Prayer Targets: Moral Wall; Border/Shutdown; Born-Alive Infant Protection; Presidential Invitation
February 13, 2019
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. (Pr 25:28)
Dear Praying Friends,
Dr. Wayne Grudem, presently Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary, has taught biblical ethics for 41 years. A graduate of Harvard (BA), Westminster Seminary (MDiv), and Cambridge (PhD), he has authored more than 15 books. These are excerpts from his article, "Why Building a Border Wall Is a Morally Good Action":
The Bible itself repeatedly views protective walls with favor.
Walls gave peace and security. In the world of the Old Testament, people built walls around cities to protect themselves from thieves, murderers, and other criminals, and from foreign invaders who would seek to destroy the city. People could still enter the city, but they had to do so by the gate, so that city officials would have some control over who was coming in and going out. Today's debate is about a larger area -- a national border, not a city -- but the principles are the same.
A strong wall gave peace and security to the city, and one prayer of blessing for a city was, "Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!" (Ps 122:7). There was also a spiritual component, for the Lord himself strengthened the gates in the walls so they would protect the children and the peace and prosperity of a city:
Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you. He makes peace in your borders; he fills you with the finest of the wheat (Ps 147:12-14).
After King David established his capital in Jerusalem, he prayed, "Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem" (Ps 51:18) -- God's blessing would include strong walls! King Solomon finished and strengthened the wall around Jerusalem (1 Kgs 3:1).
But the people of Israel strayed from God, and he brought judgment in the form of Babylonian invaders who broke down and destroyed the city wall: "And they burned the house of God and broke down the wall of Jerusalem..." (2 Chr 36:19; cf. Jer 52:14). God's judgment removed the walls! So long as the wall around Jerusalem was broken down, it was a mark of shame and derision: "The remnant... who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire" (Neh 1:3).
The pathetic shame of a city without walls is also evident in this proverb: "A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls" (Pr 25:28). The implication is that such a man and such a city are both headed for destruction.
After 70 years of exile in Babylon, the Jewish people were able to return and rebuild Jerusalem's wall. Nehemiah asked Persian king Artaxerxes for timber to build the wall and its gates: "And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me" (Neh 2:8) ... The leader of the government authorized the allocation of materials to build the wall.
Nehemiah needed laborers for the massive task of rebuilding the wall. He challenged the people, "Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision" (Neh 2:17). Fortunately, "the people had a mind to work" (Neh 4:6). An entire chapter of Nehemiah is devoted to recording the names of people who rebuilt the wall, specifying the section each person repaired (Neh 3). Having their names forever in the pages of the Hebrew Bible -- was a significant honor for those who repaired the wall. It was a morally commendable act.
There was a great celebration when the wall was completed: [to dedicate the wall] they sought the Levites . . . to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with thanksgivings and was singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres... Then I... appointed two great choirs that gave thanks" (Neh 12:27, 31).
At the end of the New Testament, the apostle John had a vision of the New Jerusalem, a great city that comes down from heaven, that includes a wall: "a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels" (Rev 21:12). Whether literal or a symbolic prophetic vision, it is clear that the wall protects the peace and security of those who are within.
My conclusion from this overview is that the Bible views border walls as a morally good thing, something for which to thank God. Walls on a border are a major deterrent to evil and they provide clear visible evidence that a city or nation has control over who enters it, something absolutely essential if a government is going to prevent a nation from devolving into more and more anarchy...
America's walls are broken down today in many respects. We have become precisely like the man in Pr 25:28, who, lacking self-control, was destroyed by the internal and external enemies of his soul, left without walls and defenseless. Doctrines of demons are now being preached and taught widely and even being enforced by cultural power brokers. Lacking spiritual discernment, some misguided Americans want to see what has happened to America morally and spiritually to be replicated in the sphere of our physical borders and homeland security.
