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 anyone who attended an evangelical church in the 1990's—the decade that exploded with contemporary Christian music—this verse may not have been hard to memorize. “Blessed be the Name of the Lord,” a popular worship son, had this verse as its chorus. I have always found songs to be the best way 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 music for kids.
Unfortunately, it's often the case that verses we have had memorized for years begin to lose their meaning and impact on us. We've repeated them so many times that we stop meditating on them. Has that happened for you with this verse, the way it did for me?
Let’s look with fresh eyes at Proverbs 18:10 in context, ask some questions of it, and then apply it to our lives in a new way.
A Contrast in Strengths
Many of the verses in Proverbs stand on their own, but Proverbs 18:10 is set in contrast with the verse that follows: “A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination.”
Compare the two verses. 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, though, is all in his head. It is a 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 is found only in the name of the Lord.
The Meaning of The Name
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. What meaning is behind the name of the Lord, Yahweh? Exodus 34:5-7 gives us insight:
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.
When the Lord proclaimed His name, He declared some of His most essential character traits, traits that directly relate to us. He is merciful to us, gracious to us, slow to anger against us. How is this name a strong tower for us? These characteristics of God are our greatest security. Consider:
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 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.
Safe in Christ
How do we run into this tower? By calling on the name of the Lord. Joel 2:32 says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Paul quotes this verse in Romans 10:13 and 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.
We can celebrate the glorious truths of Scripture by singing them. When it comes to Proverbs 18:10, we can sing with Martin Luther, A mighty fortress is our God! A bulwark never failing.
Where have you placed your economic security? Your physical safety? Your relational security? Your security for salvation?
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?
Consider God’s character—His faithfulness and abounding steadfast love—and take comfort in Him.