A CITY WITHOUT WALLS...God's Word crosses 2500 years with a timeless message for 2019. When a prophet had a vision of “a man with a measuring line in his hand” headed to measure Jerusalem's walls, God dispatched an angel with this chastising message: "Jerusalem will be a city without walls... And I myself will be a wall of fire around it," declares the Lord, "and I will be its glory within."
January 31 on our 2019 Gregorian calendar is the 24th day of God's 11th month, the day the visions of the Prophet Zechariah began. So when God's Word is delivered with amazing accuracy and timing to point out the same fatal flaw in OUR plans, it is NO coincidence. It is because of His grace that He is allowing us the possibility of learning a lesson through another nation who claimed to call on Him as God, but failed miserably to serve Him instead of themselves.
The Lord continues with this message: “Come! Come! Flee from the land of the north, for I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven…”
Given Jerusalem's geographical location, invasions typically came from the north. The Holy City of the Lord fell when the Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem, encircled their city, and effectively cut them off from food supplies for around 18 months. No walls could save them or their families from their worst nightmare. God said in Ezekiel 5 that He would judge them severely. "Because of all your detestable idols, I will do to you what I have never done before and will never do again. Therefore in your midst parents will eat their children, and children will eat their parents." In their weakened and tormented state, their arch enemy broke through their physical facade, burned Jerusalem to the ground, executed their leaders, and exiled the people to the Babylonian lands of the north. Read about it in Jeremiah 52.
Generations passed, and although the people continued to worship the Almighty, and read His Word, the essence of the Babylonian government and mindset became a cancer slowly eating away their very souls, changing even the way they perceived God’s provision. They now needed Babylonian walls to survive. Indeed, they even prospered behind them. Without realizing it, they had made Babylon their home and no longer had an eternal national identity as the chosen people of God.
So, when their descendants were given the choice to live in the City of God, Jerusalem, many were unwilling to go. They had become comfortable, but unknowingly, complacent, in their adopted home. Even when God made heavenly provision for them and urged them to "Come!", they still balked.
Listen as God’s Word speaks to us. “Run, tell that young man, ‘Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of people and animals in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within.’” Zechariah 2:4-5.
Wherever God is, there can be NO measurable walls, because NO walls can exist in the scope of His glory. Or look at it another way. Without God's presence, there is NO protection, because He names HIMSELF as the "wall of fire..."
Hebrews 11:8-16 tells us what God's chosen people should be doing instead of measuring walls. "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.”
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”
Like ancient Judah, our Babylon has become our home, and we no longer long for a better country.The perpetuation of this place we now call home has become our first priority and without realizing it, our aspirations and dreams now revolve around it. Though we were taught by Jesus Himself how to pray to our Father in Heaven, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done" has now been replaced with frantic pleas for God to save OUR kingdom. Indeed, what we don’t see as 21st century Christians is that whatever kingdom we pray that God will sustain, is the true kingdom of our heart.
Zechariah’s vision of the aspiring surveyor with the measuring line continues with these commanding prophetic words in 2:7 “Come, Zion! Escape, you who live in the Daughter of Babylon!"
The 12 Tribes of Israel began as a nation blessed by the Almghty. As the 12 sons of Jacob, whose name was changed to “Israel” by God Himself, they survived 40 years wandering in the desert, and then were ruled for 350 years by God’s appointed judges. But soon, Israel demanded to be like all the other nations, and be ruled by a king.
Following the death of King Solomon, the nation quickly sank into the bottomless political pit of electing a new King, splitting the nation in two. The kingdom of Israel, with its capital of Samaria, lasted around 200 years, until the Assyrians conquered and scattered the people across the northern isles. The kingdom of Judah ruled from Jerusalem for 350 years before being conquered by Babylon.
That brings us to our current lesson timeline. And it all has to do with a measuring line. We Christians seem to be very good at using one. We use it to prove our spiritual “point”; to see if our Christian notion “measures up” to God’s Word; or to measure the spot in our brother’s eye while neglecting to measure the log in our own. So, in a very real sense, we raise our own walls and set our own boundaries with it, even though God’s Word says we’re WAY off base, just like the young man in Zachariah’s vision.
We’ve bred generations of Christians now focused on man-made walls that serve humanity well in terms of security and sovereignty-but only for awhile. If the national process of building a wall takes on a spiritual dimension of prejudice, fear and hatred, the physical benefit of the worldly structure has fallen under the control of Satan Himself, and is doomed from the very start. Indeed, when we use the wall of Jerusalem as a "measuring line" that we should construct one, too, we completely ignore the end result of that ancient wall. The Jerusalem Wall was attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, besieged 23 times, and completely destroyed twice. Much of the wall was rebuilt by Muslims who occupied the area for 900 years.
Today there are NO functioning walls of protection around Jerusalem and haven't been for millennia. And there were NO walls around the nation of Israel throughout its entire biblical history!
Receive the Lord's perfect plan for the city and nation HE builds: "Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of people and animals in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within.’" Zechariah 2:4-5
A CITY WITHOUT WALLS...