Sometimes piles of rocks speak great truths for our lives. I caught a fresh reminder of this as Cathy and I just returned from several weeks in Israel. The fallen walls of Tel Lachish tapped me on the shoulder.
At Tel Lachish, I stood atop the ruins where the Assyrians laid siege to this fortified city during the reign of Hezekiah. The crumbling walls of Lachish illustrate a proverb I read this week in the Bible.
In fact, you will have the choice to apply the proverb before the sun goes down today.
Why We Need Walls
In ancient Israel, a city wasn’t a city without a wall. Without a wall, a community was simply an “unwalled village” (Ezek. 38:11). The wall served as the primary means of protection from an enemy.
Without a wall, you were a sitting duck.
This truth prepares our minds for a sobering proverb:
Like a city that is broken into and without walls
Is a man who has no control over his spirit. –Proverbs 25:28
How is a city wall broken into? In times of war, an enemy would surround a city wall and lay siege to it. This method purposed to starve the inhabitants of food and water—forcing surrender. Often a siege took months or even years. But it was very effective.
All it took was time.
On our recent tour to Israel, our group visited the Israel Museum. We saw artifacts from the siege on Tel Lachish:
- Arrowheads intended to pierce and destroy
- Sling stones designed to crush armor and skulls
- A wall relief that depicted the Assyrian battering ram that picked apart the city’s wall
Just as the Assyrians used a variety of methods to topple the walls of Lachish, so you’ll find that life will come at you from all directions.
The purpose of the attack? To breach the defenses of your patience.
(Photo: Lachish siege reliefs, photo by Cathy Stiles)
How to Choose a Strong Defense
Proverbs paints pictures that provoke our thinking.
A city without walls sits vulnerable. The same is true of you. Exercising restraint is not a restriction of your freedom. Self-control is self-protection.
Do you have control over your spirit? Let me ask that another way:
- When something doesn’t go your way, do you find yourself speaking to “correct” it?
- Do words spray from your tongue when you’re driving in heavy traffic?
- Do your leaders at church, at work, or in other places often hear you express your immediate frustration at how things should be done?
The natural outworking of obedience to the Spirit of God expresses itself in patience, among other actions (Galatians 5:22). Patience is the application of self-control to our spirits.
The Bible speaks to its benefits:
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his sprit, than he who captures a city. –Proverbs 16:32
But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . patience. —Galatians 5:22
Take another look at the video of the crumbling walls of Lachish—the great city in ruins. It’s a great picture of our potential.
Today, you stand on the wall. The war machines of life will do their best to pick at your patience until your wall finally gives way. Your choice to remain patient when provoked or attacked gives you a powerful defense in the battle of life.
Allow nothing or no one to penetrate your wall. Your patience is your protection.