I remember a time walking downtown Kitchener on a Saturday afternoon. It was partly cloudy out with a bit of sun breaking through. Then all of a sudden the sky turned dark…really dark! The wind picked up very quickly, and it started raining really hard, and then simultaneously, it began to hail. Stinging little bits of ice, bouncing off the sidewalk and my face meant one thing: this sudden storm could be a tornado. The sky went from dark gray to an eerie green. I needed to find shelter real quick! I took cover in the first open door I found – running into a small store with a large window view of the torrent unfolding before me. I was in there for about 15 minutes, in awe of the power of this deluge, causing traffic lights and signs to twist violently in the wind. And then… it was over! The sky cleared, enough for the sun to poke through one solitary ray. The darkness was gone! Disaster was averted! As quickly as it came, it left. A little wet, but unscathed, I was thankful for the small shelter into which I was able to run.
Reading through Proverbs 18, I was reminded of this memory when I got to verse 10. “The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.” The Name of the Lord and The Lord are synonymous. When one thinks of His name, whether Jehovah, Yahweh, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Adonai, one thinks of power and might, sovereignty, all-knowing, ever-present, able and strong; deliverer, protector, provider, sustainer, rescuer, refuge; merciful, loving, compassionate, and the list goes on. If ever there is someone you want on your side, to fight your battles, and defend you from the myriad of problems and storms we face, it is the Lord! This proverb affirms that we, the righteous, can run to our Father for deliverance. What a picture of running into Him! Not just to Him, but into the shelter of His embrace, secure in His arms. This is the heritage of His children.
Those who don’t know Father God as we do, don’t depend on Him, they depend on their own ability and resources to deliver themselves. They believe their wealth will protect them as a “fortified city”, but the reality is, it is no protection at all, but a mere figment of their imagination (18:11). Friends, this is such a true statement, one I have seen many times – the rich trusting in their wealth to save them. Some people sadly "imagine" that money can buy them whatever they want. What a lie! This is a clear demonstration of pride in action: man trusting in himself and his own abilities, will be his downfall (18:12). We are witnessing this in our present day, as humanity tries to get itself out of this pandemic, instead of turning to the Lord!
God is our refuge and strength! This is what Solomon declares in this proverb. Where did he learn this? From his father David who wrote, “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.(Psalm 18:2) and “The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
The Hebrew word “stronghold” means a fortress, a place or means of safety and protection. The image is so clear. In order to avail oneself of the benefits of a fortress, one has to be inside it. How do we get inside the Lord our God? By faith in Jesus Christ. We trust Him with our lives, the same way the world trusts money to save them. We acknowledge that we cannot save ourselves, and we trust in God’s saving work in Christ. I again think of Noah who fled to the Ark for refuge and safety from the flood; or David who ran to the cave for protection from the crazy madman chasing him; or the disciples who turn to Jesus to get through the storm.
In what or who do you put your faith? May it be in our Strong Tower, who lifts you up above the storms of life to give you a picture of a better future! What a great image! A strong tower that withstands any assault on it. A high tower that gives you an advantage over your enemy and allows you a greater view to see the attack coming so you can prepare – a picture of discernment, spiritual revelation and understanding that is only found through relationship with Christ.
I can’t help but notice “fortified city” repeated again in verse 19 (see NIV). When someone is “offended”, they create a wall around themselves, locking themselves in and away not only from others, but even God, who should be their fortification. Pride is at the root of any offence. Pride is manifested by self-dependence, and self-protection – “I don’t need anyone to help me; I can do it myself!” A proud person thinks they know it all, and often "disputes" with others till they win the argument. Pride pushes people away; humility allows relationships to blossom in "honor". Proverbs 18:12 clearly exhorts the proud person to humble him/herself, or that pride will lead to a “downfall”.
Humble yourself before your God, and acknowledge you need Him, and He will lift you up into the tower of refuge. Run to Him and be safe! Trust Him to rescue you from any storm you face.
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