“The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”
Looking ahead into the year 1968!
What do you see?
Are you inclined to be optimistic? Or, do you feel rather pessimistic about it?
We realize, of course, that the terms “optimism” and “pessimism” are philosophical terms, the former being the belief that this world is the very best possible and that the good will ultimately triumph over the evil,—it is the tendency to take the most hopeful and cheerful view of matters that lie in the future; while the latter is the belief that the existing world is the worst possible, that the evil in life outweighs the good,—and it has the tendency to expect the worst and see only the dark side of everything. It is not our intention to philosophize or have you to be philosophical about it. We have very little interest in the philosophy of the world!
Nor is our question directed to the children of this world! There can be no doubt that. among them the above philosophy will run wild as they, too, are faced with this new era of time. For you see, they are without God, and have no prophetic Word to guide them. All they can do is guess, and hope, for the best. And at the beginning of a new year they either optimistically set their hope on the great unknown, believing that somehow they will gain greater and higher goals which they failed to attain in the year passed; or, sizing up the present economy and the world situation, may pessimistically expect the worst to happen. They are without God and without hope in the world! Rather, our question is directed to you, child of God!
What do you see that lies ahead? Are you inclined to be optimistic about it? Or, is all you see framed in black?
If it is the former, it will be only because you remember the promises of God, and, with the prophetic Word before you, you see vistas of hope, horizon lights that streak the passing night which tell you the eternal day is about to dawn! You believe that the year 1968 can only make the night pass more quickly, and hasten the time when the City of God shall descend from heaven, in which there shall be no night, where your inheritance is, and where every tear shall be wiped away from your eyes.
On the other hand, if it is the latter, if what you see lying ahead in 1968 is framed in black, it is not, nor should it be because you are pessimistic; but you are still looking at all things in the light of God’s prophetic Word. Then the days are not rosy and cheerful, but terribly dark. For though we have passed into a new era of time, we are still in the same old world; the world that is steeped in sin and iniquity, which is fast developing to make the cup of iniquity full. The prophetic Word informs you that the world of lust and hate, in which there are wars and rumors of war, in which the man of sin must soon appear who will persecute you to the death, who will see to it that you can neither buy or sell without the mark of the beast, in which the judgments of God in nature shall increase. . .in that world you sojourn!
Taking all that into consideration, what will you do? Where will you go?
The answers are all bound up in the Word of God, cited above!
The name of the Lord is a strong tower!
The righteous runneth into it, and is safe!
The name of the Lord!
A strong tower!
Figurative language! Solomon has in mind undoubtedly the figure of an ancient city. In olden times practically every city was surrounded with high walls. These walls were high, and I deep enough to protect the inhabitants within the city from the wild beasts, from the enemies that might at any time attack the city. On the top of these walls there were often towers built which were supplied with weapons of war, as swell as with food and water to carry them through a siege. From these towers the men of the city could not only spy out the approaching enemies, but also shoot out their arrows and stop the attack. In still earlier times, and in smaller cities there could be found only a tower. The defenders then would fight out in the open field, and when the battle became, too hot for them, they would run into the tower for safety.
It can easily be understood that a city was no stronger than its tower. The inhabitants were as secure as the tower was strong.
The figure of the tower points to a reality which becomes an object of trust. It makes no difference what that object may be, whatever becomes an object of trust or a place of Safety is at the same time a tower. Indeed, there are many such towers! In the verse that follows our text, we read: “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city.” He trusts in his gold, his carnal and material possessions. The money is to him a medium of carnal security. It will save him in the time of depression and economic disturbance. Another’s tower is his good name and reputation. With it he establishes credit, he procures, a better job,—in this tower of a good name he finds his impregnable fortress. Still another has the tower of good works, in which he feels secure for time and eternity. Still others have their children, their government, and even their church as their towers of safety.
The Word of God knows of and presents to, us only one strong tower of safety! I All other towers must crumble and fall. The tower of wealth disintegrates and falls under the attack of depressions and bank moratoriums. The tower of a good name breaks when one public sin is committed. The tower of good works will certainly not keep you in the judgment day. There is only one strong tower,—the Name of Jehovah!
