It’s a time of festivities with Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day over this weekend, but celebrations will be muted because of the continued Covid restrictions.
Should I reflect upon culture, tradition, family, love, but I was thinking about the broken-down wall. Perhaps there has been complacency, too much feasting when God is looking to build, reinforce and strengthen the wall of His Church and the believer in this time.
It has often been proposed that the Church should be without walls and we might have heard this comment that when a wall is erected, it will keep people out.
God loves and has great compassion for the person on the other side of the wall and we need to re-process if we think we’ve erected the wall to keep them out! If we understand anything of God’s heart, we know His desire is that none should perish.
So when we speak about building a wall, we’re referring to spiritual wall building in the Church, in the believer’s life. It’s about the believer becoming strong in faith and protected against the wiles and devices of the enemy, against Satan’s attack.
Picture the wall of Jerusalem broken down and its gates burned with fire, burnt out by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon since its invasion about 150 years earlier. As the wall laid in ruin, the survivors who were left from the captivity in the province remained in trouble and were in great distress and reproach.
When Nehemiah led the rebuilding of the wall, he was constantly interrupted and stopped by his enemies. No one thought this obstacle could be overcome. Nehemiah faced immense opposition from these men who sought to stop and derail the work.
Building a wall is hard work and as we consider the broken-down wall of the city, one of the key reasons for Nehemiah to return to re-build the wall was to re-populate the city, to make Jerusalem habitable again. Nehemiah was given this supernatural feat of rebuilding the wall, which he completed in 52 days!
It’s evident when a city is unwalled, anything of value can easily be stolen because there’s no defence. The city would completely be open and vulnerable to its enemies. A wall is therefore necessary to protect them from impending danger by enemies. It serves to strengthen their position, which would be considered a good wall.
A wall can also be seen as cutting off from other people, creating a picture of isolation and self-interest, which makes self-centredness a bad outcome.
Nehemiah’s first consideration was the protection it’d provide for the people of God from their enemies, and for the Christians, this wall represents the spiritual protection God wants to establish in each of our lives.
Secondly, the wall in Nehemiah’s day allowed the Jews in Jerusalem to monitor and control access by their enemies into the city. The presence of the wall meant that gates were needed for anyone to enter and leave the city, and it could be locked when needed.
For the believer, oftentimes, we need to shut out the world because not everything in it is to be allowed into the Church. Our interaction with the world should be directed by our relationship with God and we’ve to close the gate to spend intimate time with our Saviour.
Like Nehemiah, we should expect opposition, obstacles, doubts and discouragements when building a spiritual wall. This unusual achievement amid great opposition meant that the believer is in a much better position to defend than an unwalled or broken walled city; to have a solid spiritual wall with moral strength, and the ability to defend your faith in time of temptation.
Many Christians do not have a strong well-built wall, and most are content to live with broken walls. In fact, too many Christians refuse to acknowledge this, and this is a sorry state of the Church. Proverbs 25:28 describes it this way, ‘Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.’ Truly, we don’t want to be exposed and become vulnerable to all sorts of foolishness and trouble.
The believer described as a city, is a community bound together because God dwells with us. Isaiah 60:18 says, ‘Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, Neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; But you shall call your walls Salvation, And your gates Praise.’ This reference isn’t to a natural material defence for the community or individual, but we’re to keep an eye on the gates, watching and praying so that the enemy does not infiltrate our spiritual wall to lead us into temptation.
The beautiful message is this – God has provided everything we need to build our spiritual wall of salvation: “For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.” (Zechariah 2:5) God is the One who defends, and wisdom calls out for while it’s yet day, let us work; for the night is fast approaching.
It’s time to re-build the broken-down wall, let’s make the City of God habitable!