The Name of Jehovah a Strong Tower
“The name of Jehovah is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”—Prov. 18:10, AS.
1. Why must we have accurate knowledge of Jehovah’s name, and how did King David speak of Jehovah?
SECURITY, defense and peace are possible through an accurate knowledge of Jehovah’s name. This is one of the great truths of the Scriptures, and is so important that our lives depend upon it. For thousands of years Jehovah’s people have had confidence in his name, and it is necessary now for today’s generation to realize it. David was one who took fullest advantage of the security provided by God’s name, Jehovah, and one of the songs he composed expresses this truth in no uncertain manner. He wrote: “Jehovah is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, even mine; God, my rock, in him will I take refuge; my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge; . . . I will call upon Jehovah, who is worthy to be praised.” (2 Sam. 22:1-4, AS) In the verses following, in exulting gratitude, he expresses himself in many energetic figures of speech, which may sound extreme, but really only feebly express all that Jehovah has done and will do for those who put their trust in him.
2. Do we need a “strong tower” today, and why? What is necessary for us to know first?
2 In olden times a strong tower was built for defense and security. Today we do not require a strong tower of brick, stone or concrete, for our enemies do not fight us with bow and arrow, nor with shells or other explosives. Our fighting is vastly different, but we do need security. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage warfare according to what we are in the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful by God for overturning strongly entrenched things.” Our defense is not in material things and our enemies are not primarily flesh and blood. “Finally, go on acquiring power in the Lord and in the mightiness of his strength. Put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil; because we have a fight, not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.” (2 Cor. 10:3, 4; Eph. 6:10-12, NW) While the faithful of old had stone towers of great security, yet their real trust was in the name of God, and just as they put their confidence in it, so we do today. How, then, can we ‘run into it and be safe’? We must first know what the “name” means.
3. Explain some of the meanings of the name. Do these definitions help us? How?
3 Jehovah is the self-given name of the Creator, denoting personality. There is only one Jehovah. Never do we read of ‘the Jehovah of Israel’ or the ‘living Jehovah’, for Jehovah lives. The name allows of no limitations. The most distinct attributes of the name are self-existence, unchangeableness, and eternity. He revealed himself to Moses. “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: . . . Jehovah, the God of your fathers, . . . this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” (Ex. 3:14, 15, AS) The name “I AM” is from the same Hebrew root word as Jehovah. Other renderings of the full phrase are “I am because I am”; “I am who am”; “I will be that I will be.” Every living creature, visible or invisible is or exists by reason of some provision made by Jehovah, but ‘He is because he is’. In this sense no one else is. These definitions clearly show the idea of independent existence, uncontrolled will and action. He always is and is the same always, never ceases to be, cannot change, and is eternal.
4. How does the understanding of his name enable us to have confidence in Him?
4 Vastly different is the name from the names of the pagan gods, for they rest exclusively on reputed past records, not on the future; whereas the name Jehovah testifies to past deeds, present works, and future purposes. Our God Jehovah is just what he is and determines in himself, the manifestation of his works not being determined by anything outside of himself. He has absolute freedom and absolute independence and absolute immutability. His own words and deeds are essentially in agreement with himself. This implies invariable faithfulness. “Jehovah thy God, he is God, the faithful God, who keepeth covenant and lovingkindness with them that love him.” (Deut. 7:9, AS) “For I, Jehovah, change not.” (Mal. 3:6, AS; also Isa. 44:6) It cannot be said of Jehovah he has been or is to become, for he never began, and cannot begin to be. He always is an undeniable is. When creation commenced he was already there. Jehovah reveals himself by his deeds and commands, his name is a revelation, a memorial, a pledge. He is the becoming One: “I will become whatsoever I please.”—Introduction of The Emphasised Bible, by Rotherham.
5. Will Jehovah always exist, and how do we know this?
5 Jehovah said to Moses, “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, As I live for ever.” (Deut. 32:39, 40, AS) Of Abraham it is written, “And Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of Jehovah, the Everlasting God.” (Gen. 21:33, AS) This is one of the early texts in the Scriptures in which occurs an attribute of God, and immediately points to eternal duration. He who lives forever, running on, but never running out, of interminable, incessant, immeasurable duration. Forms and appearances of created things may change, but the counsels and purposes of Jehovah are permanent, never change, cannot be frustrated.