Jehovah! That is the Name of the Lord mentioned in the original text.
The Unchangeable, Covenant God! The “I AM THAT I AM” which indicates that He is eternal, without beginning or end. The Rock!
Everywhere is the Name Jehovah revealed. All creation together utters and reveals His Name. The heavens declare His glory, and the firmament showeth His handiwork. The mountains tell of His power and majesty. The birds and beasts express His praise. Centrally the eternal, infinitely wise God, Jehovah, has willed to reveal His Name in His Son, our Savior, Whose birth we lately celebrated. The Name Jesus means: Jehovah is salvation. That is the Name that is attached to the cross of Calvary, and which rises from the tomb in Joseph’s garden. In that Name He ascended to the right hand of the Father, and returned in the Spirit. It is that Name that is engraved in the infallible Scriptures, and by His grace in our hearts. It is this Name that is written over all the greater and lesser catastrophes of life, and in all the current events of our time: in war and famine, in earthquake and tornado, and all their attending miseries you see the revelation of the Name of our God, Jehovah, Who does all His good-pleasure.
A strong tower!
Into which the righteous flee!
Not all will run into this tower! The fool and the ungodly build their own towers. Like the tower builders at Babel, they would build themselves a name, and exalt themselves unto the heavens, in defiance of the living God, and in the hope of dragging Him from His throne. And as at Babel, Jehovah brings to confusion all the tower builders, with their towers. The ungodly cannot and will not flee to the strong tower. He has not the right to flee there, for he has not the password which would allow him to enter. He wills not to flee there, because he is an enemy of Jehovah. He cannot flee there, because God is his enemy.
Only the righteous runners enter it and are safe! Not righteous are they in and of themselves; for of themselves they confess that they are sinners, are most unworthy because of their sin. By grace they are the weary and heaven laden with the knowledge of guilt, while they hunger and thirst after the righteousness of their Redeemer. The righteous are they who have been justified by Jehovah in the cross of Christ. They are the recipients of that faith through which they are made righteous and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The righteous run into the Tower!
That the righteous run implies, first of all, that there, is occasion for running. Though the text does not state what the occasion is, we may safely conclude that it is because they are righteous. Because they are righteous they experience besides the common perplexities and trials of life the persecution of the world and the powers of evil. They have no, strength of their own to stand over against that evil. They have no weapons of their own to make them invincible in the face of the enemy. In themselves they cannot stand a moment, if they were to stand alone. They must flee for safety always to the Tower. That the righteous run, implies in the second place, that they are not carried into the tower. When they are redeemed and made righteous in the blood of Christ, they are also made spiritually active. When Jehovah works in them their salvation, they work it out; though it be with fear and trembling. Indeed, we have here a beautiful picture of the effectual working of the Spirit of God in the righteous. He is instructed in the Name of Jehovah by the Word of God. He seeks to know, to confess, to glorify that Name of God. And he runs by faith into the tower of that Name of Jehovah. This implies that he knows the tower, he knows its strength. It implies also that he has cast off all his own weapons. And it implies that he runs with all his might.
And he is safe!
A safe retreat is that Name of Jehovah!
For in it the righteous is raised far above the heads of all his enemies. In it he will be supplied with all that is necessary to fight in the battle of Jehovah. In that Tower is the Bread of Life and the Water of Life. Garrisoned there is the clothing of righteousness, and all of the weapons of our warfare: the sword of the Spirit, the breastplate of righteousness, and all the rest. There in that tower he will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.
Run then, ye beloved righteous, into the Tower of Jehovah’s Name!
Do that also in the year 1968, when the black clouds of evil lower. Attempt not to stand in the battle in your own strength, and least of ail, do not follow the example of the world and think to build your own tower of safety.
Rather, run into the Tower!
Hide yourself in this impregnable Rock of Safety, and you shall never be ashamed!
Indeed, a safe retreat!