I generally do not weigh in on “political debates.” Whether you support a wall to keep people out or if you support a welcome mat to invite the stranger in… that argument isn’t the point of this post. I find there is little Kingdom value in political debates and you usually just end up making someone mad. But when it comes to using the Bible to support certain political initiatives, I feel I can at least address the Biblical portion of the debate. Having given that disclaimer, I want to bring your attention to a popular meme circulating on Facebook. It states::
“I sought for a man among them who would build a wall and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land, that it should not be destroyed…” Ezekiel 22:30.
Unless I am wrong, the inference and purpose of this meme is, this Bible verse supports building a wall on America’s southern border. At least this seems to be the purpose…if you see it as something else, please let me know.
Here is the problem with this meme, its sentiment, and its errant use of the Biblical text :
- First, if you are going to use a Bible verse to support some political idea regarding immigration and border security, at least quote it accurately.
- The meme in question is a mixture of several different translations and a misquote of Ezekiel 22:30. The actual verse reads in its entirety (at least in the closest translation I can find to the original meme):
- “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30 NKJV
- Notice the scripture in the meme is only partially quoted. The last part “but I found no one” was omitted and not only that, an important word has been changed.
- The author of the meme chose to change the word “I” to “it.” Thus, bringing an entirely new meaning to the verse. The “I” in the original verse is “God.” The implication in the meme is that if the wall isn’t built the “land” or “it” will be destroyed by some outside invader. This could not be any further from the truth of the original verse’s meaning.
- In the original verse it is God who is going to destroy the land because of Israel’s sin. This is abundantly clear as the very next verse indicates: “So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!” Ezekiel 22:31 NKJV
- And the “Wall” is not a literal wall…it is a metaphor. God wanted someone to build a wall of righteousness and stand in the breach where the wall of righteousness had been broken down.
- The reason for the breach or gap in the wall was addressed in the prior verse (Ezekiel 22:29). It was because the people of the land mistreated the poor and needy and wrongfully oppressed the stranger.
- So, this verse is about God’s judgment on Israel for their rebellion, for their continued sinfulness of mistreating the poor and needy, and for wrongfully oppressing the stranger. This was NOT about America building a wall on its southern border.
- Second, I think it’s time for Christians to quit reaching back into Old Testament scripture to find support for political positions. This practice is fraught with dangerous consequences. Where does it stop? Do we also allow the elders to stone to death our rebellious, gluttonous, and drunken son as directed in Deuteronomy 21:19-21? And if we are going to use the proof texting of Ezekiel 22:30 to support building a wall, then mustn’t we also use the proof texting of Leviticus 19:33-34 to support a welcome mat allowing the stranger to live in our land as one born among us. “And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I [am] the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:33-34 NKJV
- To use either verse to support some political position for building a wall to keep strangers out or a welcome mat allowing strangers into the land, is a misinterpretation and misapplication of the scripture.
- Now if you want to take Jesus’ words from Matthew 25: 34-46 as a pattern for how the stranger should be treated that would work…It is a New Testament mandate Jesus gave to the church. It’s an actionable way of demonstrating love for God and our neighbor…the two greatest commandments. I highly encourage you to read that text to get Jesus’ view on the subject.
The only Kingdom the Christian should be concerned with is the Kingdom of God. It saddens me to see Christians more concerned about the kingdoms of this world, the politics and parties of this world than they are the Kingdom of God. As believers we are not part of the systems and kingdoms of this world.
And I leave you with the words of Jesus our Savior:
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life–whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So, don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So, don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:24-34 NLT
What about you? Are you tired of all the political infighting? It’s time we quit abusing and proof texting the Holy Scripture just to make a political point. Are you ready to totally embrace the Kingdom of God and pledge your allegiance to Him? I am, and I hope you will join me.
Well said my friend. Well said.
Well said Keith….
Thank you Don.