“They have deceived my people by saying that everything is alright, but it’s not alright. When someone builds a flimsy wall, the prophets cover it up with paint. Tell those who cover up the wall with paint that their wall will fall down. Rain will pour down, hailstones will fall on it, and stormy winds will break it to pieces.” (Ezekiel 13:10-11; God’s Word Translation)
In Old Testament times, the people built many walls. There were walls to protect livestock, and walls around the cities for protection. The walls kept predators out – wild animals and wilder people who wanted to steal, kill and destroy.
We build walls today to protect our possessions and ourselves. They’re not walls of brick and mortar, but walls of thoughts, emotions and beliefs. We have strategies and plans, some of which are quite sound, like financial plans. But even the soundest financial plan can become a flimsy wall under unforeseen circumstances – the portfolio that loses half its value in the crash.
Sometimes our walls are not so strategically planned. Perhaps most of the time they are “flimsy”. Many times, what we consider a strong wall turns out to be very flimsy. We think of all the things that will make us secure. The promotion, that certain salary, that defined amount of money in the bank, the particular house or car. Idols make for flimsy walls.
We feel that we have to be “happy” and so we build flimsy walls of pleasure and people who will bring us the “happiness” we feel we deserve. A flimsy wall indeed, for pleasures are fleeting and people can be selfish and unreliable, or just not want to spend their lives trying to please us.
We believe a certain lifestyle or behavior or ethical code will protect us – enough good works will get us into heaven. Sometimes we choose to ignore warning signs and believe instead that it couldn’t possibly happen to us. We refuse to listen to wise counsel and believe instead that the wayward person will change either with our nagging or without our intervention. Flimsy walls covered with the paint of denial.
God has a habit of showing us just how flimsy our walls are. He uses His word, other people, and events and circumstances to blow down our flimsy walls, but He doesn’t leave us defenseless. He comes alongside us to rebuild our walls if we allow Him to. As we read God’s word, His thoughts are planted in our minds to grow and bear fruit. The thoughts that God knows the plans He has for us, to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11) lead us to the fruit of trust that no matter the circumstance, God can bring some good from it. Jesus comes into our hearts, filling them with true love. The love that will never, never, never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) yields the fruit of peace and joy. The Holy Spirit works to shape our beliefs based on God’s truth – the truth that sets us free (John 8:32) and that freedom bears the fruit of confidence in a God who cares. God’s walls can become our walls. The walls of the God who is a solid rock, a safe refuge, a strong tower, and a mighty fortress (Psalm 62:7). Only surrounded by those walls are we truly safe and protected.
Before we start building God’s strong and solid walls, we must make sure we have a firm foundation – faith that believes Jesus died a sacrificial death on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, rose from the dead, and will return to make all things right and take us to heaven to live with Him for eternity. On that foundation, and behind God’s walls, our minds, hearts and wills are safe from the rains, hailstones and stormy winds of this life.