6. The fact that Jehovah is One reveals what? How does it affect us?
6 Jehovah is One. It is written: “Now I know that Jehovah is greater than all gods.” “Behold, unto Jehovah thy God belongeth heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth, with all that is therein.” “Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.” (Ex. 18:11 and Deut. 10:14; 6:4, AS) He is the single, absolute, independent, everlasting One. Therefore the command is, “Thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deut. 6:5, AS) Jehovah is One, and all other gods are nothing. We can get to know the great Most High, Jehovah, only by reading and understanding his holy Word, and then we shall see how he declares his universalness and gloriousness in holiness. Nothing created is holy in itself, for natural purity or impurity does not coincide with holiness or unholiness. Holiness of the creature pertains to doing God’s will, being the state in which the creature is bound to Jehovah by divine arrangement. Those, therefore, who come to know Jehovah and to be associated with the Holy One must immediately cleanse themselves, for all covenant regulations rest on the principle, “You must be holy, because I am holy.” For this reason too Paul admonishes: “Therefore, since we have these promises, beloved ones, let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in God’s fear.”—Lev. 11:44; 2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Pet. 1:16, NW.
7. What is involved in Jehovah’s being “the Rock”? How does it strengthen us?
7 He is the Rock: “I will proclaim the name of Jehovah: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. The Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are justice: a God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is he.” “Be thou to me a strong rock, a house of defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress.” “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my high tower; I shall not be greatly moved.” “They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. But Jehovah hath been my high tower, and my God the rock of my refuge.” He is the invisible basis of confidence, the perfection of unblamableness, because he is the truthful and righteous One. “Thy righteousness is like the mountains of God; thy judgments are a great deep: O Jehovah.” Jehovah and his King, Christ Jesus, always do that which is right and suitable to what answers fully to his purposes and actions. Abraham said, “That be far from thee: shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Jehovah is the Great Rock of Eternity.—Deut. 32:3, 4; Ps. 31:2, 3; 36:6; 62:2; 94:21, 22; Gen. 18:25, AS.
8. Explain the five titles here mentioned.
8 We also must know Jehovah by his title God, which means the creator of heaven and earth, of all things good, and the giver of life to the obedient. As the Almighty, his power is unlimited, and no one can stand against him. He reveals himself as the Most High, clearly showing he is above all, the great Supreme One, the Highest Power. Also as “LORD of hosts”, he is seen to be in command of all the heavenly forces, and these will be used for the destruction of the wicked in the greatest war of all time. As Father he reveals himself as the Source of life, and the kind Provider for all who will live forever.
9. What did Jehovah do and say in answer to Moses’ request to see his glory? Mention some of the attributes recorded, How does this help us?
9 Moses asked Jehovah that he might see his glory, and in answer God said, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and will proclaim the name of Jehovah before thee.” Then God did this, as recorded: “And Jehovah descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah. . . . Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth; keeping lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation.” (Ex. 33:19; Ex. 34:5-7, AS) Thus many wonderful significations are embraced with the name Jehovah: self-existing, mighty, merciful, kind beyond discovering, long-suffering, strong, bountiful, true, preserver and pardoner, righteous, vindicator, and others. This is Jehovah, the one to whom we can go in every time of need, for all circumstances and conditions, and have in him complete confidence and security, the Jehovah we must know, fear and worship.
HOW THE NAME PROVIDES SAFETY
10. How do we know Paul and the Lord Jesus had confidence in the Father’s name? Explain.
10 The foregoing information has clearly shown Jehovah is able to perform all his purposes. Then accept this as a fact and make progress with assurance, having the same conviction as Paul, who said: “He who is calling you is faithful, and he will also do it.” “But the Lord is faithful, and he will make you firm and keep you from the wicked one.” “Let us hold fast the public declaration of our hope without wavering, for he is faithful that promised.” (1 Thess. 5:24; 2 Thess. 3:3; Heb. 10:23, NW) He will never fail those who put their trust in him. “Blessed be Jehovah; for he hath showed me his marvellous lovingkindness in a strong city. Oh love Jehovah, all ye his saints: Jehovah preserveth the faithful, . . . Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all ye that hope in Jehovah.” (Ps. 31:21, 23, 24, AS) Our Leader always trusted completely in Jehovah. He knew the Father’s name, and of his great trial when he was before Pilate the following is recorded: “Pilate said to him: ‘Are you not speaking to me? Do you not know I have authority to release you and I have authority to impale you?’ Jesus answered him: ‘You would have no authority at all against me unless it had been granted to you from above.’” Trust was also complete when he said to Peter in the garden of Gethsemane: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father to supply me at this moment more than twelve legions of angels?” Even his tormentors and cruel murderers testified to his trust, for when he was hanging on the tree they spoke abusively many things, as for example: “He has put his trust in God; let Him now rescue him if He wants him, for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” (John 19:10, 11; Matt. 26:52, 53; 27:43, NW) It had been prophesied that he would so trust. “Commit thyself unto Jehovah; let him deliver him: let him rescue him, seeing he delighteth in him.” (Ps. 22:8, AS) Jesus Christ trusted, knowing his Father’s name, and note the wonderful result: “It is according to the operation of the mightiness of his strength, with which he has operated in the case of the Christ when he raised him up from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name named, not only in this system of things, but also in that to come.”—Eph. 1:19-21, NW.
