the strong tower of Proverbs 18
The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run in to it and are saved. Proverbs 18:10
I live in the Midwest where tornado season can run from April to October. Since a very young age, I have been terrified of storms that could breed tornadoes. In grade school, as soon as the season hit, we would practice tornado drills at school. That small drill led to weeks of nightmares for me.
When the tornado siren sounds, the best practice is to get to the lowest part of your home (basement preferably). If not a basement, then under the stairs or in the central portion of your home without windows. Ironically, with my fear of tornadoes, I’ve never been fortunate enough to live in a home with a basement. The bathtub has always been our go-to spot.
A couple years back there was talk of a storm brewing and it was projected to hit after dark, close to 8PM. I had been watching the reports all day, nervous to see how the storm would track.
Our neighbors across the street have a basement. She texted me and invited us over for a ‘storm party’ in their basement. As the air grew thicker and the sky looked more ominous, the tornado siren went off in town. We quickly gathered up blankets and flashlights and hustled across the street.
In that moment in time, our neighbor’s basement felt like a strong tower – the refuge we were running towards to be protected from the high winds. As we huddled in their basement, the kids played with their friends, almost forgetting the storm raging outside. And we were able to sit warm and dry while the storm passed through. I was so very grateful that the ‘strong tower’ was offered to me.
Another kind of refuge
In the Old Testament, during the time that the Israelites were settling into the Promised Land, there were designated places that people who were in trouble could run to be safe – cities of refuge. During this time, the law of the land was “eye for an eye.” If someone had killed another human, even on accident, the family of the slain could hunt down and avenge the death of their family member. However, if the alleged had killed someone on accident, there were the cities of refuge that the person could run to and be safe from the avenger.
The high priest of the Levites of that city would lead the congregation to judge with fairness to see if the person was free from malicious intent. If so, they could then live in that city of refuge until the priest of that city eventually died. At that time they could then return to their own home. If at any point before that they left the city, they would be open to the avenger’s right to kill them.
The true Strong Tower
Today, the strong tower of Proverbs 18:10 can speak comfort to us in a few different ways. This proverb was most likely written with knowledge of these cities of refuge. The author knew of the history of these cities and the value they held for those who were seeking freedom from retribution.
The cities of refuge can be an example of Christ, where we can find refuge from the enemy of our souls. Just like a person could seek refuge in the cities set up for that purpose, we can flee to Christ for refuge. We run to Jesus to escape the danger we are in from the curse and condemnation of the law, from the wrath of God, and from an eternity in hell. Only Christ provides refuge from these things, and it is to Him alone that we must run. Just as the cities were open to all who fled to them for safety, it is Christ who provides safety to all who come to Him for refuge from sin and its punishment.
Likewise, this proverbs can remind us of the refuge we can find in Jesus when we are seeking safety from a different kind of storm. Though we can’t physically run into “the name of the Lord,” we can still run to Him with our thoughts and heart. When the storms of life hit, threatening our safety, health, and relationships, we have the opportunity to turn our hearts and minds to the strong tower of God’s faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Though the storms may still rage on and Satan is still stirring up trouble, when we seek safety in the tower, we have a chance to rest in the comfort of knowing our Father is the one who can sustain us through it.
Father, thank you for being a strong tower of refuge. You stand firm and are not shaken by the storms of this life or the destroyer of our souls. You are constant, faithful, and always good. Because of this we know that we can turn to you for safety for our souls. We can run to you and be safe. Be my refuge now for the storms that threaten to overwhelm me. Be the safe refuge where I can rest and be revived.