Building walls is often seen today as a bad thing. (Do good fences really make good neighbors?) In organizations, we talk about building silos, and interpersonally, we talk about putting walls up when we are feeling defensive. But those are not the kind of walls I’m referring to. (“to which I am referring” for English majors, but that’s the last one I’m giving you)
I’m talking about walls that are needed for defense…walls that protect something worth protecting. If you had lived before the time of tanks and fighter planes and smart bombs, you would have appreciated a city with walls. It represented safety for all those who lived nearby. When the enemy crossed the horizon, everyone ran inside the walls of the city.
Maybe you’ve heard of a guy named Nehemiah. He was a wall builder. Rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days using only the charred remains of what the last army had left behind. He rebuilt the walls, because there was something he wanted to protect – the new temple where God met with His people. It wasn’t as nice as the temple the enemy had destroyed, but it was functional, and it was an important part of the Jewish religion.
I think we ought to spend more time today building walls – spiritual ones – because we have something worth protecting, too. God no longer meets with His people in a building. When Christ died on the cross, the temple moved into our hearts. Now, He meets with us there. Our problem (my problem) is that our (my) spiritual walls are down, and the enemy has access to the new temple.
Honestly, I’ve been building my walls stone-by-stone for years, but the Tempter still knows exactly where they are weak and crumbling. He attacks me there every time. I learned long ago to station a guard at the weak spot, but sometimes he’s easily persuaded. (Can’t get good help these days.)
I often get tired of building and want to throw in the trowel (sorry), but I’ve had the enemy living in my temple before and I don’t like it. Nehemiah knew what that was like. He took a well-deserved vacation, and when he came back, his bitter enemy had rented a room in the temple (chapter 13). It’s a lot easier to keep your enemy out of your heart than it is to get rid of him once he’s moved in.
So, I keep building. And like Nehemiah’s men, I keep a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other. You never know when the enemy might launch a surprise attack.