What God Says about Walls
There has been much talk in our country recently about a “wall.” I will not rehash the relevant conversations, but I do apologize for using the word “wall” to attract you to this page. It is amazing how a single word can possess such power.
I wish to highlight some walls referenced in the Bible and explain why they are important:
The Walls of Jericho – Jericho was the first city Israel conquered when it entered the Promised Land. Joshua led several marches around the parameter of the city, culminating in one final lap, the blast of trumpets, a mighty shout and the collapse of the walls. This event was symbolic of the power of God displayed through the obedience of His people. But there is more. Before the city fell, some spies from Israel met a prostitute by the name of Rahab who lived within a massive wall interior. Because Rahab protected the spies, she was spared in the chaos of the city’s destruction, then joined with Israel and became a member of the earthly lineage of Jesus. God rewards those who seek Him.
Nehemiah and the Wall – The biblical book of Nehemiah tells the story of Nehemiah’s leadership as he led the Israelites in the rebuilding of walls of Jerusalem. Having returned from captivity, they faced the daunting task of reconstructing a defense around their city under less than ideal circumstances. As construction got under way, outside antagonists threatened the project. Nehemiah struggled with discouragement, fear and apathetic attitudes among his people. But God was with him and the wall was finished. Even today, Nehemiah is elevated as a supreme example of faithful leadership through adversity.
The Writing on the Wall – In the days of the exiled prophet Daniel, King Belshazzar of the Babylonians defied God by using some goblets that had been taken from the temple in Jerusalem to serve wine at a party. As the people in the king’s court drank, they praised the pagan gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone. Needless to say, God was not pleased. Suddenly, a hand appeared in front of a plaster wall in the party room and began writing. Belshazzar’s face turned pale. When his wise men and enchanters were unable to interpret the writing, Daniel was summoned. He delivered the bad news that King Belshazzar’s kingdom was going to fall. Even today, people speak of “the writing on the wall” as something that signals an impending doom. God is merciful, but His patience has limits.
The Wall of Damascus – The Apostle Paul became a follower of Christ in the city of Damascus after a supernatural encounter with Him on the road into town. After Paul’s baptism, he began proclaiming Christ to others, which angered some and put his life in jeopardy. His enemies kept watch at the city gate so they could kill him when he passed through. However, some of the disciples in Damascus, the same disciples Paul had once hunted down, lowered him through the city wall in a basket. Paul escaped because Christ’s followers were courageous.
The Walls of the Eternal City – In the book of Revelation, John writes about a spectacular wall made of jasper, with foundations decorated in every kind of precious stone. The wall had twelve gates made from single pearls which led to streets of gold. Scholars have debated about whether the images from the book of Revelation are literal representations of the age to come, or symbolic reflections of its grandeur. Regardless, eternity will be secure and glorious, as we worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
There are other less known walls in the Bible. In the time of kings and kingdoms, one might expect to find them in abundance. God has always been able to use any wall for His purposes.
In the interest of complete transparency, I must confess my favorite wall as a disruptive Junior Boy in Sunday School was the one in the King James Version of the Bible that referred to men as “him that pisseth against the wall” (2 Kings 9:8). It was always good for a few laughs in class. Since that time, I have put away my childish ways and moved on to a more mature approach to scripture.
But it only goes to prove. A wall can be used for many purposes.
And perhaps if the 2 Kings 9:8 passage does nothing else, it reminds us not to take the walls we build too seriously.