11. Does having trust in Jehovah’s name mean we shall be free of persecution or physical hurt? What was Paul’s testimony, and how was he secure?
11 How, then, does the protective quality of the name operate, seeing that the faithful servants of Jehovah have had to endure so much persecution and physical suffering? Paul said: “We are pressed in every way, but not cramped beyond movement; we are perplexed, but not absolutely with no way out; we are persecuted, but not left in the lurch; we are thrown down, but not destroyed. Always we endure everywhere in our body the death-dealing treatment given to Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be made manifest in our body.” “In every way we recommend ourselves as God’s ministers, by the endurance of much, by tribulations, by cases of need, by difficulties, by beatings, by prisons.” (2 Cor. 4:8-10; 2 Cor. 6:4, 5, NW) But Paul was secure. He had an upright, faithful conduct toward Jehovah, and the Lord Jesus, and all men, and also he had a living faith in Jehovah’s promises. He was faithful and dependable in the ministry entrusted to him, and had great love for the Lord and the brothers. He was patient under suffering and mild-mannered amidst injuries and provocation. He was maintaining a firm stand against the forces of the Devil’s organization, invisible and visible.
12. Explain Paul’s safety, and why was he confident?
12 Hence he well said, “I have fought the right fight, I have run the course to the finish, I have observed the faith. From this time on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me as a reward in that day.” (2 Tim. 4:7, 8, NW) He was meeting with God’s approval, and felt completely safe. “For this very cause I am also suffering these things, but I am not ashamed. For I know the one whom I have believed, and I am confident he is able to guard what I have laid up in trust with him until that day.” (2 Tim. 1:12, NW) Paul was not safe from fleshly hurt, but he trusted God, to whom he had committed all, “because we have rested our hope on a living God, who is a Savior of all kinds of men, especially of faithful ones.” (1 Tim. 4:10, NW) “I continue mentioning you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the accurate knowledge of him, the eyes of your heart having been enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he called you, what the glorious riches are which he holds as an inheritance for the holy ones.” (Eph. 1:16-18, NW) He knew that all who trusted and were faithful would be saved to inherit these great promises. Paul knew what the name stood for, and could exercise confidence in all his experiences.
13. What experience came upon Israel from Amalek which taught confidence in Jehovah’s name?
13 Sometimes it is in accordance with God’s will for his servants to be protected from physical hurt, and sometimes he permits it to come, but at all times, if we understand all the name stands for, it will be a “strong tower” and to it we may go for safety. If we trust, then the eventual results are always right. Moses knew the name of Jehovah, and went to it for defense. Hardly had the great multitudes of Israel miraculously escaped the armies of Pharaoh when the Amalekites attacked them without provocation. This was done in a most treacherous and dastardly manner, coming upon them at the rear of the camp, to smite the feeble and those faint and weary. (Deut. 25:17, 18) It was then decided by Moses to fight Amalek, and Joshua led the army while Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of a hill. There Moses, the great mediator, lifted up his hand with the rod, a clear indication he was depending upon Jehovah for victory. As long as Moses held up his hands Israel prevailed, but when his hands dropped Amalek prevailed. Therefore proper assistance was given so his hands were held up, till the sun went down, and by then Joshua had gained the victory. Then “Jehovah said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: . . . Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi”. That is, “Jehovah is my banner.” (Ex. 17:14-16, AS, margin) It was Jehovah who had fought for Israel and the glory was due him. No pillar was here set up for Joshua, but an altar to Jehovah, for he had been Israel’s defense and strong tower. Moses knew the mercy and loving-kindness of the Eternal One.
14. Show how the battle between David and Goliath clearly demonstrates safety in the name.
14 There is the thrilling encounter of David with Goliath. The Philistines had defied Israel and their God, Jehovah, and caused their giant Goliath to parade the field for forty days, waiting for the fearful Israelites to take up his boastful challenge. David came on the scene, and immediately saw this uncircumcised Philistine defying the armies of the living God. He accepted the challenge, and as they met for mortal combat, Goliath cursed David by his god and said: “Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?” Here this great mass of flesh armed to the teeth bellowed threats at young David, enough to strike terror to the heart of any man. But David moved in to the fight courageously, fearlessly, in full confidence that he would be victorious. Never doubting nor hesitating, he answers this hulking bully in these words: “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a javelin: but I come to thee in the name of Jehovah of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will Jehovah deliver thee into my hand; and I will smite thee, and take thy head from off thee; . . . for the battle is Jehovah’s, and he will give you into our hand.” (1 Sam. 17:43-47, AS) David placed all his confidence in the name of Jehovah, depending wholly upon it for success. To those watching it would seem David was throwing himself into the mouth of destruction, but David knew in whom he was trusting and that Jehovah would be as good as his name. He trusted in the “strong tower” and was safe. There David stood (without sword or shield or armor-bearer) before the giant warrior and all the hosts of the Philistines, but he was safe and secure in the name of Jehovah. “I come to thee in the name of Jehovah” was his defense. The almighty God of purpose did not fail him.
