Jesus, Our Strong Tower (Proverbs 18:10)
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. —Proverbs 18:10
For some of you that attended an evangelical church back in the 90's, the decade that exploded with contemporary Christian music, this verse may not have been hard to memorize. Why? There was a popular worship song called “Blessed be the Name of the Lord” by Clinton Utterbach which had this verse as its chorus. I have always found songs to be the best way for me to memorize a verse. In fact, I still remember many verses from my childhood when I would listen to “GT and the Halo Express” (amen anyone??), a cassette tape series of Bible verses put to song for kids.
It is often the case, unfortunately, that verses that we have had memorized for years begin to lose their meaning and impact on us. It has been repeated to us so many times that we have stopped meditating on the verse. That may be the case for some of you with this verse as it was for me. So let’s come at Proverbs 18:10 with fresh eyes and look at its context, ask some questions of it, and then apply it to our lives in a new way.
First let’s look at the verse’s context. Proverbs is a book that often has verses that stand on their own, but Proverbs 18:10 is in contrast to the next verse: Proverbs 18:11, “A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination.”
Compare the two verses. What do we see? We see in verses 10 and 11 that the righteous man and his strong tower are contrasted with the rich man and his strong city. The righteous man puts his security in the name of the Lord and the rich man puts his security in his wealth. The rich man’s security is all in his head though. It is a false fantasy not true to reality. Money is like water, no matter how much you have it will never be secure enough for you to stand on. True security, however, is found in the name of the Lord.
So that brings up a few questions. What is the name of the Lord? How can a name be a strong tower?
Names in the Bible often represent someone’s character or purpose. So what meaning is behind the name of the Lord, Yahweh? Exodus 34:5-7 gives us insight into this:
The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.
We see from here that when the Lord proclaimed his name, he declared some of the most essential character traits about himself that directly relate to us. He is merciful to us, gracious to us, slow to anger against us, etc.
So how is this name a strong tower for us? Think through this with me: these characteristics of God are our greatest security. Consider this:
Because God is merciful and forgiving, those who are in the strong tower of his name are safe from his punishment for sin.
Because God is gracious, those who are in the strong tower of his name are safe from the hopeless task of trying to earn salvation or blessing.
Because God is slow to anger, those who are in the strong tower of his name are safe from God’s wrath whimsically destroying them.
Because God is abounding in steadfast love, those who are in the strong tower of his name are safe from God’s love deserting them and receive God’s protection from enemies and provision for life and godliness.
Jesus, Our Strong Tower
So how do we run into this tower? We run by calling on the name of the Lord. Joel 2:32 says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” This verse is quoted by Paul in Romans 10:13, but Paul applies it to calling on Jesus as Lord! Romans 10:9 says, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” We run into this strong tower by calling out to God with our confession of sin and by believing in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Jesus is our strong tower. We are safe in him.
A mighty fortress is our God! A bulwark never failing.
Where have you placed your economic security? Your physical safety? Your relational security? Your salvation’s security?
How does God’s characteristic of abounding in steadfast love comfort you during hard economic times or in deciding to move into a dangerous mission field?
Do you feel like you are going in and out of this strong tower and have a hard time believing that once you are in Christ you are forever secure in him?