WALLS-Good or Bad? Steve Chase
"They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” Nehemiah 1:3(NLT)
The condition of the Lords people was trouble and disgrace because the wall around Jerusalem was broken and the gates were burned with fire. All this was the result of Israel's constant and persistent refusal to give heed to God's commands. After many years of warning and different levels of discipline to attempt to gain their attention and obedience, God sent the Babylonians to destroy the City of Jerusalem. They sacked it of it's treasure and carried many of the precious sons and daughters away for servitude in Babylon.
Jeremiah the prophet had announced prior to this happening that this extreme discipline would have a time stamp of 70 years upon it. Daniel who was a young man when all this happened was carried away to Babylon with many of his young friends, had gained stature and favor with King Nebuchadnezzar and other leaders. When Daniel was an old man he was reading the prophecy, where Jeremiah had given the 70 year time stamp, after a bit of arithmetic, he prayed and reminded God of His prophetic promise. At that time God moved upon the Kings, Darius and Cyrus and they issued a decree to let the Jews return back to their homeland and restore their city with its temple to worship their God. Daniel 9:1-3, II Chron. 36;15-23
After a long period of stops and starts with rebuilding the Temple by Zerubbabel and later Ezra the people were in the condition we find with our passage above, they were in trouble and disgrace. Nehemiah was given the burden from God about this horrible condition and was eventually released by King Artaxerxes to return to Jerusalem where he was given the mandate to rebuild the walls and repair the gates, which he did in a miraculous 52 days.
Here we see how the absence of walls and gates allowed the enemies of God and the people to keep Gods desire to restore from being accomplished. These walls and gates were NOT immoral, quite the opposite, the walls would allow protection from destructive forces and the gates would be the ports of entry to control who or what was coming into the city where they lived, worked and worshiped. In the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the wall and repairing the gates we find, Sanballet, Tobiah and Geshem who were agents of the enemy and were there to maintain the destruction. They became very angry and began in many ways to resist the rebuilding. An agenda of Great Resistance and Opposition was employed to prevent the WALL! Again and again we find the Kings in the bible who were doing what was right in the sight of the Lord, were wall builders.
II Chronicles 14:7, 26:9, 27:3, 32:5, 33:14,
All walls are not the same as it depends on the reason the walls are there. The Berlin Wall and the Wall around Jerusalem are not equal. The Berlin wall was built to keep people imprisoned in an evil, abusive and controlling totalitarian system of government of which most desired to escape. The wall around Jerusalem was not constructed to keep people in, but to keep injurious people and things out. People can still come in, but they have to come in through the gates in an orderly official capacity.
One standard by which we can measure the morality of a wall, does it keep people in or keep people out,? Does it have gates or ports of legal entry. One case where walls that keep people in are moral, prisons.