Border Security-Shutdown Negotiations -- Friday is the deadline for Democrats and Republicans to reach an agreement on the border wall or there will be another government shutdown. President Trump has said he does not want a shutdown and he is willing to compromise. But he also says he is not happy with the plan that has been, so far, hammered out in negotiations. The compromise so far includes less than a quarter of the $5.7 billion he requested, which would cover just 55 miles of border fencing, not the 200 miles he wanted. On the positive side, Democrats withdrew their demand that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reduce the number of illegal detainees it is presently holding and provided for needed expansion. But the deal doesn't include any meaningful immigration reform, even the controversial DACA program the president said he would be willing to approve. In negotiation still is whether Democrats will attempt to restrain the president from accessing other sources of money that he has suggested he might if Congress does not meet his demands. Those who know his mind well say the president will construct the wall, even if he must declare the wall a national security emergency. Presuming the compromise bill does not require any such restrictions on the president, he is most likely to sign it and then revert to secondary plans, though he has made clear that he prefers to act with both Democrat and Republican support. Amidst all this, the president's approval rating among all Americans has surged by 7 percent. (Read: Tony Perkins: Fence and Sensibility; Trump may Sign; President will Get Funds from other Sources; Pres. House GOP Leaders will wait to see details; Trump Approval Surges)
- Heavenly Father, we have departed far from you as a people, and to the degree we have, we have lost our common sense. We appeal to your mercy, Lord. Grant us time to repent. Save us from our foolishness and mischief. Guide our president and Congress to craft sensible measures to protect our borders, expand and strengthen our border walls, and stop illegal immigration into our country. Lord, even as the ancient Jews pleaded with you to strengthen their gates and the walls of their cities, please strengthen ours. We look to you to be our strength and our security! (2 Chr 29:6; Pr 1:7; 9:10; 14:27; 19:23; 24:21; Ps 91:1-16; 122:7; Is 49:16; Is 54:2)
Born Alive Infant Protection -- The reaction to late-term abortion among professed pro-life Americans and even among those who identify as "pro-choice" has not subsided since New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislators giddily celebrated their passage of the most extreme abortion bill in America. Since then, other pro-abortion state leaders have jumped on the New York bandwagon and doubled down instead of responding to the public, more determined than ever to further expand abortion rights, even to "enshrine" them in their own state constitutions. Democrats prevented Sen. Ben Sasse's (R-Neb.) Born-Alive Infants Protection Act from obtaining unanimous consent in that chamber. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says he will bring the bill to the floor for a vote. Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) are pursuing a discharge petition to force a floor vote on the bill that Wagner sponsored in the House. McConnell and Scalise want American voters to know which of their Senators and Representatives support infanticide and which do not. Amid the national backlash, Vermont legislators have doubled down to pass a new abortion law with no limits, and Illinois Gov.J.B. Pritzker, who has vowed to make Illinois' abortion laws "the most progressive in the nation" has four lawmakers introducing legislation to do just that. Additionally, Michael Busch, Speaker of the House in the Maryland Legislature, has introduced a bill to amend the Maryland Constitution to "enshrine" abortion rights. In 1992, 61 percent of Marylanders passed a referendum to allow unlimited abortion in that state. But a new survey shows that a majority of Americans from both sides of the aisle reject abortion radicalism. This gives pro-lifers an opportunity we have not seen for a long time. (See Is the Party over for Dem Extremists?; Republicans Pushing; 2019 Maryland Abortion Amendment Threat; 1992 Commentary on MD Referendum; Illinois: "Really Bad Stuff?")
- God, please intervene to prevent these radical new abortion initiatives to succeed. Please stop these misguided leaders and states from leading their people and America even deeper into a culture of death. Rather, please help us to use this powerful moment following New York's foray into deep abortion darkness (and other states) to be strong salt and a bright light to win even more Americans to embrace the value and sanctity of human life. Turn the tide to life, Oh Lord! (Gen 45:7; Ps 16:1; 40:11; 79:11; Pr 24:11-12; Mt 18:6; 28:19-20)
A Special Invitation from the President to a National Pro-Life Conference Call
If you are a pastor or other Christian leader, please join Tony Perkins and FRC's Church Ministries Division in responding to the president's invitation to join him and other Senior White House officials in a special conference call tomorrow at 12 Noon ET. Read the letter (below) from the Special Assistant to the President for the Office of Public Liaison and RSVP using the link in the letter.
As always, thank you for praying!
The White House invites you to join a conversation with The President and Senior White House Officials to discuss the importance of Life at every stage. As mentioned in the President's State of the Union Address, Life is a top priority for the Administration, so we hope you can join us tomorrow to hear more from The President directly.
The call will be held on Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. EST. If you would like to join the call, please RSVP below to receive dial-in information.
Call-In Information: RSVP HERE (You will receive unique dial-in information after you register through the link.)
Please feel free to reach out with any questions and we look forward to you joining tomorrow's important call,
Deputy Assistant to the President
Director, Office of Public Liaison