Your Strong Tower
After an earthquake struck near Japan back in 2011 and a massive tsunami flooded the coastline regions, there were terrible scenes.
Once they realized what was happening, people desperately tried to escape the onrushing water: running up hills, climbing to the rooftops of houses and apartment buildings, holding onto anything solid so that they wouldn’t be swept away. But sadly, tens of thousands were killed.
Reflecting on those shocking images makes us grateful for our sure hope in God. The Scriptures say that he is like a fortress that will never wash away, even if all the waters of the ocean rise against it. God is where we can run in every storm and always be secure (Ps 46:1–3).
Solomon teaches this fundamental truth in Proverbs 18:10,
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
In a land like Israel, you could never take security for granted. For a long time, the Israelites lived in fear of marauding tribes and invading nations. You could be out in the field, minding your own barley, when suddenly there was a cloud of dust on the near horizon. You listened for the quickened pace of hoof-beats, watched for the flash of swords, and then you knew it was time to head for shelter.
Out in the open you were in danger of being cut down, but in a nearby town, behind its stone walls and in its high towers, you could find safety—so that’s where you went.
In just the same way, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs to it and is safe.”
God is a tower that will not fall. He is a refuge that will always be high enough, strong enough, secure enough.
In this verse, we should notice that it is God’s name that is so strong: his name is a tower. That’s because God’s name reveals who God is, his nature and glory. He won’t ever do anything that contradicts his character, the ways in which he has revealed himself in the Word, in the world, and through Christ. God’s good reputation will always be intact.
Like David sings in Psalm 18, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (v. 2). Each new image is evocative of strength and reliability: God is a rock and fortress, a strength and Savior, a shield and stronghold.
David is saying as emphatically as a human can, “This God is a God we can trust, in all things, at all times. His name is a tower and fortress we can run to, and never be swept away.”
In Proverbs 18:10, notice too, that the righteous run. When it comes to trusting in God, there shouldn’t be any delay. It delights and glorifies God when we recognize his greatness and flee to him at once. We can call on God in our moments of crisis, but not just then. It should always be our impulse and holy instinct: to call on God’s name, to seek Christ’s help. We might not see how it’s possible that he can aid us, but we can trust him all the same.
If you know the great name of God, there’s no need to hunker down in shelters that are sure to collapse. That’s the contrast in the next verse of Proverbs 18, for immediately after Solomon says, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs to it and is safe,” he teaches this in verse 11,
A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination.
Solomon understands that we might be tempted to trust in wealth, or trust in the company of our dear friends, or in the warm affection of our spouse. We feel safe in our earthly position, relying on intelligence and charm, and in our view there’s no way we can fall. But our security can crumble: that tower can burn, that strong city can be swept away, and in a moment we’re left with nothing.
So what is your tower?
For the righteous there stands a strong tower. Those who believe in God have a stronghold that won’t ever collapse, a wall that can’t be breached. When we run to the LORD, we’ll be safe. When we call on God’s name in faith, he’ll always answer for the sake of Christ, just as he promised (John 14:13–14).
Solomon said it like this in Proverbs 14:26, “In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.”
Make the name of the living God your confidence and refuge. Run to him as your strong tower!
[from Wise: Living by the Ancient Words of the Commandments and Proverbs]