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The Value of Walls

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When everyone around you finds their lives in shambles, even people you never thought would give in, and especially those in the world who are looking for a hope in someone, they are going to flee to the great, walled city. And what will you offer them? What will the church offer them? Will they find safety and security?

“Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me. When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.
Nehemiah‬ ‭2:9-10‬‬‬‬‬‬

Nehemiah surveyed the wall and determined the damage.

Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work. But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?”
‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭2:17-19‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Walls work. If you want to create a defensible position, pick a position that puts a barrier, preferably an impenetrable barrier, between you and your enemy.

If you have a property that needs to be defended, and no barrier exists, you build a barrier. You build a wall.

Jerusalem is a prime example. Named Jebus while a capital of the Jebusites, David conquered it and made it the capital of his kingdom in Israel. The original Walls of Jerusalem were completed by Solomon and stood for about 200 years without being breached. The first breach in the wall was made by the Israelite king Joash when he prevailed over Amaziah, king of Judah.

Uzziah (Azariah) repaired the walls, added catapults and towers, and prepared towers in the desert to extend the defensive capabilities in the kingdom, after his father Amaziah was killed. Joash added some towers and castles in the wilderness. It was a time of renewal for the defenses of Jerusalem

Following after, wicked king Ahaz paid no attention to the status of Zion’s defenses. He was happy to let in anything that seemed right to him. He was content to go outside of the walls and away from the Temple to worship false gods in groves set on high places. The walls were weak and started to decay. The gates were open when they should have been closed.

This was the state of things when Hezekiah rose to power as king of Judah. 2 Chronicles 29 tells us he brought back the priests and Levites to be consecrated. He instructed them to purify the Temple. This took so long they had to delay the Passover celebration. But when they had the feast, Hezekiah called everyone to Jerusalem- come inside the walls- and celebrate God’s salvation together. 2 Chron. 30:26 tells us there had not been such a celebration since the time of Solomon.

The revival that Hezekiah called for led the people to go out of the city, break down the idols, saw down the pagan groves, and restore the land to Jehovah.

There remained something to be done however, and it went unnoticed until a threat rose up. The wall was broken down. It became a source of grave concern when the Assyrians rose up to attack Judah. The walled cities of the kingdom were attacked first. The defenses that were placed “out there” were captured first. People fled from their own cities to Jerusalem. The 10 tribes of Israel outside of Judah were carried away into captivity at this time.
Hezekiah knew that an enemy had arisen to threaten them.

When everyone around you finds their lives in shambles, even people you never thought would give in, and especially those in the world who are looking for a hope in someone, they are going to flee to the great, walled city. And what will you offer them? What will the church offer them? Will they find safety and security?

Hezekiah thought he could get away with paying his way out of danger. 2 Kings 18:14-15 tells us that the king sent to Sennnacherib asking for a price- what will it take for you to leave us alone? The price was so high that Hezekiah emptied the treasury of silver, and cut the gold off of the doors of the Temple, to satisfy the ransom.

No doubt, Hezekiah’s intentions were good. But there is no alternative to dealing with evil other than to destroy it. There are no substitutes for walls

Hezekiah broadened the defenses by adding an outer wall to the city. He repaired the breaches that had developed over years of neglect. He prepared shields and darts and set captains over the army. He stored up water to prepare for a siege, while cutting off the water supply to Sennacherib’s armies (2 Ch. 32:3-6). He told the people:

“Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.”
‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭32:7-8‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

‬Sennacherib sent his captains to taunt and to overthrow the people’s confidence. Why do you listen to Hezekiah? What makes you believe your God will deliver you, when so many nations have fallen before our king? The people listened from their safe perch atop their wall.

It’s time to tell the devil, “Put up, or shut up. Talk is cheap. You’re standing at the base of this wall I’ve put up. It looks to me like I’m the one with the advantage here. I’m the one on the high ground.”

The world will accuse you. You aren’t supposed to defend yourself. You aren’t supposed to go against the grain. You’re supposed to go with the path of least resistance. That’s the way of the world; it always has been, and always will be.

Eventually the entire wall was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar when he carried the inhabitants away to Babylon.

This was the state of the city walls when Nehemiah came to Jerusalem with the blessing of King Xerxes. Heaps of ruins lay where the wall had stood, and much of the material was compromised by fire.

Nehemiah’s sorrow when he heard the state of Jerusalem was apparent to the king, and his passion to do something about it prompted him to request leave to go to his city to rebuild it.

Isaiah had warned:

“And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate. And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armour of the house of the forest. Ye have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they are many: and ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool. And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall. Ye made also a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool: but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭22:7-11‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

It seems Hezekiah heeded the warning, but the generations that followed did not. Judah had its reckoning.

I wish we would be in such sorrow as Nehemiah was in, and have such passion, to rebuild the breaches that have been made in our lives, our homes, our church, and our society. The lack of conscious attention to the walls of protection is what landed the kingdom in this place to begin with.

What do you have that’s so important, so valuable, that you need to build walls around it to protect it?

The Gospel- [Phl 1:7 KJV] Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
[1Pe 3:15 KJV] But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

The Faith- [Jde 1:3 KJV] Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Integrity- [Pro 11:3 KJV] 3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.
[Pro 19:1 KJV] 1 Better [is] the poor that walketh in his integrity, than [he that is] perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
[Pro 20:7 KJV] 7 The just [man] walketh in his integrity: his children [are] blessed after him.

The soul- [Pro 22:5 KJV] 5 Thorns [and] snares [are] in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.

A person with well-built walls is a person of conviction. Deciding what is right based on applying God’s word and a desire to please God no matter the cost- that is wall building. You never have to repent over keeping strong boundaries.

Setting boundaries (“building walls”) will come with its share of difficulties. Dr. Henry Cloud states in a recent post,

“The angry person has a character problem. If you reinforce this character problem, it will return tomorrow and the next day in other situations. It is not the situation that’s making the person angry, but the feeling that they are entitled to things from others. They want to control others and, as a result, they have no control over themselves. So, when they lose their wished-for control over someone, they “lose it.” They get angry.”

The scripture from Nehemiah 2:10 said they were grieved exceedingly that there was a man who cared about the welfare of Israel. You’re going to tick off a lot of people when you decide that it’s time to make a change. Others around you will be grieved, even angry, defensive, and on the attack.

What happened to you? “You’re tearing down the gods you worshipped,” Sennacherib’s messengers said. You’re a drunk, a fornicator, a liar, a thief, a cheat, negligent, a deadbeat dad. “Believe the lies we tell about you.”

Like Sanballot and his ilk, they’ll say, “What are you doing? Is this some sort of rebellion? You can’t do that, you’re under our authority. You’re mine! You can’t build those walls! Look how weak you are, how flimsy your defenses! A fox will breathe on you and you’ll crumble!”

The world will accuse you. You aren’t supposed to defend yourself. You aren’t supposed to go against the grain. You’re supposed to go with the path of least resistance. That’s the way of the world; it always has been, and always will be. “Rebellion and anarchy,” if you upset their fun or make them feel convicted over how their living.

These are the people who claim your successes, but skip out when you lose your kids, your family, your home, your place in the church, your standing in the community.

Answer them like Nehemiah- “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.”
‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Walls will protect you. A strong boundary and selective criteria for what you allow in are necessary. See the value of walls- rise up and build.

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