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"The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination.” Proverbs 18:10-11 (ESV)
The world of the Bible could be divided into the open countryside and fortified cities. People living in the countryside were exposed to the dangers of thieves, roving bandits, and invading armies. When an alarm was sounded, people would scramble for safety to the fortified cities with their high walls, strong towers, and well-defended gates. You had to run quickly and get there before the gates were closed.
These verses ask us to reflect on where we find our sense of safety when the hazards of life come upon us. The “rich man,” Scripture says, trusts in his possessions. For him, possessions provide comfort and protection, security and provision.
Scripture’s judgment is clear: it’s all in his imagination. Believing that things other than God can make you safe is to buy into an illusion that can be shattered in an instant. Jesus makes this point about a rich man who trusted in his wealth. “You fool,” God tells him, “This very night your life will be demanded from you” (Luke 12:20).
The righteous person, however, trusts in God. In the face of difficulty, trial or danger, they run to God for safety. In Scripture, God’s “name” stands for His power and authority to act. In Him, His people find their fortified tower, well-defended by God our lover and redeemer. In Him, we are truly safe regardless of anything else that may invade our lives.
When difficulty or danger invades your life, where do you run?
Father, I’m sorry for all the “forts” that I have built around me with the illusion that they can offer more protection than You. I am sorry for all the time I’ve relied on my own efforts. Spirit, teach me to be more abandoned to the power of God’s Holy Name. I submit myself to you. Amen.
Write one thing that is causing you worry this summer. Is it the cost of your recent vacation? Or the cost of the vacation you know you can’t afford? Write this one thing on a sheet of paper.
The strong towers of our imagination have no safety to offer that can compare with what we have in God. Run to Him! Take refuge behind His gates. Find your place of lasting safety in His powerful name. Bring this sheet of paper to prayer and leave your worries there.