In the days when Solomon coined this proverb, cities had protective walls. Everyone understood why. A city needed good walls to keep out the enemy so that the inhabitants could feel safe at night sleeping in their beds! To live in a city without a wall was not secure. A wall-less city was an invitation to anyone who wanted to come in and steal goods even abusing and violating the citizens who were at their mercy.
Some people seem to have lives that are like a broken down city? They appear to have no ability to keep out those who would abuse and violate them. They may have had many relationships like that before but they seem unable to recognise the need for a measure of protection for themselves. These wise words from Solomon tell us that it isn’t God’s intention for anyone to be this vulnerable. It’s not wrong to have a wall of protection around our heart but there’s something else which is vital to consider.
A city with a good wall can also be a city in trouble. Jerusalem had a good, strong city wall when Zedekiah was the king. The wall was sufficiently strong to protect the people against the enemy forces of Nebuchadnezzar, but there was a problem. The people were locked inside and starving! (2 Kings 25:1-3) The wall was good but without an ability to open the gates there couldn’t be trade to provide the necessary food and supplies. The result was starvation and desperation.
There are people who live their lives behind walls with no gates and people who have no walls. Both are damaging their spirits. No wall leads to possible abuse and no gate leads to probable starvation.
Solomon in his wisdom encourages us to be like a healthy city. Good walls for protection and gates that can be opened to those who are friends bringing the necessary nourishment into our lives. If your walls are broken down perhaps you need to recognise that you’re worth protecting. Then you could ask Jesus to help you build a right protection around your human spirit. If your gates are locked shut perhaps you need to ask Jesus to help you to discern who is a trustworthy person to enter the gate to feed your spirit with friendship and love. Challenging isn’t it?
Prayer: Lord, I want to have strong walls to protect my life from the inroads of the enemy and to have gates that can be opened to the friends you send. Help me to discern the difference between friend and foe and be strong in you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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