(No political statement meant by the title to this post!)
Jeremiah was an Old Testament prophet born c. 650 BC. He was a young man when he was called to prophetic ministry (Jer. 1:5) and proclaimed God’s wrath against the unrepentant people of Judah until the nation was captured by the Babylonians and the temple in Jerusalem destroyed in 586 BC.
His journey was wrought with hardship. His family ridiculed and rejected him. He was thrown into prison several times. Once he was thrown into a miry, deserted, muddy well and left to rot. When Judah fled to Egypt because of war, Jeremiah was compelled against his will to follow. Jewish tradition states he was stoned to death in Babylon. (For related Scriptures, click here.)
Jeremiah’s life was wrought with hardship and struggle, physical and emotional pain, mental and spiritual turmoil. And yet, he never changed his message. He never caved to the culture, or shut up to satisfy the status quo.
You and I are called to be 21st century Jeremiahs.
Like Jeremiah, you and I daily live amongst a people who have exchanged their godly heritage for that which “does not profit,” exchanging rivers of Living Water for dry, broken desert cisterns (Jer. 2:11-13).
And, like Jeremiah, you and I are called to….
Maintain the message.
Stay the course.
Keep on keeping on.
I’m glad you asked.
We live in an age when government, law, education, entertainment, media, science, and the very foundational structures of society are being re-written according to a secularist worldview that ridicule, revile, and reduce Christian beliefs and practices to antiquated traditions or, more antagonistically, assaults on “progress.”
Against such a culture you and I must become
God-crafted, God-sustained, God-ordained walls.
In Jeremiah 1:18, God tells Jeremiah,
“For behold, I have made you this day a fortified city and an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land.”
Jeremiah sustained an onslaught of persecution, rejection, and even martyrdom, because God had built him into a bronze wall.
A great, big, beautiful wall. And His own blood paid for it (Rom. 5:8).
If you and I – and Jeremiah – are walls, then it is imperative to ask:
What exactly does a wall do?
First, a wall is built to keep “bad guys” out. Walled cities in the Old Testament were more secure, because the enemy couldn’t waltz right into the middle of the city. They gave a level of protection to the citizens and infrastructure inside the city walls.
Second, a wall is built to keep “good guys” in. Again, in times of battle, citizens would remain within their walled cities for the protection afforded them by its strength. If a citizen wandered outside of those walls, they were taking their life into their own hands. That which was inside the wall was preserved, protected, and secure.
Third, a wall is built for beauty. Many times, walls are not only functional, but ornamental. A stately wall is a beautiful, even timeless, wall. Built well, it will stand the test of time and become an international icon, like this one:
Fourth, a wall is repairable. Sometimes when enemies fought against walled cities, they would damage the wall. Sometimes they might even penetrate the wall entirely.
But the damage of a wall did not necessary preclude destruction of the wall. Nearly a century after the wall of Jerusalem had been destroyed, the people went together “with a mind to work” and rebuilt it (see Neh. 4:6).
What does this tell us?
First, it is a call to stand against the assaults of the culture. As walls stand against an oncoming, attacking enemy, so God is preparing you and I to stand firmly against the secularist agenda, liberal propaganda, and relativistic, subjective, Post-Modern philosophy of our era.
It will war against us, but it does not have to defeat us. We can stand as a bronze wall against the attacks.
Second, it is a call to securely protect the treasures that are given to us. As walls protect the citizens and infrastructure of a city, so God makes our lives into bronze walls that fiercely protect the treasures of His Word, His Presence, and His Spirit within us.
When assaults from our culture and society seek to steal
the dignity of humanity through evolutionary biology…
the objectivism of sin through relativistic philosophy…
the beauty of worship through the denigration of the senses…
Third, it is a call to live attractively. Christians’ lives stand out, not only for what we believe in, but in the beauty of our everyday living. Paul calls it the “fragrance of Christ.” Some call it holiness. I like to think of it as, simply, a beautiful life – that life that does not compromise faith, but yet endeavors to share God’s grace and power with all it meets.
Greet others with a smile and encouraging word.
Help others eagerly, not grudgingly.
Avoid needless conflict (Facebook political posts, that means you!)
Live a lifestyle of worship, verbally and volitionally.
We must make our lives as a beautiful piece of spiritual architecture, standing strong against assaults, securely guarding God’s treasures, and living a lifestyle of beauty.
Finally, it is a reminder that damage does not equal destruction.
News flash: There will be times when our walls will become damaged.
In fact, sometimes it might seem like our wall is so damaged, it isn’t worth rebuilding.
Instead of the beautiful walls seen above, it looks more like this:
This is why the last point is so crucial. No wall is too broken that it is beyond repair.
God is the Master Rebuilder. In fact, He uses this reference of Himself:
“I will raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old.” Amos 9:11a
(American readers – without reading too far into the significance of it, take special note of the 9:11 reference. Interesting.)
If sin has breeched the wall, if the enemy has broken through – don’t despair.
We can cry out to the Rebuilder who can, and will, rebuild the wall and make us strong, firm, and steadfast. In fact, rebuilt and reinforced walls are often even stronger the second time.
Today, as we enter the office, the classroom, the marketplace, the laboratory, may we remember:
God Has Made Us Walls.
To keep the enemy out.
To keep the treasure secure.
To keep our lives beautiful.
When God built Jeremiah’s wall, the enemy could not prevail against it.
And when God builds our walls, we can withstand the assaults of the 21st century American culture.
“For behold, I have made you this day…bronze walls against the whole land—
Against the kings…princes…priests, and…people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,” says the Lord, “to deliver you.” Jer. 1:18-19