If you live in the U.S., you’ve probably seen yellow-and-black signs posted outside schools, fire stations, libraries, and other public buildings, with these two words: Safe Place. Troubled youth can find a safe haven there, as well as practical help and people who care.
You and I have a Safe Place too, beloved. A refuge, a sanctuary, where we can run for protection from our enemy, and seek direction from a God who cares.
The sign we look for? His Name. A tower that’s 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 is a fortified tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10
The name of the Lord…
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,” since in Hebrew, shem means“name” (and rhymes with it as well).
The Jewish website, aish.com, helps us understand the magnitude of God’s Name and the respect He deserves. In fact, observant Jews do not speak the name of God, YHWH, derived from the Hebrew word hayah, meaning “to be,” in past, present, and future tense.
The amazing truth wrapped up in that Name? God transcends time.
He exists then, exists now, and exists forever—simultaneously. Since that reality is more than our finite human minds can truly grasp, religious Jews believe His Name is not to be spoken. Saying just “The Name” is meant to fill His people with awe and keep them humble, lest His power and authority be minimized.
…is a fortified tower;…
Ah, but God never trembles. He cannot be shaken.
Even these impressive Scottish tower houses can’t capture the kind of “strong tower” (ASV) we’re talking about in Scripture. Although each one has stood for centuries, the Lord’s Name is an eternal “fortress” (TLB), a “sturdy watchtower” (VOICE).
His Name will never fall. 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…
We’re righteous not because we are Good Girls, but because we are “in right standing with God” (AMP). We are “his people” (CEV). He has chosen us—a fact 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).
So, how do we run to a name, exactly?
We speak His Name.
A shout or a whisper, whatever fits your situation. Do it aloud. Do it expectantly. Just voicing the name Jesus makes me feel stronger, safer, calmer.
We open His Word.
Turn to your favorite book. (Some of mine are Psalms, the Gospel of John, Romans, Ephesians, 1 John 1.) God will guide you. Ask Him for whatever you need. Peace? Mercy? Strength? Assurance? Forgiveness? Love? You’ve come to the right place.
Here are three gems from Psalm 46:
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:7
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
We seek His Church.
Since He wants us to “flee to Him” (VOICE), that could include a house of worship. More likely it means the people who serve God there.
How do you know you’ve found the right church? If they make you welcome 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” (Matthew 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.
Father, it’s hard to write those words. Our churches are beautiful to us.
But are they beautiful to You?
…and are safe.
“Safe” is definitely good. But the Hebrew, sagab, gives us a clearer picture. It means “inaccessibly high,” a place where the enemy of your soul cannot touch you—“above danger” (CJB) and “above evil” (AMP).
What a visual! When you run to the Lord, you are “exalted” (GNV), literally “raised up” (JUB), and “set safely on high” (NET). Like when my big brother carried me on his shoulders. I was so high up, yet utterly safe in his care, as I squealed with delight.
Maybe you sing “The Name of the Lord Is a Strong Tower” as a praise song at your church. It’s been running through my head the whole time I’ve been writing. Or this proverb might remind you of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” a hymn written by Martin Luther nearly five centuries ago.
The music stirs our souls. The words lift our hearts.
But The Name of The Name is what keeps us safe.
You are indeed a mighty fortress, Lord. Bless you for holding us up when we feel defeated and holding us close when we feel forgotten.
Now it’s your turn
- I suggested we can speak His name, open His Word, and seek His Church. How else might we run into His strong tower?
Thanks so much for celebrating my birthday with me last week…and studying Proverbs with me this summer!
Your sister, Liz