Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Tower


The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
Proverbs 18:10
Old TowerWe all live in a tower. Unfortunately for many it's the wrong tower. Their tower is self-made. Its windows can not be curtained or even shut to prevent the uninvited. Its roof leaks. Its foundations have crumbled and cooperate with the forces against it. But there is another tower in which to live - a "strong" tower. It is sealed from hazards. It shelters in all conditions. Its foundations are unshakeable and immovable. It resists all threats. Believers are invited to take up residence in it however too few take up the offer and as a result end up feeling beaten and constantly attacked.
for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.

Psalms 61:3
Tower in fieldWe all live in a tower. But whose? To my great shame, I have lived for too many periods outside of the Tower. One of the towers I built was founded on self-confidence. At the time I justified it because I had been put-down so many times throughout my life that I felt it reasonable to be my own cheer-squad. But it was a pretty ugly and a most unsafe tower. I thought it would protect me against my insecurities. I discovered that it was never going to. It had a paint job that Gary Larsen would be proud of (if you're familiar with his Far Side comics and the poor deer born with a bulls-eye birth-mark).

Bummer of a birthmark HalOther towers I have built have been built far away from people - because people had hurt me. But no sooner had I finished them when they too crumbled. I could go on and bore you with a catalogue of my failed tower constructions over the years - such as My Work Gives Me IdentityMy Toys Make Me HappyI Want To Be Popular And Liked By All, and so on. These towers don't provide security. They don't guard. They actually attract the very things you're trying to hide from.
The Psalmist reminds me that God is The Tower. A Tower was a place of safety and refuge. It was built to withstand assaults. But it was also the place that gave a vantage point over a situation. Living the Tower gives you a different vision of your circumstances. For the Christian to live in the Tower means that we take refuge in what God says - not our enemies who rail against outside our Tower. They hurl doubt, insult, ridicule, attempts to divide and all manner of other distractions. Against the backdrop of all this clamour we can only the Lord speak to us through His Word and Spirit - "Lo, I am with you always...", "No weapon formed against you can prosper...", "Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world..." 
And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, "Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people."Acts 18:9-10
Outside the Tower confusion reigns. Inside the Tower Christ reigns. Where Christ reigns there is peace (this is how you can tell that you are in the Tower). When you enjoy the peace of God your trust in the Lord is quiet. You don't need the Spirit of God continually speaking to you when you live in the Tower. God's peace often like quietness not constant reassurance.
"In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength..."
Isaiah 30:15
What's knocking at the door of your tower? Worry? Distractions? Busyness? Past hurts? These all take their turn to try and lure you out of the Tower. When this happens, turn up the quietness within the Tower and enjoy the Lord's peace and rest in His confidence (Isa. 30:15).
Living in the Lord as your Tower is different to living in any other tower. Firstly, it's not a tower you've constructed. God as your Tower is a place that He provides. Be careful as you enter in It. It has a very low front door. You have to bow down to come in. Entering requires humility. Once you enter you must refer continually to the Lord through prayer and His Word.
Me: "Lord, what do you want to change in my life?"
The Lord: "Present your body as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:1-2)
Me: "Lord, I want to hear You."
The Lord: "I have given you My Word - it is my Word that cleans, washes and sanctifies you." (Eph. 5:26; Phl. 2:16)
And finally, the Lord as your Tower is different to all other towers because rather than removing you from life, this Tower becomes your life and the strength you need to live in a world of frustrations, misunderstandings, disappointments, hurts, heart-aches, futility and pain. It doesn't hide you from it, the Tower enables you to be kept through it. We don't leave the Tower to enter the world for we live in the Tower with our soul.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope
Rom. 8:20
Living in the Tower makes you stand out. Your confidence in God's ability to keep you, guard you, strengthen you, direct you, deliver you, causes you to look different to those in the self-made towers of doubt, confusion, worry, and selfishness. Don't be surprised if those around you ask how they too can enter into the Lord as the Strong Tower.
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Martin Luther, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"

Psa. 34:8 ¶ Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!
Ps. Andrew

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