by Liz Curtis Higgs
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10
If you live in the United States, you’ve probably seen yellow-and-black signs posted outside schools, fire stations, libraries, and other public buildings with these two words printed on them: Safe Place. Troubled or at-risk youth will find a safe haven there, as well as practical help and people who care.
You and I have a safe place too. A refuge, a sanctuary, where we can run for protection from the Enemy and seek direction from God. The sign we look for? His name. It’s a tower stronger than any man-made fortress and large enough to see from a distance, even if we’ve lost our way.
The name of the Lord . . . Proverbs 18:10
Christians may call Him “Adonai” (CJB) or “Jehovah” (ASV), even “Yahweh” (HCSB), but our devout Jewish friends are more likely to say “The Shem of Hashem” (OJB). Literally, “The Name of The Name,” meant to fill His people with awe.
Religious Jews do not speak or spell out the proper name of God. Rather, YHWH is used, derived from the Hebrew word havah, meaning “to be,” in past, present, and future tense. The amazing truth wrapped up in His holy name is that God tran¬scends time. He exists then, exists now, and exists forever—simultaneously—a reality our finite human minds can’t truly grasp. Perhaps that’s why He gives us a powerful image of something we can see and touch, something solid and immovable.
. . . is a fortified tower; . . . Proverbs 18:10
His name is a “strong tower” (ASV), an eternal “fortress” (TLB), a “sturdy watchtower” (VOICE). His name will never fail. His name will never be defeated. His name will never be reduced to rubble. That’s why His name instills confidence. It is strong enough, “mighty” (CEV) enough, to provide “a place of protection” (MSG) for those who love Him.
. . . the righteous run to it . . . Proverbs 18:10
We’re righteous only because we are “in right standing with God” (AMPC) and are “his people” (CEV). He has chosen us—a truth that continues to astound me every day of my life. We are “the just” (DRA) only because He justifies us. We “do what is right” (ERV) only because His Spirit makes doing the right thing possible. His strong tower of a name is “where the righteous can go” (GNT).
You may be wondering how, exactly, do we run to a name? Here are three ideas to consider.
Speak His name. A shout or a whisper, whatever fits your situation. Do it aloud. Do it expectantly. Just voicing the name of Jesus makes me feel stronger, safer, calmer.
Bill and I were driving through an ice storm several Decembers ago when our car suddenly began to spin out of control on the busy highway. You’d better believe I called out His name! About fifty times, begging for His protection. Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! As if in slow motion, we spun through traffic without hitting any other cars and ended up on the broad shoulder of the road without a bruise or a dent. I call that a miracle. And a definite answer to prayer.
Open His Word. In America we have the freedom to buy the Bible, read the Bible, quote the Bible, teach the Bible. His Word is always available to us—on our computers, on our phones, on our nightstands, on our hearts. By running to His Word, we are running into His embrace.
Turn to your favorite book—Psalms, the gospel of John, Romans, Ephesians, 1 John. God will guide you. Now ask Him for whatever you need. Peace? Mercy? Strength? Assurance? Forgiveness? Love? You’ve come to the right place. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Ps. 46:1)
Seek His church. Since He wants us to “flee to Him” (VOICE), that could include a house of worship and the people there who serve God. How do you know you’ve found the right church? If its members welcome you when you’re in trouble, afraid, hurting, in need, confused, or on the run, that’s the place you want to be. Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” (Mt. 9:12)
A church is meant to be an infirmary, a hospital, a place where sick people get well. A refuge for the poor, not a resort for the rich. Beautiful to God, rather than merely beautiful to look at. A sanctuary in the truest sense.
. . . and are safe. Proverbs 18:10
Safe is definitely good.
But the original Hebrew gives us a clearer picture. It means “inaccessibly high.” An out-of-reach place where the Enemy cannot touch you—“above danger” (CJB) and “above evil” (AMP). What a visual! When you run to the Lord, you are literally “raised up” (JUB) and “set safely on high” (NET). I’m reminded of my big brother, Tom, carrying me around on his shoulders when I was a toddler. I was high above the floor yet utterly safe in his care as I squealed with delight.
Maybe you’re familiar with the contemporary praise song “The Name of the Lord Is a Strong Tower.” It’s been running through my head while we’ve been chatting here. This proverb might also remind you of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” a hymn written by Martin Luther nearly five centuries ago. Such music stirs our souls, and the lyrics lift our hearts. But The Name of The Name is what keeps us safe.
Heavenly Father, You are indeed a mighty fortress. Bless You for holding me up when I feel defeated and holding me close when I feel forgotten and keeping me safe when I feel threatened and keeping me calm when I feel scared.
Liz Curtis Higgs has one goal: to help women embrace the grace of God with joy and abandon. She is a Bible teacher and the author of more than 30 books with 4.6 million copies in print, including her latest book, 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path. Liz is also the author of the bestsellers Bad Girls of the Bible, The Girl’s Still Got It, The Women of Christmas and The Women of Easter.