Have you ever heard of someone who lives in an “ivory tower”? That kind of image is often used to describe someone who is out of touch with reality. While they might be highly educated, they lack first-hand life experience.
The word “tower” occurs 50 times in the Bible, but never in that sense. The tower in the Bible refers to a military fortress. Cities had towers built into the corners of the wall as defensive fortifications. They also had a tower in the middle of the city as a final stronghold if the enemy was able to breech the outer wall. If you lived in a city in ancient Israel, these towers would be a daily visual reminder of a place of safety and security.
In today’s reading there are two proverbs that are intentionally paired with one another in verses 10–11. These two verses paint a contrasting picture between the righteous and the wealthy. Where do they turn for safety and security? For the righteous, “the name of the LORD is a fortified tower” (v. 10). They find their security and trust in God. When difficulties come, they know exactly where to go. They do not hesitate or wander between this tower and that one. Instead, they “run to it [the LORD] and are safe” (v. 10).
By contrast, the strong tower of the rich is often their wealth (v. 11). They “imagine it a wall too high to scale” (v. 11). The word “imagine” is the key one. They think their wealth will save them but it is no match for the kind of strong tower that the Lord provides. Not every wealthy person trusts in their riches instead of God. But trusting in wealth is a special challenge for those who have much (Matt. 19:23–24).
>> Take a few minutes and reflect on the image of God as a tower. Where do you run to for safety and security? When challenges come in life, do you run to the Lord?
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:1–2). More than any other power, we trust You, Lord.