Big Walls Comin' Down!
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Big Walls Comin' Down!

I remember when the Berlin Wall that separated East Germany from West Germany came down. The people on the East had been oppressed by Socialist rule. The wall stood from 1961 to 1989. It was originally built by the East, a Socialist regime, to "protect the people from fascist elements". The wall stood as a testament to the barrier to freedom the East German people risked their lives to cross.They were not allowed to live out faith in Christ, make decisions against the propoganda pushed by the Socialist government, to buy and sell freely, and so much more that we take for granted here. In 1990 the demolition began when government officials opened up the East to the West. People celebrated as they broke out segments of the "Wall of Shame". (Wikipedia  The song, "99 Red Balloons"  by Nena was written to commemorate the day freedom began. I was privileged to see artwork displayed at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago done by a German artist who commemorated the event in her artwork. People long for freedom and celebrate it when they finally experience it; however, many remain oppressed because they don't know they can be free.

Captivity has been around for a very long time. Israel had been in captivity oppressed by the Egyptians for an outrageously long time. God freed them through the leadership of Moses. Yet these people whined to go back into captivity, when they were free out in the desert! What an ungrateful bunch. However, God fulfilled His promise by leading them into the promised land of Canaan through the leadership of Joshua. They were free, but had not come to experience the full effect of freedom until this time because they weren't willing to let go of the captivity experience.

Their desert training had ended and the hard work of freedom had only begun. The first order of business was to set themselves apart for the Lord. The men had to be circumcised as a sign of the Covenant Israel had with God. Then Joshua was met with an unusual sight: a Man with His sword drawn. A drawn sword means something, for sure. When I participated in martial arts tournaments, as we approached the judges to perform a sword kata, the sword had to be sheathed. When it was drawn out of it's sheath, unless the handle was presented first to the judges, it was taken as an act of aggression. So it was in Joshua's time, but he thought to ask whose side this Man was on. Amazingly, it was the Commander of the Lord's Army! Joshua was shown that Israel would not go into battle alone to clear out the land as God commanded. They had divine help.

Their first order of business was to clear out Jericho, but it was in a very unconventional manner. Cities at that time were protected by large thick walls designed to keep out attackers and wild animals. Jericho had such a wall. The people of the city closed the gate because they heard about Israel coming. Inside was a prostitute named Rahab who protected Joshua and the spies who came to see what they were up against. She and her family were not to be harmed  as long as she tied a scarlet cord from her window as a sign they were there. She lived inside the wall, as was normal for such cities. These walls were thick enough to have homes inside their walls. This was Israel's first physical obstacle into free living in their new land.

God told Joshua to have Israel march around the city once a day for six days. On the seventh day, they were to march around the city seven times, the priests were to blow their trumpets, and on the long blast of the trumpet the people of Israel were to shout as loud as they could. The Lord said the wall would come down, then they were to overtake the city. And so it happened. They rescued Rahab and her family first, then followed God's orders. I imagine the people of Jericho scratching their heads about this unusual way of taking a city. Not one arrow flew. Not one battering ram came out. Only a very large group of people with the priests leading the way carrying the Ark of the Covenant. Every day, they marched around the city then went home. The conversation between the guards on the wall of Jericho may have gone something like this: "Hey, get a load of this. They're back! Ho-hum. There they go again. This odd group will march around once and go home." The other guard replies, "Yeh, what a bunch of losers." Then suddenly Israel takes another lap, and another. "Hey, Bro, what's this? Maybe they are going around a few more times for good measure! Ha-ha_ha!" Then suddenly the horns blow, the people outside shout, and the wall shakes and crumbles! Who is the laugh on now, boys?

The captives weren't inside the walls, they were outside. They had been already freed, but they had to trust God fully to experience His promise fulfilled. There was also work on their part, but God sent them through a desert training experience-- a sort of spiritual boot camp. God revealed His power and leadership as the Commander of the Lord's Army. It was the Lord who caused the wall to fall, not the noise. The noise simply was a distraction for the people of Jericho. It probably caused them to tremble because it was not an ordinary day, but the day of their demise.God wanted the land cleared for Israel to live unhindered in their faith in Him. He wanted to bless them with an abundance. But He also knew they would struggle with their newfound freedom. Centuries later, He sent the final provision of freedom through Jesus's death on the cross and His rising from the dead to offer us a new life.

Often we are very much like the Israelites. We say we want freedom from bondage to a host of things. Most of the clients and gym members I've helped over the years were in bondage to lies they grew up with as children: you aren't lovable, you aren't beautiful, you are ugly, you will never amount to anything, you can never please me (significant adults). They compounded that slavery to food, fad diets, hiding shame in fat, inappropriate sexual behavior, immobilized by fear of rejection, pain, and guilt. They wanted to lose weight, but they kept themselves enslaved to the lies by wanting to be perfect, be sexy, look pretty, be thin. They wound up  walled in by fad diets, crazy schedules, and cruel taskmaster personal trainers who fed the lies with more lies. The bricks they used to build another wall could be crashed to pieces with something quite unusual-- trusting God. By letting God rule in their lives, they could put to death the lies from the past by replacing them with the Truth in Scripture. By putting God first in their lives, they could find peace and freedom from the craziness.

The people of East Germany found freedom by tearing down the Berlin wall, but they struggled to adjust to their newfound freedom. There was work to do to secure their freedom and learning to live freely. Just as the people of Israel struggled with their newfound freedom, they had work to do trusting God to take them forward. When we are free in Christ, we must allow Him to rule in our lives to find true freedom. Otherwise, we enslave ourselves with people-pleasing, addictions, and placing ourselves on His throne. Do we take His offer of help as an act of aggression or do we see that He comes in peace, ready with sword drawn for our defense? That wall can come down and lies can be laid to rest by His strong right hand with sword ready. It begins with the Lord and the Truth found in His Word.  This life isn't about what the world views as perfection. It isn't about looks. It isn't even about happiness, honestly. Your journey to becoming totally fit begins with trusting God to lead you through your journey. Let Him break down the walls that separate you from Him. Find refreshment for your journey-- in Him. Will you trust Jesus to take you forward into living a life of freedom?

May God bless you!

99 Luftballons by Nena (German version of 99 Red Balloons also done by Nena. Link to English version in first paragraph)

99 Red Balloons Lyrics Nena Lyrics A-Z Lyrics.

Photo credits:
Berlin Wall with grafitti

Berlin Wall falls

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