Summary: This one deals with the walls we build around our hearts...which ones are O.K. ...and which ones need to be torn down.
Dakota Community Church
August 12, 2007
Last Sunday we had the chairs set up “in the round” in order to promote discussion, and those who were here will remember that I on purpose did not set up the wooden “extra seating” chairs in order that the front row of seats facing each other would be needed. Those front row seats were the last to be filled and it was obvious that it was done with some reluctance.
The whole scene reminded me of the United Church I went to as a child because I used to be excited if Dad would let me sit in the front pew, behind the wall. In our church there was a little oak wall that matched the pews about 3 or 4 feet high that held the song books and acted as a barrier between the front row and the alter. This got me to thinking about how uncomfortable we often are socially and how we physically and mentally erect walls in our lives to give ourselves an added sense of security.
This morning I want to talk about walls, the good ones, the bad ones, why we build them, and why we need to tear some of them down.
1. Important and healthy walls.
First of all it is important to note that not all walls are bad. Sometimes in the church we think that any kind of division or separation is a bad thing when in fact that is not the case.
"Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire."
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
There are walls that exist for physical safety and protection against those who would harm us. There are walls that provide us with privacy and space, Jesus was often going off to be alone with the Father.
I read an article this week about how people need to be more careful about the things they say and post on sites like facebook. Companies are now routinely googling employment applicants to spot and avoid risky hires. It is entirely possible that airing your humorous views about smoking weed at age 16 or 17 could come back to cost you a job opportunity at 25 or 26.
There is the ultimate wall, the fortress, the protector, who invites us to live “in Him”, our refuge, our cleft in the rock, our strong tower – the Father.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge- then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
Over the years as a pastor I would say there are almost as many people who need help fixing problems that result from not being able to set boundaries as from those who set boundaries so rigid and high that no one gets in.
"Cursed is the man who moves his neighbor’s boundary stone."
Then all the people shall say, "Amen!"
While Art and Pam (Church members and next door neighbors) were away on holidays the last few weeks I took the opportunity to increase my backyard pleasure by moving the fence between our properties about three feet closer to their house. You wouldn’t believe how un-Christian like Art has been acting ever since he got home! I explained to him the verse about not taking a brother to court but I’m not sure if he is getting the revelation. (This is a joke for those who lack a sense of humor).
This leads us to the next type of wall, the type that needs to be torn down.
2. Isolating prison walls.
Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels of silver and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels.