A CITY WITHOUT WALLS...God's Word crosses the chasm of 2700 years with a timeless message for 2020. 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."
February 18 on our 2020 Gregorian calendar is the 24th day of God's 11th month, the day the visions of 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…”
God had 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."
The Holy City of the Lord fell when the Babylonians encircled it and effectively cut off food supplies for about 18 months.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, 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 became convinced they needed Babylonian walls to survive. They even reckoned that they prospered behind them. Without realizing it, they replaced their eternal identity as the chosen people of God with a national identity of the world.
Indeed, when their descendants were given the choice to reclaim the City of God, Jerusalem, many were unwilling to return. They had become comfortable, but unknowingly, complacent, in their adopted home. Even when God made provision for them and urged them to "Come!", they still balked.
Their lack of trust that God could and would accomplish their deliverance was exemplified in Zechariah's vision of the man running toward Jerusalem with a measuring rod to make sure God 's provision was good enough. “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.
The truth is, wherever God is, there can be NO measurable walls, because His glory is immeasurable and boundless, and will NEVER be contained!!
Or look at it another way. Without God's presence, there is NO protection, because He identifies HIMSELF as the "wall of fire..."
Hebrews 11:8-16 tells us what God's chosen people should have been 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..."
“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 another country. 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.”
2700 years later, these words ring true with agonizing clarity. Though we were taught by Jesus Himself how to pray to our Father in Heaven, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven..." has now been replaced with frantic pleas for God to save OUR kingdom on this earth. 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.
Israel had to learn her kingdom lesson the hard way. 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 appear to serve humanity in terms of security and sovereignty--but only for awhile. Indeed, when we use the walls of Jerusalem as a "measuring line" that justifies the building of a national wall, we completely ignore that 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.
If the national process of building a wall springs from a spiritual dimension of prejudice, fear and hatred, the physical benefit of that worldly structure has fallen under the control of Satan Himself, and is doomed from the very start--and so is the nation.
Receive the Lord's perfect plan for the city and kingdom HE will build: "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...