If you’re like me, you are intrigued by tall towers and buildings. Whenever I visit a new city, I want to ascend to the highest point and look out. My first sky­scraper was the Empire State Building; I was eight years old, and my father was showing me New York City. Fifty years on, I haven’t ceased to be thrilled by tall structures and the breathtaking views they afford. Whether Toronto’s CN Tower, Sydney’s Centrepoint, Chicago’s Sears Tower, Berlin’s Funkturm (radio tower), or (especially) Dubai’s 160-story Burj Khalifa—tall structures certainly have the power to wow us.

Interestingly, in the Scriptures “tower,” used metaphorically, may be positive (Ps 61:3; Prov 18:10). Yet more often than not towers spell trouble.

Consider the following “tower” locations in scripture. Each has a lesson for us:

  1. Babel, Gen 11:1-9—Don’t put your hope in a grandiose structure or system. Watch out; don’t build monuments to ego.
  2. Peniel, Judg 8:9, 17—Support those who are fighting in a great cause. Don’t be apathetic, and don’t be cynical.
  3. Shechem, Judg 9:49—Be grateful to the person who saved you. Pick the right leader to follow.
  4. Thebez, Judg 9:51—Don’t get too close to a strong tower where your enemies are waiting to kill you!
  5. Tyre, Ezek 26:4—Don’t scoff, gloat or flatter yourself when the people of God go through hard times.
  6. Siloam, Luke 13:4—“Time and chance” happen to us all (Ecc 9:11). Better change now, before something bad takes away your chance.
  7. Discipleship, Luke 14:28-30—don’t start building a tower unless you really intend to finish. There’s no other way to be Jesus’ disciple. Once again, God has protected man from himself by frustrating his efforts. Do we have any idea how often God has acted in our lives to protect us from the consequences of our own folly and sin?