‘The name of Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe’.
The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale’ Proverbs 18:10-11
These contrasting verses are powerful.
Today’s culture is based on ‘Comparison’, where success and status are often measured in monetary terms. Superficiality and materialism have become the idols and ideals of our time. Social media and branding perpetuates it. It is literally everywhere. Success tends to be measured by things of a fleeting transient nature and integrity seems to be a thing of the past. Deliberate misconception, deceiving imagery, and altered truth, are all used to further promote perceived success. Whether that be the latest makeup trend, the brand of the bag, the size of the ring, the design and palette of the house, ‘old money or new money?’, Instagram models, the status of the career… it is never ending.
The era of the fickle. #goals
Wealth, money and status have always been idolised to a degree. But with access to celebrity and ‘local celebrity’ being increasingly attainable, comparison is rife to a whole new level of extreme. Where once there may have been some level of polite discretion, in secular circles it has become acceptable to pass remark upon and judge the minute details of people’s finances, appearance, clothes, house, significant other – you name it.
This is so unhealthy.
It is a warped distortion of what is truly important and of worth. It is a twisted perception of where our focus should be directed.
I came across the above two verses from Proverbs a couple of months ago. They struck me at the time and continue to spring to mind every now and again. Here is my interpretation of them:
1. The name of the Lord is a fortified tower.
‘Fortified’ means that it is a protection; a defence against attack from the enemy. The name of Jesus, has this power. What a mighty God we serve. This is not a metaphorical or nice poetic line. This is factual truth. Factual, practical truth. The Lord’s name is a protection against spiritual warfare that is ongoing every day.
Therefore, protect yourself. Become righteous through Christ. Be strong in the Lord and put on His armour (see Ephesians 6). He is always your number one defence.
‘The righteous run to it and are saved’.
RUN to it! Running towards Him should always be your first port of call in any situation, for any decision, in good and in bad. Not just when under attack – always.
Be in a constant state of running towards the Lord.
2. The wealth of the rich is their fortified city.
Not tower, city. That puts into perspective how distorted this idea is. If the name of the Lord God Almighty, is a fortified tower – the Creator of the universe, all knowing, all powerful, all mighty God – how can a mere attribute such as wealth be deserving of the accolade, ‘fortified city’?
Clearly this is a nonsensical notion.
Unless the rich have their focus in the right place (on God), they may see their wealth as a fortified city. Wealth that provides them with protection and defence of great magnitude. So much so, that ‘they imagine the walls too high to scale’.
The dangerous idea of invincibility.
The devil has managed to cultivate the very common mindset that by accruing lots of wealth, power and societal status, we secure ourselves to an impenetrable degree. We are protected. And it can seem that way. The wealthy are more than comfortable. They can be treated as gods, corruption is overlooked, freebies and allowances flow readily, massaging of the ego, ‘ask and it is given’, and fear, intimidation, and awe in the face of it.
This idea that wealth equals power; wealth equals entitlement.
Because of all this, wealth can equal forgetting that one needs God. It leads to the idea of self-sufficiency, independence, and autonomy from any one or any being.
Where is your focus?
‘Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honour’ Proverbs 18:12
If your focus is on God as your fortified tower, wealth may come and go, power and status may fluctuate, your possession of nice material things may rise and fall. However, you will stay steady throughout it all.
Why? You will know that your identity, your worth, lies in your relationship with Christ. You will understand how this cannot be bought and cannot be sold. It is a constant. Yes, worldly things can bring joy and fun and comfort. But only your relationship with Him brings true depth of peace, and wholeness of joy.
If you imagine your wealth as a fortified city whose walls are too high to scale, what happens when one of those blocks crumbles? Panic. Stress. Shame. Embarrassment. A sense of unworthiness. Inner crumbling.
Do not place your worth in your wealth. If your foundation is fickle, you are vulnerable to dissolution.
‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ Matthew 6:19-21
Trust that He will provide for your needs. Practice humility. It is not wrong to be wealthy or to enjoy the nice things God has blessed you with. But see it for what it is. Not a measure of entitlement or superiority, not an indication of self attained success, but a blessing from God. He blessed you with gifts and talents. He blessed you with ambitions and dreams. He blessed you with ideas and capabilities. He blessed you with your successes.
Use His blessings, to further the kingdom of God. Your wealth and richness of skills, talents, gifts, and resources. What is yours is His, and comes from Him.
Worship the One who sustains you. Leave pride and judgement aside. Be grateful. He alone sustains you. He alone is reliable. He is steady and will not fail you.
‘No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money’ Matthew 6:24
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower. The righteous run to it AND ARE SAVED.