For us the word tower brings different things to mind than it did for God’s people in ages past. There are towers today. Radio towers dot the landscape spreading cellphone coverage over the country. The cityscape is dominated by skyscrapers housing offices and businesses. Go to one of today’s major cities, and you can likely visit a special tower erected as a monument to some important event or person. Few towers today serve the purpose they had in the past.
The first mention of a tower in the Bible is not a favorable mention. This tower came to be called “Babel.” It started as the project of man’s pride; the icon of man’s first unified effort to build the antichristian kingdom. Its builders refused to obey God’s command to spread out over the earth. They congregated on the plains of Shinar to build a city “and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name” (Gen. 11:4). God “came down” to see man’s puny tower (Gen. 11:5). God sovereignly overthrew their rebellion. With the miraculous confusing of tongues, the Lord dispersed the people, and dealt the beast a deadly wound that shall not be healed till the very last days. The first tower thus became an enduring icon of Antichrist’s sure defeat and the church’s sure salvation.
Hereafter in the Bible, tower represents a place of refuge and safety. A tower is a strong stone fortification jutting upward from the walls of a city or stronghold. The tower’s purpose was to provide protection from enemy attacks. From its high vantage point watchmen could alert the city of approaching threats, as the guard on the tower of Jezreel did when he spied the company of Jehu, driving furiously, to execute the Lord’s judgment on Ahab’s house (II Kings 9:17, 20). Sheltered behind its stone walls, a city’s defenders were kept out of reach of enemy swords and shielded from enemy arrows. From their tower, defenders could fend off enemies stronger and more numerous. In times of dire need, the city’s tower was a last resort for a besieged people. It was in a strong tower that the people of Thebez took refuge, when Abimelech, Gideon’s renegade son, invaded their city (Judges 9:50). At the foot of that tower Abimelech met his end, stricken by a millstone a townswoman cast from the parapet.
Yet, for all its strength, no man-made tower can ever provide certain protection or a perfect refuge. Judah learned this when Jerusalem’s mighty walls and many towers fell before the Babylonians (Is. 30:25).
Therefore, God’s people must not put their trust in princes, or horses, or towers, but only in the name of their God! Jehovah alone is our refuge and strength (Ps. 46:1). The Bible often calls God the tower of His people. The tower is a comforting picture of our covenant God and His care for us. David, in his song of thanksgiving recorded in II Samuel 22, sings of the Lord, “my rock…my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence” (II Sam. 22:3). The song ends: “He is the tower of salvation for his king” (II Sam. 22:51). Jehovah is our “high tower” that lifts us above our foes and keeps us safe (Ps. 18:2). When we are overwhelmed, the “rock that is higher than I” is our refuge; the rock who is “a shelter for me” and “a strong tower from the enemy” (Ps. 61:2-3); “My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust” (Ps. 144:2).
This is our God! Before the mountains were brought forth, from everlasting to everlasting Jehovah is God. His everlasting arms are beneath us. His glorious attributes are like solid stones making up the strong high tower in which we have eternal refuge, safety, and salvation. He has founded His church upon Christ the chief Cornerstone. He has given her the spiritual bulwark of His Word. “Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof” (Ps. 48:12). The gates of hell cannot prevail against the church whose strong tower is the Lord.
So beautifully, then, does the inspired writer put it in Proverbs 18:10: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” The name of the Lord. The name Jehovah.
Ultimately, the name Jesus, Jehovah’s salvation, is our strong tower, our tower of salvation. The name of Jesus is the one name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Through His atoning death and His perfect obedience Jesus has become the tower that shelters us from the holy wrath of God against sin. Jesus is the tower that delivers us from eternal death and preserves us unto eternal life.
Dear believer, the name of Jesus is your strong tower. There is safety and salvation nowhere else. Look nowhere else. Forsake all—human help, your works, everything—and by faith run to Him and find your refuge in Him alone. Run to Him every day. Run to Him in all your trials and tribulations. Run to Him in your battle with sin. Run to Him for the forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, and salvation. Jesus Christ is your tower. In Him you are safe!