“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” Proverbs 18:10
I love the imagery found in this verse: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower.” It makes me think of fairy tales—a giant, cylindrical fortress rising into the sky. I imagine a tiny door at the base, almost invisible to the naked eye. I run to that door, open it and quickly slam it behind me. Perfect stillness floods the inside. I look out the window to see what’s been chasing me, but I can no longer be harmed. I am completely protected.
Many times in my life, I have needed a strong tower. In the face of great danger, whether real or imagined, I have shouted my Lord’s name and run into the safety of His protection. When I was sexually assaulted, I ran in. When my marriage was in ruins, I ran in. When my 2-year-old wouldn’t stop screaming, I ran in. When anxiety seemed to choke the life out of me, I ran in. In His name there is peace and security.
But there’s another image of protection in Scripture: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:10-11). Very often, after I’ve run into the tower and found peace, I see the armor laid before me. He has provided me armor so that I may actively do battle with the enemy.
His armor offers absolute protection: helmet, breastplate, belt, shoes, shield and sword. Our minds need protecting (the helmet), as well as our hearts (the breastplate). The belt and shoes ready us for forward motion, and the shield creates a barrier against the enemy’s fire. Finally, the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God—our only necessary weapon for battle.
The strong tower is a gift—a place of healing and safety. But the armor is also a gift—an opportunity to strike against the enemy in the power of His name. His armor empowers me to put to death the shame of past abuse. It enables me to fight for the restoration of my marriage. It protects me from discouragement as I parent through another long day of toddlerhood. It emboldens me to cast my anxieties on the Lord.
Some of us who are dealing with pain and sin are not willing to put on our spiritual armor. We simply want the Lord to fight all our battles for us. Wisdom lies in knowing when to rest and knowing when to fight. God promises to fight for us, and also to equip and empower us to fight as well. Only in battle do we discover what Paul means when he prays: “…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). I cannot understand His power or His suffering if I’m only resting in the tower. I have to step into battle, just as Christ did.
Passivity cloaked as resting is not acceptable, nor is vain human effort cloaked as armor-clad sanctification. Do I rest in the strong tower of His name when the battle is not mine to fight? Am I willing to put on the full armor of God to stand against the enemy when it’s time to fight? The One who faithfully provides the tower also faithfully provides the armor. May I avail myself of both to the glory of His name.