Open the gates,

that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.

Isaiah 26: 2

 

Although this is the day after the United State’s celebration of Independence Day, these thoughts are not about any one country and have little to do with the politics or the governance of any nation. I think that Isaiah was not talking about a specific nation here, and I am not either. Yet, he and I are also speaking to the people of the nations that we touch. It seems to me that human nature is such that we take a great deal of pride in the place that we are from. Most of the time we speak with real passion about our homeland and we desire to see it standing proud and powerful in our world. In the days of Isaiah that sort of singular strength was often achieved by means of stout walls that kept enemies out and that aided in the maintenance of national and racial purity.

 

God has no problem with walls and with the gates that are built into them. He inspired and directed the construction of them. However, He does not embrace the way that people frequently use those walls. When they become a source of pride in our ability to build and our power over others, then God is not pleased. As walls are used to divide and to separate people so that those that are deemed to be desirable are allowed in and all others are excluded, God is saddened. If we follow the long-standing trend of human culture and these walls start to define our true allegiance and frame in our identity, then God’s will is being ignored as we make the Lord into the servant of our national intent and agenda.

 

True greatness and the form of power that honors God is found in and through the sort of openness that Isaiah is calling us to embrace. For any of us to be strong we need to surrender fully to Christ. We allow ourselves to be immersed in the death of the cross, and we are then lifted up by our Lord into His victory over all that this world can bring upon us. Then walls as a means of pride, power, defense, and exclusivity have no use to us. Instead the walls that we control become a tool to be used in protecting and ministering to the weak and the lost. Inside of these redeemed structures we no longer live as citizens of an earthly nation; instead, we dwell in the Kingdom of God that has come to earth. In this kingdom we owe allegiance to only one ruler, Christ the King whose authority is over all the institutions and structures of this world and beyond.

 

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