by Pastor Joseph Ola Kolawole
I’ll be reflecting on one verse from Proverbs 18 which is quite popular. Verse 10. The first and last verses (1 and 24), as some of us have rightly pointed out, are verses that make even more sense when we read them from multiple translations, lest we get the wrong superficial meaning that KJV seems to offer in those verses. I won’t dwell on them, but they are worth looking at.
Now to verse 10 — remember, my emphasis in these reflections is on the practicalities of these divine nuggets.
(TLB) — “The Lord is a strong fortress. The godly run to him and are safe.”
(NKJV) — “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.”
(TPT) — “The character of God is a tower of strength, for the lovers of God delight to run into his heart and be exalted on high.”
I choose this verse for two reasons:
1. In 2017, I spent a weekend in Belgium and visited a real fortress (strong tower). They call it The Citadel of Namur. I can’t begin to describe the experience but there was a sense of INDESCRIBABLE SECURITY & AWE which you will feel when you are inside. That day, this verse in Proverbs came alive — and a particular song I was listening to at the time.
2. I have recently had to counsel some folks on the subject of FEAR and the idea put forth by this verse is a very helpful insight.
What the verse is saying is simple. To start from the back, the verse is supposed to apply to ‘the righteous’ (or the ‘godly’), right? Good news: We qualify! 2 Corinthians 5:21 is your receipt to claim this experience of this verse and that which any other verse in the Old Testament promises to ‘the righteous’. “For God made the only one who did not know sin to become sin for us, so that we who did not know righteousness might become the righteousness of God through our union with him.”
So, yes, we qualify. But qualify for what? Qualified to enjoy the FORTRESSNESS of The Name of The Lord. That last phrase — ‘the Name of the Lord’ — is actually, as The Passion Translation puts it, The character of God. In other words, we have security assured by virtue of everything that is true about God as revealed from the scriptures.
God’s love, faithfulness, justice, mercy, sovereignty, kindness, omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence — to mention but a few — are supposed to be rooms in the mighty fortress wherein the believer dwells.
APPLICATION TO FEAR (5 BIBLE VERSES THAT APPLY PROVERBS 18:10)
The other day, I got a message from a sister on the subject of fear. She’s been battling the spirit of fear—very palpable fear. She couldn’t sleep alone in a room; she gets worried that something bad might have happened each time she gets a call from home…
I’m sure some of us can relate. She asked me for scriptures and resources she could use in this regard and I had quite a few to share with her so I thought to extend that to all of us. What follows is my response to her:
I will share with you what I’ve found to be at the base (the root) of all my fears: UNBELIEF. When I’m fearful, there’s a promise of God I’m beginning to let slip through the grasp of my heart. It’s no wonder the book of Revelations describes the two qualities as going hand-in-hand for those who will miss out on the bliss that awaits God’s people in the world to come: “…the fearful, and unbelieving…shall have their part in…the second death.” (Rev 21:8)
See the issues you are afraid of as Goliaths in your life. The story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17 tells us a simple principle: WHEN YOU FOCUS YOUR ATTENTION ON YOUR GIANTS, YOU WILL TUMBLE; BUT WHEN YOU FOCUS YOUR ATTENTION ON GOD, YOUR GIANTS WILL FALL FLAT ON THEIR FACES.
To answer your question, I will point you to 5 verses from God’s word. They are basically promises that should remind you both WHO you are and WHOSE you are. Then I will recommend to you at the end of this post a resource I found useful in dealing with FEAR.
5 BIBLE VERSES
1. Deuteronomy 31:8 “He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (The Room of ‘Omnipresence’ in God’s Fortress)
Each time you feel afraid, can you activate your imagination and picture God saying these words to you… I am here. You will be okay. I’m all you need, and you’re never going to be alone. It’s one of God’s most repeated promises in the Bible. And it’s a promise I’ve found useful many times. There are days I will be walking on the road and when the thread of thoughts that triggers fear kicks in, I literally start speaking to myself the Words I can envision God saying to me—or I find a song that articulates that promise ever-so-beautifully and sing my heart out. For me, that always works.
2. Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (The Room of ‘Sovereignty’ in God’s Fortress)
We are afraid of the possibility of things not ending well. But you know what I constantly try to do when I’m sensing fear? I envision THE WORST CASE SCENARIO then I remind myself that it can never be so bad that God can’t give it a happy ending. Why? Because He specializes in working all things together for the ultimate good of people like me (His children). The fact that I’ve made allowance for the worst case scenario shrinks the pressure out of the fear because I’ve chosen to expand my capacity for disaster not because I’m actually hoping that something bad will happen but because I’M CONVINCED BEYOND MEASURE that I worship the God Who is capable of taking WORST CASE SCENARIOS and turning them around. And indeed, I’m a living proof that God specializes in fixing the unfixables.
3. Isaiah 43:1 “Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.” (The Room of ‘Adoption’ in God’s Fortress)
God actually commands us not to fear, or worry. It’s not just a promise; in a sense, it’s a COMMANDMENT. And guess what? It’s got a very reasonable justification! I’ll do anything in my earthly capacity to help and assure my sons’ safety; why wouldn’t God (Who is an infinitely better Father) do much more for me. I’m HIS and He’s MINE.
4. 1 John 4:18 “Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear” (The Room of ‘LOVE’ in God’s Fortress)
My love for my wife is far from perfect, but as imperfect as it is, I can’t imagine some relationship fears that others struggle with. I’m not afraid that I will wake up someday soon and find that she’s no longer interested and wants us to go our separate ways. I’m not afraid that one portable lady with flimsy curves will win my heart over and snuff out the affections I have for my wife… Why? I love her! How much more the PERFECT love of God? The more you realize what it means to have a God that LOVES you—REALLY LOVES YOU—the more you will find your capacity to be afraid diminish. Why? Because you know that LOVE OVERCOMES ALL EVIL! Love will go to any extent to ensure safety, provision, healing, and whatever it is you may be in need of.
5. Psalm 18:2 “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.” (The Room of ‘Omnipotence’ in God’s Fortress)
Indeed, my experience in The Citadel of Namur persuaded me of the import of Psalms like this. God is our Fortress. A fortress commands an aura of safety and invincibility. You feel unconquerable. You feel untouchable. You feel like you can see the enemy but the enemy can’t see you. You marvel at the ingenuity that has gone into how the fortress was built and constructed. That’s what you get when you see God as your fortress. You can’t be any safer than that.
There are tonnes more of scriptures on assuring us of victory over fear but I thought to leave you with these 5. Ponder them. Pray with them if you will. Become bolder in your beliefs of God’s precious promises. Shift your focus from the ‘what ifs’ to ‘Who is-’ — Who is your Father? Who is your fortress? Whose are you?
That changes the game!
I have a few classic songs that reassure me of these promises. I’ll share the YouTube links to them below:
And finally, one of the best books I’ve read on the subject of fear is Max Lucado’s FEARLESS and FACING YOUR GIANTS.
I hope these help.