Walls have been part of virtually every civilization for millennia. It is believed that the oldest walls found to date are those of the temple of Gobekli Tepe in Urfa in southeast Turkey. Other walls identified in biblical and historical accounts of which we have evidence today are the cities of Jericho and Babylon; the Great Wall of China; and the remains of the temple wall in Jerusalem, more commonly known to us as the Western Wall or the Wailing Wall. Walls serve as space dividers, protective barriers, and symbols of both physical and emotional security.
Walls have been on my mind recently because of the ongoing controversy over building a wall on the southern border of our nation. It is a polarizing topic, yet it has brought to mind some spiritual lessons.
When Nehemiah approached King Artaxerxes of Persia with a request to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, God’s favor rested on him. This is evident from the positive response of the king to every single request Nehemiah made. Nehemiah presented his bold plan to the king with great confidence, which was based on his firm belief that God was able to give him success in rebuilding the walls of his beloved homeland city. His complete trust in God and resolve to stand firm, despite obvious obstacles, can inspire us to follow his example by…
• Letting God fight our battles: When we learn to lean on Christ, He will frustrate the plans of our enemy. Strong opposition may still occur, but just as Nehemiah’s project was completed only because of God’s help (see Nehemiah 6:16), we, too, must remember to place our complete trust in Him to defeat the enemy and work out His purpose in our lives.
• Always praising God for His sovereignty and power: The book of Nehemiah vibrantly demonstrates that God is all-powerful, and able to accomplish His will in each of us individually, as well as collectively, among the nations. The entire ninth chapter of this book is spent praising and exalting God.
God’s power can bring great things to pass in our lives, but we must also rely on Him to sustain us. I’ve had the opportunity to visit a number of beautiful cathedrals in the United Kingdom, first in the early 1970s as a student at Newbold College, and most recently last summer. Construction on these magnificent structures began as many as a thousand years ago, yet it is an ongoing effort to keep the walls of these structures in good repair. Scaffolding in and around these ancient buildings seems to be just as prevalent as the icons they contain.
There is something about the walls of these cathedrals that is very much like us. We need the scaffolding of God’s grace to support us as the ugly flaws of sins, bad habits, and prejudices in the walls of our lives are repaired or removed. Paul says it best in Philippians 1:6: “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus,” NIV. Our walls of confidence in God will stand firm only when we fully believe that He will always keep His promises and complete the work He has begun in our lives.
Southern Union | August 2019