When there are issues in the public arena that draw comments from every Tom, Dick, and Harriett with a keyboard, I tend to avoid adding to them. But sometimes, even though an issue may be getting beaten to death by the media, I feel compelled to respond. This is one of those times.
When I keep hearing Speaker Pelosi’s declaration that a wall is “immoral” being parroted by her associates in the mainstream press, I cannot ignore it. One of our commitments in my publishing endeavors is to maintain an allegiance to God’s truth, regardless of whether or not it fits popular public opinion. So, I’d like to suggest that we pull away from political rhetoric and party talking points long enough to examine what God’s opinion might be when it comes to the issue of walls. With the political firestorm going on these days, it’s important to look carefully at walls in light of the purpose for having them and their moral implications.
A Biblical Example ~
In today’s political atmosphere, I don’t see how we can avoid mentioning that an entire book in the Bible is devoted to a wall building project. The Book of Nehemiah is a detailed chronicle describing the physical and spiritual challenges God’s people faced in constructing, repairing, and reinforcing the wall around Jerusalem which had been destroyed as a result of God’s judgment.
In spite of repeated warnings, God’s people persisted in denying His authority and giving themselves over to idol worship with its evil practices and sexual debauchery. Their spiritual rebellion eventually cost them their freedom as God delivered their homeland to a mixture of cruel foreign invaders. Jews who survived the attacks were deported to serve their conquerors as virtual slaves in a strange land. After 70 years of captivity, as He had promised, God allowed His people to return, but what they found was a pathetic, broken remnant of what they left. They had no means of personal protection and no sense of national and spiritual identity. They may have been home, but it didn’t feel or look like it.
Priceless Distinctives ~
Beyond their connection to their genealogical predecessor, Abraham, God’s chosen people had always been identified by several observable distinctions that set them apart from surrounding nations.
- They had a divinely ordained set of laws and ordinances that defined their values, established their system of justice, governed their personal and relational practices, and distinguished them as a nation.
- They had a system of worship based on beliefs and religious practices that were a physical exhibition of their covenant relationship with the God who created them, redeemed them, called them, provided for them, and defended them.
- They had a Temple, a physical building that housed items of inexpressible importance to their spiritual and national heritage.
- They had a city. Jerusalem was the seat of their civil government and a symbol of their religious and national identity.
- They had a wall. Their city, their Temple, and their leadership were there, and the wall stood as a barrier protecting the most precious elements of their entire culture from those who posed a threat to it.
- The wall wasn’t erected to declare that they were better than other peoples, but that they were different from other peoples. The wall, and all that it protected, didn’t say to others that they couldn’t come in and worship God, but that being a part of all that the wall protected required becoming “one” with His people and the faith that they shared.
The walls around Jerusalem weren’t built to keep people away from God and His redemptive love. They were built to protect an access to God for those who would come as He directed. When God allowed the destruction of the city’s physical walls, it was only after the spiritual treasures they were built to defend had become so perverted and corrupt that there was nothing of value left.
No Wall–No Protection ~
Listen to Nehemiah’s heart as he describes his reaction to news about the conditions that the returning captives were facing in Jerusalem.
And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days… Nehemiah 1:3-4 (NKJV)
Nehemiah’s distress had nothing to do with a political position he favored. He was brokenhearted because there was no protection and no distinction separating God’s chosen people from those around them. They were vulnerable to be plundered and abused at almost any point. Raising up a barrier to protect and defend their distinctive identity and to preserve what God had given them was not just a good, commonsense idea. It was a moral and spiritual imperative, and it had God’s approval and support. Maybe some of our elected officials need to look at what we become if we surrender those rules, standards, and practices that identify us as a people.
“But that’s Old Testament stuff,” some will say. Others might declare that Jesus wouldn’t have had anything to do with a wall. Maybe we should think through that a little more carefully. The only wall Jesus opposed and considered immoral was the wall of sectarian bigotry established by religious leaders who cared nothing about the welfare of the people and only wanted in order to maintain their own power and control. Sound familiar? (See Matthew 23:13 NKJV)
Entry is Conditional ~
Now notice this final vital element. Jesus’ death on the cross opened His Kingdom to everyone, but nobody comes in on a temporary visa and no one forces their way in on their own terms, waving the flag of another country. There’s a secure border protecting God’s “homeland,” and coming in requires a one time, all or nothing surrender. Those wanting to escape sin’s pain and oppression are welcome but only when they meet His conditions and submit to His authority. And here’s the glorious conclusion–all who accept His terms instantly become citizens.
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. Ephesians 2:19 (NKJV)
Walls don’t just exclude what’s outside. They protect what’s inside. And regarding the question of morality, wouldn’t it be immoral not to protect and preserve the precious treasures you gave everything you have to acquire? Maybe those who think walls are immoral should check out the description of God’s heavenly city in Revelation 21:10-21. There’s a wall around it like you’ve never imagined and gates on every side. All are invited in . . . , but King Jesus is the “only” point of entry.
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to Tweet & Share from the pull quotes below. Each quote links directly back to this article through Twitter.
- “I’d like to suggest that we pull away from political rhetoric and party talking points long enough to examine what God’s opinion might be when it comes to the issue of walls.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “The wall, and all that it protected, didn’t say to others that they couldn’t come in and worship God, but that being a part of all that the wall protected required becoming “one” with His people and the faith that they shared.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “When God allowed the destruction of Jerusalem’s physical walls, it was only after the spiritual treasures they were built to defend had become so perverted and corrupt that there was nothing of value left.”@GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “There’s a secure border protecting God’s “homeland,” and coming in requires a one-time, all or nothing surrender.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Those who think walls are immoral should check out the description of God’s heavenly city in Revelation 21:10-21.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
Check out Ron’s book, “Right Side Up Thinking in an Upside Down World ~ Looking at the World through the Lens of Biblical Truth.”
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