15. What experience did Jehoshaphat have with Ahab which teaches the need for care on our part to learn first Jehovah’s will?
15 Another servant who trusted in the name of Jehovah was Jehoshaphat. “His heart was lifted up in the ways of Jehovah.” (2 Chron. 17:6, AS) He never moved out against the enemy without Jehovah’s approval. On one occasion Ahab, king of Israel, requested Jehoshaphat to join him in battle against the Syrians, which warfare had been going on three years. Ahab’s daughter had married Jehoshaphat’s son, so there was a family connection, and in spirit the king of Judah joined Ahab, but said: “Inquire first, I pray thee, for the word of Jehovah.” So Ahab brought about 400 of his own prophets and they told the king to go and fight, for a victory would be given. But Jehoshaphat was not satisfied. “Is there not here a prophet of Jehovah besides, that we may inquire of him?” Ahab replied, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of Jehovah: but I hate him; for he never prophesieth good concerning me, but always evil: . . . Micaiah the son of Imla.” Micaiah was brought in, probably from prison, to deliver his message, and he did it fearlessly in spite of the threats from the king’s messengers. “As Jehovah liveth, what my God saith, that will I speak.” It was favorable to Jehoshaphat but against Ahab. (2 Ki. 8:18; 2 Chron. 18:1-34, AS) Those who go forward trusting in Jehovah’s name must know they are doing his will and not their own, as was the case with Jehoshaphat. He knew his name. He is all-wise and true to his promise.
16. How did Jehovah demonstrate his protection to Jehoshaphat and Judah against the armies of Moab, Ammon and Mount Seir?
16 Later on Jehoshaphat is besieged by the combined forces of Moab, Ammon and Mount Seir, a tremendous multitude. What would the good king do? He immediately flees to the “strong tower”, Jehovah. “And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek unto Jehovah; and he proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” (2 Chron. 20:1-4, AS) Note the prayer he offers exalting Jehovah, in its composition and expression one of the most remarkable ever recorded in Hebrew Scripture. Jehovah is acknowledged as supreme with irresistible power extending over every creature in heaven and in earth, the universal Sovereign. Being in covenant relationship with Him, they should go to Jehovah when in danger. He appeals to His justice and uses it to the full to point out that they were not permitted to invade their enemies and now these have attacked Judah, and finally says: “Neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” (2 Chron. 20:12, AS) They had no might of their own, therefore dependence was entirely on Jehovah. This king knew the name of Jehovah and that it was a strong tower, and in it he was safe. Jehovah destroyed the organized forces of Moab, Ammon and Mount Seir with one blow, by causing these wicked opposers of God’s people to be instruments of destruction to one another. Jehoshaphat, a servant of God, ran into the name of Jehovah and was safe.
17, 18. (a) Does faithfulness to God mean the enemy will never attack, and what does the record show? (b) How was trust and confidence in Jehovah’s name recorded?
17 Then there was the time when the arrogant Assyrian monarch purposed to destroy Jerusalem. Hezekiah was king. The record states: “He wrought that which was good and right and faithful before Jehovah his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered. After these things, and this faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fortified cities, and thought to win them for himself.” (2 Chron. 31:20, 21; 32:1, AS) Hezekiah prepared the best he could to withstand this terrible enemy, but his trust was the name of Jehovah. He spoke to the captains, saying, “Be strong and of good courage, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him; for there is a greater with us than with him: with him is an arm of flesh; but with us is Jehovah our God to help us, and to fight our battles.” (2 Chron. 32:7, 8, AS) The believing, trusting confidence of Hezekiah had raised him above the enemy. The Assyrian defied Jehovah, saying: “Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in Jehovah, saying, Jehovah will surely deliver us.”—2 Ki. 18:30, AS.
18 The Assyrian monarch through his captain compared Jehovah to the gods of the nations he had conquered, and sent an arrogant letter to Hezekiah, wherein he used profanity, falsehood and blasphemy. When the letter was received Hezekiah went up into the house of Jehovah and spread it before the Lord and prayed: “O Jehovah our God, save thou us, I beseech thee, out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou Jehovah art God alone.” (2 Ki. 19:19, AS) Jehovah proved himself a defense and strong tower by protecting his people and destroying 185,000 soldiers of the Assyrian, and chasing great Sennacherib back to his own land and to his doom. So, “Jehovah preserveth all them that love him; but all the wicked will he destroy.”—Ps. 145:20, AS.