Violent crime is nothing new to our twin cities, here in central Illinois, especially the last 5 years. While we may grow calloused to being bombarded constantly with news reports of tragedy, it hits a nerve when a child or teenager is struck down as was the case recently. As people try to solve issues on the political level, what is the spiritual role and responsibility of the Church?
Throughout history, God’s people have had a habit of getting off track. In those moments, He sought to raise up a servant with a prophetic voice to return them to their proper place to fulfill their purpose. We see Ezekiel as one of those people charged to call the Israelites to attention: “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, BUT I FOUND NO ONE” (22:30)
In those days, cities needed to be defended. If there were no natural defenses they built walls, sometimes 15’-25’ thick and 25’ high. Walls were an indication of a city’s strength and ability to fend off attacks. Atop these walls were watchmen constantly scanning the horizon who would warn of impending danger. They were the first line of defense. But due to corruption and wickedness in Judah, no one was found to fulfill this crucial role. They weren’t available to perform their duties and failed the people of the city who relied on them.
In the same way, much of the Church has grown worldly and apathetic. Not only have we failed to diligently stand on the wall, we’ve been negligent in protecting anyone except ourselves. The WALL is the prayers of the Church lifted up for the people of the city from the weakest to the strongest, youngest to the oldest. The voices that cry out against moral decay and compromise, leading the way to true repentance, and multitudes seeking after God. Then we will experience His justice and peace.
God is searching out the courageous who will stand on the wall and fight for their city–against an enemy who is ruthlessly trying to destroy His people. Individuals, small groups, congregations…all are being called up for active duty to drop to our knees and pray. Our cities don’t need our programs and one-time events which are ultimately self-serving. They need us practicing 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Matthew 28:18-20. Until then, the enemy is free to do what he wants.