“. . . but satan hindered us.” (1Thes 2:18)
In an email I mentioned something about coming to believe there are no walls, only sign posts. When I think about this a bit, I get a mental picture of a person banging his or her head against a wall, then looking at me and saying “So, what’s this I’m hitting?” I might answer, “Well, yes, I suppose it looks like a wall. It’s really a sign. Really.”
In Daniel chapter five, we are told of the handwriting that appears on the wall as a King Belshazzar’s feast. The King is terrified. None of the King’s men are able to translate it. In comes Daniel, again. It is from this story that we get the expression “See the Handwriting on the Wall.”
So, first we must see the handwriting on the wall. In my earlier mental picture, the man or woman must stop banging against the wall and read the writing upon it. And every wall has some writing on it. If it’s not readily apparent, as in Daniel, perhaps the fingers of a man’s hand will appear to write the message. And we ought pray that it is the Hand of the Lord that writes His words on the wall.
While seeing is believing, it doesn’t mean that we understand the writing, does it? In the case of the terrified King Belshazzar, the Lord used Daniel to translate the words on the wall. In the case of each of us, too, the Lord must reveal His word to us, translating the message into a language from which we can make meaning.
The great evangelist to the Gentiles, the Apostle Paul, wrote to the Thessalonians that he wanted to come to them (1Thes 2:18) time and again. Was Paul banging against a wall. Paul says, “satan hindered us.” Eventually Paul’s group “thought it good to be left in Athens alone, and sent Timothy. . .” to establish and encourage the Thessalonians in their faith. (1Thes 3:2)
If it seems that I bang against a wall, if it seems as though no sign of direction appears from the mystical hand of the Lord, might I not take heart from Paul’s own words about his head banging. In perseverance we will receive a word from G-d, we will not only see the handwriting on the wall, we will understand it too.
It occurs to me that walls are signs and also boundaries that direct us along a pre-assigned course, a destiny. As boundaries, they may not even be visible, as in one of Paul’s adventures, recounted by Luke in Acts 16:6,7: “Now when they had gone through Pyrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.” We aren’t told how the Spirit prevented their preaching. But later we are told that they were directed to Macedonia to preach there.
There is one other example of a wall/sign/boundary that might be helpful to think about. Paul, himself, put up a wall to his own freedom. He’d wanted for some time to visit Rome. On his way to Jerusalem, it was prophesied that he’d be bound and imprisoned if he continued on his journey to Jerusalem, and indeed, once there, we was jailed. While in prison, he appealed to Caesar. (Acts 25:11). At his trial nothing was found to hold him. “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.” (Acts 26:32) So Paul was sent to Caesar, in Rome. Paul got a free ride to the place he wanted to visit, to evangelize, and along the way evangelized onboard the ship and in Malta after the shipwreck. I suppose it wasn’t exactly first-class ticket and accommodations, but some great things did happen along the way.
Walls, both invisible and invisible, provide a channel to guide us along in our life. Exciting isn’t it? The Creator of the Universe, Creator of us all, loves us enough to save us from ourselves and guide us in our new, abundant, resurrected lives. And in all this He takes pleasure in us. What a journey. How awesome is our G-d!
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .