I have to admit that over the last several weeks, I have become an expert or junky, depending on your perspective, as to how this virus has changed our lives. I have become a news junky. I watch every press conference regarding the pandemic, and I consume endless hours of the talking heads.
Not only that, but I have become a financial guru. I check the stock market religiously to see if my interests are gaining or losing steam. I am reading what the Fed is doing at every single moment and understanding their moves. Who am I kidding? I don’t understand them. But I want to desperately.
I have learned the exquisite art of shopping for whatever is out there. I roll down the aisle grabbing things I never thought I would grab. My last shopping excursion, I scored some Hormel Chili. Like ancient man, I will provide for my family. And then there is Netflix. I have probably seen my fair share of movies as I have had to hunker down in my proverbial bunker.
As I have done all this, I have realized how little I control. I cannot control the Dow, the government, hospital policy, Netflix shows, food aisle or anything for that matter. This virus has brought about the stark reality that I control so little. That realization is utterly frightening.
This virus will pass, but there will be other situations that drive us to our knees and starkly remind us that we control so little. Another financial crisis, another war, another dark night of the soul. So whether it is this moment or another on a future day, what should we consider when we have lost all hope or control over a life we thought we had all together?
Well, one of my favorite proverbs in the Bible is:
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination (Proverbs 18:10-11, ESV).
Now, let’s just consider briefly this image that the writer would bring to our minds. Let’s start with the negative in verse 11. A rich man depends on his strength. That is really what he is saying. He is dependent on his own resources, and the proverb writer tells us that the strength he finds in that is a figment of his imagination.
We are actually seeing that play out in real time. Our economy, our political system, our health can all unravel quickly. It has taken roughly two weeks for life to be turned into chaos. I never would have believed it, but truly all those things we thought brought us security have been revealed as fraudulent. This is what the writer means in verse 11. But he does not leave us with bad news. He starts the proverb with overwhelming hope.
The writer tells us that the name of the Lord is a strong tower. The reason he writes this way is it is a personal revelation. The “name of the Lord” is his way of saying that the revealed character of the Lord that you are personally acquainted with is a strong tower. So, what does a strong tower represent?
A strong tower in ancient times would have been a sign of strength. When you went up against a city with a strong tower, it would be almost impossible to win the battle. The strong tower would be heavily fortified and it would be impenetrable. These would be two things that would give you an advantage. Our God has the strength to overcome. He was not caught off-guard by your situation. He even empathizes with you in your pain. You serve a God of strength and might, and nothing can defeat him.
In ancient times, a strong town would be a safe haven. If you were out in a field tending to your crops and a band of marauders came to rob you and enslave you, running to a strong tower would keep you safe. You would be offered protection until the threat was over.
Now, I am not saying that you will not get the virus if you are a believer. I am not saying that everything will turn out fine for you. But I do know that I can rest, because I know nothing escapes the gaze of God. You may feel out of control, but God doesn’t. His plans will not be thwarted. You can safely rest in his sovereignty. What he has said about your eternal future is safely guarded for you (1 Peter 1:4).
Have you ever been near a high-security military post? What do they have looking into the night? They have sentries or watchmen in a tower looking for potential threats. It would have been the same in ancient times. A strong tower would help see threats long before they ever reached the people.
Now, how does this deal with God in this current moment? It is simple. God saw this coming, and if He saw this coming, then He has a plan for you. The plans of the enemy will be destroyed because our strong tower has seen every attack coming, and He will not let you wither in the midst of it. He knows the enemy’s next several moves, and he knows your next moves in your life.
These are just a few things that come to mind. Knowing that I have a strong tower that is safe and secure gives me great hope. I do not have to be afraid of anything, because my hope is secure.