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Run to the Tower

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

Proverbs 18:10-11

10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;

the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

11 A rich man’s wealth is his strong city,

and like a high wall in his imagination.

Imagine you’re living in a simpler time when agriculture is the dominant occupation. It’s a beautiful fall day and you’re out in your little patch of land bringing in bushels of corn, beans and cucumbers. After the community is done harvesting and canning, you’ll all stand back and look at what is stored up for winter before celebrating together the prospect of being warm and well fed until next year!

Just then, you hear a distinct and ominous sound. It’s the long loud repeated blast of a trumpet signaling danger! You hurriedly hide what you can of your stores, but most importantly you grab your most precious things and call your family to follow you as you run toward the nearby fortress, making it inside just before the massive wood and iron doors are shut and barred. In ancient times, a well built fortress could withstand any physical attack and was largely vulnerable only to siege. As long as supplies inside outlasted the enemy's will to wait, those who made it in would survive unscathed.

Proverbs 18 uses that image to convey the ministry of God to our lives. The point made there is that The character of God offers the only real source of spiritual security. Each of those words is used for a reason, so let's consider them in turn.

1. God's character makes him a suitable refuge in times of crisis

As we have seen, the names of God are more than just labels to put on a nametag so that we might get a hold of the right person when we call. God's names point us to his nature and perfections, that is to say: His character. We've seen over the course of this study that He's:

· El Elyon, God Most High

· El Roi, the God who sees

· El Shaddai, God almighty

· Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts

· Jehovah Shalom, the Lord our peace

· Abba, Father

· And more...

All these things make him a suitable strong tower. Such fortifications were common in the ancient world. They served as a a gathering place for safety in times of danger, well stocked with abundant supplies and fortified against attack.

2. We must look to God rather than false sources of security

There are, of course, false alternatives that we often resort to in times of trouble and one of them is illustrated in verse 11:

11 A rich man’s wealth is his strong city,

and like a high wall in his imagination.

How often we are tempted to run to our wealth for protection, comfort or guidance in times of trouble! I personally find myself weighing the gravity of a situation by my ability to fix it. Sometimes that literally involves figuring out how much it will cost to make the problem go away, comparing that with our current resources and then determining how much of a problem it is based on the math! The truth is that we may feel quite well insulated from trouble in modern western society due to a good insurance plan or solid credit score. Nevertheless, the second half of verse 11 reminds us that money (or anything else we're trusting to make problems go away, even temporarily) is just an imagined security! You can have all the money in the world and your kids can stab you in the back. You can have plenty of money for retirement and the stock market can deplete your portfolio. You can be a major party donor and still find that they nominate a candidate that you disagree with. The only REAL source of security must be one that cannot fail.

3. We must understand our need for spiritual security

The third phrase responds to the question: Safe from what?

Our tendency is to primarily want PHYSICAL security. Just look at any church prayer sheet! Our requests and praises are largely related to physical needs. Certainly God is more than capable of doing such things and yet those are not the BEST things God can do. You will seek God, the strong tower, when you're motivated by righteousness. That is to say, when you long to be right with God and safe from spiritual dangers such as:

  • The danger of sinful complaining during times of difficulty

  • The danger of self-confidence that robs us of the joy of seeing God work, that puts unnecessary pressure on ourselves to perform, and that can lead to serious discouragement when we fail

  • The delusion of a false identity that will inevitably leave us feeling hurt or worthless when it’s gone or wounded.

  • The danger of loneliness and feeling forgotten

  • The danger of laziness that makes us useless and selfish

All of these things are things we need and that only God can provide. Going back to the image of a village under attack, how do you think it would turn out if, when the trumpet blew, they all just stayed put and kept gathering their crops, quilting their blankets or feeding their flocks rather than running to the fort? Obviously not well! And so we must take advantage of the protection God provides as well.

4. We must run to God for safety.

"A righteous man runs into it and is safe."

The way we run into the strong tower is to trust the Lord’s perfect character alone and to act accordingly.

Running implies a quick response: Don’t delay, turn immediately to Christ. Are you tempted with an impure or angry thought? Don’t play with it for ten minutes to see how serious it is, don’t vent it just a little or give it an inch but immediately turn your thoughts to God and his righteous character! Are you discouraged? Don’t wallow in self-pity until it’s no longer bearable, run immediately to Christ and trust his willing acceptance of you. Did you fail? Don’t try to clean yourself up first and THEN come talk to God about it, but run to him with nothing in your hands but a desire to be clean and He will wash you. Do you face an insurmountable task? Don’t try to accomplish it in your own strength and only later finally ask for help. Be humble enough to ask for help at the beginning. Run to the Lord, your strong tower, and you will never be turned away.

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