“And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall.” (Isaiah 22:10)
Isaiah 22 depicts a warning to the people of Jerusalem. It begins, “Oracle concerning the Valley of Vision”. Jerusalem was known as the Valley of Vision because that is where God revealed Himself to the people. The People were preparing for war because the Assyrians were coming. They stocked up water in the Lower Pool. They gathered materiel such as weapons and chariots. They strengthened the wall by tearing own houses to use for materials. The people were busy, busy, busy. However, they were not doing the one thing they should have been doing: praying. They had not looked to God as their strength and protection, nor had they repented, and in this chapter God was telling Isaiah to chastise them for it.
From ancient times to now, outer city walls were used as a defense against marauding tribes or attacking armies. They provided a vantage point from which to defend the town, and also to watch out for coming trouble. They were almost always masonry, and thick. In Isaiah 21:6 we are told that a common practice was for a watchman to make rounds atop the wall and report on unusual activity. “Meanwhile, the Lord said to me, “Put a watchman on the city wall. Let him shout out what he sees.” (Also 2 Samuel 13:24). Nineveh’s walls were 100 ft. high, with 1500 towers, and broad enough for three chariots abreast. Walls are important.
“and you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates,” (Ezekiel 38:11)
However, by the time the last days arrive, Jerusalem is dwelling “safely”, that is, confidently. Some of this misguided attitude may be due to her mental state because Jerusalem has vanquished Damascus in Syria (Isaiah 17:1) and has defeated a large coalition of neighbors who attack her (perhaps in retribution for Syria’s defeat, Psalm 83). Israel relaxes her guard.
And her guard is not all that relaxes. For whatever reason, she had taken down her walls, bars, and gates. Israel never suspects the next attack, coming from a quarter she most assuredly should have suspected: Iran (Persia) and others: God says “I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush (Ethiopia) and Put (Libya) will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer (Turkey) with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah (Armenia) from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you.” It is a big alliance that also includes Russia. (Ezekiel 38:4-5)
Which is why this article caught my attention:
Israel takes down wall near West Bank settlement
The Israeli military yesterday began removing part of an eight-year-old concrete wall which once protected an Israeli settlement from gunfire and shelling, citing sharply improved security as the reason. The Palestinian Authority pointed out that the move, which does not affect the much longer 450-mile separation barrier, will have no impact on the lives of local Palestinians. But it seized on it as making the case for a wholesale easing of restrictions on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
I am not a military expert, but it seems to me the situation in and around Israel is more tense than less. Is more fraught with military intrigue and subterfuge, than not. The Gaza Flotilla attack in which Israel Defense Force soldiers were summarily battered with pipes and shot at was only a month ago. A Lebanese sniper shot an IDF soldier two weeks ago, when the soldier was simply pruning a tree. Yet Israel feels safe enough to remove a wall from behind which for many years snipers had shot and many attacks had come.
The people had fortified the walls in Isaiah’s day when they had not consulted God. Their strength was misplaced. The Assyrians came and they defeated Jerusalem, despite her fortified walls. Today, they are taking down a wall when they had not consulted God, again placing their own strength and abilities in reading the situation above God’s perspective. Israel’s problem today is the same as it was 3000 years ago: they need God. He is their wall, their hedge. And though He is close to them, and will save them from the coming attack of Gog-Magog alliance, they are not close to Him. Yet. The Gog-Magog battle will change all that. But meanwhile, Israel’s penchant for thinking her safe when she isn’t, continues. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!