lesson uses a parody of the movie: "The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers"
I am going to show an interesting parallel between a Cardboard Castle (fortress) and the Devil's plans. I am using clips from a Simpsons episode called "Rome-Old And Juli-Eh".
Note: Please understand that there is going to be some bad language and/or crude jokes in the clips. Please don't let that detract from the lesson as the lesson depends on the heart of the content rather than those things.
Scriptures Used Include: Psalms 18 and 48
Today, our theme is called “The Cardboard Castle”. This is more aptly called demonic fantasy. Why is demonic fantasy a bad thing; what do you think this has to do with the “Cardboard Castle” theme? We will talk more about the link later in this lesson. I will show what God’s idea of a solid fortress is and contrast it with today’s cartoon clips from the Simpsons episode "Rome-Old And Juli-Eh."
Clip Show #1: The Simpsons: "Rome-Old And Juli-Eh":
Do you see the evil desire here? Was Ned Flanders an enabler? Why is evil desire or enabling one bad?
Clip Show #2: The Simpsons: "Rome-Old And Juli-Eh":
What is happening here? This bad demonic vision has germinated and sprouted via the water of lies. This is never good.
Clip Show #3: The Simpsons: "Rome-Old And Juli-Eh":
Notice that their demonic vision has grown into the physical manifestation of the cardboard castle or fortress. The shipping company wants its boxes back, but the kids won’t tear their castle down. They are firmly entrenched in the sinful plan that they have. Why do you suppose that the kids don’t give up this idea? Relating this to real life, what do you think would be the consequences in real life for such an action?
Clip Show #4: The Simpsons: "Rome-Old And Juli-Eh":
In this battle scene we see that the demonic vision comes to a culmination point in which the shipping company wages war on “Boxingham Palace”. The interesting thing is that even with a dragon these shipping people couldn’t win and they suffered a severe casualty load. So, we understand that the demonic vision of this cardboard fortress hurts a lot of people and “Boxingham Palace” is ruined anyway. They have arrows stuck in their ramparts and seams. Birds are starting to use the fortress for a bathroom. And they have a critically wounded or dead dragon in their backyard. The kids had to melt their fortress right after the battle. Was this demonic vision really worth it?
In all fairness, this set of scenes is a parody of the Movie: “The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers”. However, we are using this parody for a real life discussion. If you were the shipping company, what would you do in lieu of these happenings? My opinion is that in real life, there might be charges against the parents for neglect or complicity. There might be charges against the kids for juvenile criminal mischief. The family might have to pay for the boxes that were ruined and for medical expenses to the men and women of the shipping company incurred in the raid. To top it off, this company may not want to ever deal with this family ever again. This would be a very bad fortress indeed in real life. There is nothing wrong with building a fortress out of cardboard (that in itself is fun). The kids did it with lies and quite possibly with malicious intent toward the shipping company’s employees because the kids weren’t bored yet with their fortress.
The Bible states what a true refuge is. It is God Himself. God is the best fortress in the universe.
The Bible States:
Ps 48:1 Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
Ps 48:2 It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth. Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King.
Ps 48:3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.
Ps 48:4 When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together,
Ps 48:5 they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror.
Ps 48:6 Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor.
Ps 48:7 You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind.
Ps 48:8 As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever.
Ps 48:9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.
Ps 48:10 Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness.
Ps 48:11 Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments.
Ps 48:12 Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers,
Ps 48:13 consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation.
Ps 48:14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
The Bible States:
Ps 18:1 I love you, O LORD, my strength.
Ps 18:2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Ps 18:3 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.
Ps 18:4 The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
Ps 18:5 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.
Ps 18:6 In my distress I called to the LORD? I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.
Ps 18:7 The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry.
Ps 18:8 Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.
Ps 18:9 He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet.
Ps 18:10 He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.
Ps 18:11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him. the dark rain clouds of the sky.
Ps 18:12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
Ps 18:13 The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.
Ps 18:14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies, great bolts of lightning and routed them.
Ps 18:15 The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
Ps 18:16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
Ps 18:17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
Ps 18:18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support.
Ps 18:19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.
Ps 18:20 The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
Ps 18:21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD? I have not done evil by turning from my God.
Ps 18:22 All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees.
Ps 18:23 I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin.
Ps 18:24 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
Ps 18:25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
Ps 18:26 to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
Ps 18:27 You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
Ps 18:28 You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
Ps 18:29 With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.
Ps 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
Ps 18:31 For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?
Ps 18:32 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
Ps 18:33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.
Ps 18:34 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
Ps 18:35 You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.
Ps 18:36 You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.
Ps 18:37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
Ps 18:38 I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.
Ps 18:39 You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet.
Ps 18:40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.
Ps 18:41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them. to the LORD, but he did not answer.
Ps 18:42 I beat them as fine as dust borne on the wind; I poured them out like mud in the streets.
Ps 18:43 You have delivered me from the attacks of the people; you have made me the head of nations; people I did not know are subject to me.
Ps 18:44 As soon as they hear me, they obey me; foreigners cringe before me.
Ps 18:45 They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds.
Ps 18:46 The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!
Ps 18:47 He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me,
Ps 18:48 who saves me from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from violent men you rescued me.
Ps 18:49 Therefore I will praise you among the nations, O LORD? I will sing praises to your name.
Ps 18:50 He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants
David in this above passage of scripture had just escaped King Saul’s wrath. David was a righteous man who prayed in faith to God and was delivered. The righteous people pray and are exalted for their faith and are protected while the wicked people might pray as well, but God won’t hear them because the wicked pray to idols thinking that the True God will hear them. Their efforts will be as futile as the “cardboard castle” in our clips. They will eventually come to ruin either by God’s hand or by the circumstances or consequences that the wicked would be under, perhaps even the reluctant hand of the builder of the fake fortress as well. Hopefully, true repentance will be given in any case before God pronounces judgment in the end. We don't want to be like these kids in our cartoon. They seemingly thought nothing of their fantasy except that it was good while it lasted and it was fun. How do we spot and avoid a fraudulent “cardboard castle” in our lives?
We have to come to the point where God can use us. We must be willing to be convicted of our sin and come to Jesus Our Savior so he can destroy our fake fortresses without us in them. God is our Refuge, Strength, our Deliverer, and Fortress. There are no lies, fraud, or ulterior motives. God is the only true Fortress.