Hello From the Other Side: When the Enemy Is Outside the Gates and On the Other Side of the Wall







Today’s selected passage continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah, and more specifically, begins with the eleventh verse of the thirty-ninth chapter, and continues through to the sixteenth verse of the fortieth chapter. WHEN ENEMIES SIT IN THE GATE AND KINGS FLEE! What do you do when the adversaries are sitting in the gate and the king flees in terror and panic? What do you do when that which was intended to guard and protect the people of God is suddenly broken up and the enemy has been permitted to march straight up? When you come to the thirty-ninth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah you will discover that in the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and besieged it. In the second verse of this same chapter we read that in the eleventh year, and in the fourth month, the city was broken up—words which reveal that a breach was made in the wall of the city and the city was exposed to the adversary. It’s interesting to note that for almost two years the city of Jerusalem lay under siege by the adversary and foe, and for nearly two years the adversary was not only outside the walls of the city, but surrounded the city with a great force. For nearly two years the adversary surrounded the city and was outside the walls and before the gates. What an incredibly interesting picture it is to think that not only were there a number of men, women and children confined within the walls of the city of Jerusalem, but the city itself was surrounded by a vast army. For nearly two years the enemy surrounded the city of Jerusalem, and there was absolutely no way of escaping the grip and clutches of the enemy. For almost two years those within the walls and gates of Jerusalem arose each morning and went to sleep each night—if they even could sleep—knowing the enemy was just outside the walls, and just outside the gates. Day and night for almost two years the people of God lived with the constant knowledge that the enemy and adversary was present outside the walls, and there was absolutely no way of avoiding the presence of the adversary. For two years the enemy and adversary surrounded the gates and stood before the walls, and those within the city knew the enemy was present just on the other side of the walls. JUST ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALLS! BEYOND THE GATES AND ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALLS! I am convinced there are a number of men and women who presently find themselves in this very same place and very same position. There are men and women who right now are going to sleep every night and waking up every morning knowing the enemy and adversary is just outside the gates and on the other side of the walls. There are men and women who right now have been living in a place where the enemy and adversary has laid siege to their lives and has surrounded them with a great force. I am convinced there are men and women who are living in the place where their homes are surrounded by the enemy and adversary as the enemy is just outside the gates and on the other side of the walls. WHEN THE ENEMY IS OUTSIDE THE PLACE OF PASSAGE AND ON THE OTHER SIDE OF PROTECTION. The walls of Jerusalem were intended to provide protection for the inhabitants who lived and dwelt behind them, and the gates were intended to provide passage into the city and out of the city. With the adversary beyond the gates and surrounding the city, that which was intended to allow the inhabitants to enter in and to go out had been cut off. With the army of Babylon outside the walls and on the other side of the gates, those within the city were confined within the city. The prophet Jeremiah made it very clear to all those who remained within the city—either leave the city and agree to serve the king of Babylon, or remain within the city and witness it become your prison, and eventually your tomb. It’s worth noting that the city of Jerusalem—that which was to be the joy of the whole earth—could actually become a prison that would confine men and women within it, and ultimately become a tomb. WHEN A CITY BECOMES A PRISON AND A PRISON BECOMES A TOMB! How incredibly interesting it is that the same place that served as the place of the altar and the place of the throne could actually become a prison, and eventually a tomb. Please don’t miss the signficance and importance of this concept, for I believe that this stands to speak of something more than simply a physical city that existed within the land of Israel. The city of Jerusalem was that place which contained the Temple of the Lord, and the palace of the king, yet even this place could and would eventually become a prison that would turn into a tomb for a number of men and women. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and pay attention to this, for there is a powerful prophetic truth that is contained within it.

 What happens when the place of the altar becomes a prison for those within it? What happens when the place of the throne becomes a tomb for those within it? The city of Jerusalem contained within it the Temple of the Lord, and it was within the Temple of the Lord that the altar of burnt sacrifice and offering was found. When the enemy surrounded the city of Jerusalem and was present beyond the gates and on the other side of the walls, the Temple of the Lord still stood in the midst of the city, and the palace of the king still remained in the midst of it. In those days, it didn’t matter that the place of the altar, nor the place of the throne were present within the city, for both would be utterly and completely destroyed by the enemy and adversary. When the city was broken up and a breach was made in the wall, not only would the enemy and adversary sit in the gate of the city, but both the Temple and the palace would be destroyed by fire. The city of Jerusalem which was once a vibrant center of worship that attracted men and women from various nations, languages and lands was now surrounded by the army of the enemy, and thus the altar was completely cut off from those who would worship the Lord. With the enemy outside the walls and on the other side of the gates, both the Temple and the altar were cut off from the nations of the earth, and Jerusalem was and could no longer be a blessing to the nations and peoples round about it. The Lord set Jerusalem at the center of nations in order that all nations, peoples, languages and lands could come to His holy mountain and worship Him. What a far cry the city of Jerusalem was during the days of Jeremiah, for the city was now surrounded by an invading enemy army, and the gates were completely cut off from those who perhaps at one point entered through them. When the army of Nebuchadnezzar surrounded the city of Jerusalem, not only was Jerusalem—with the Temple and altar of the Lord—cut off from the nations and peoples round about Judah, but those within the city and behind the walls were confined in the midst of the city. How tragic it is to be confined in the very place the altar of the Lord is found, and yet that place will ultimately become a prison the binds you. How tragic it is to be confined in the very place of sacrifice and offering, and yet that place is nothing more than a prison that keeps you shut in, locked up, separated and cut off from anything else outside and around you.

 I am convinced that there are many churches in the earth right now that are nothing more than prisons which confine men and women within them, and effectively cut them off from that which is around them. There are men and women who may come to the house of the Lord week in and week out, and yet the place of the altar is nothing more than a prison in which they experience more bondage than anything else. The inhabitants of Jerusalem had among them in their midst the Temple of the Lord with the altar of burnt offering and sacrifice, and yet that city would be for them a prison that would completely isolate, separate and cut them off from that which was beyond the walls. Is it possible to be in the very place the altar of the Lord is found, and yet find yourself living in a place where you are completely isolated, separated and cut off from everything that is round you? Is it possible that you can be in the place of sacrifice and offering and find yourself cut off from that which you once enjoyed and experienced in your life? The inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem had undoubtedly spent years living behind the walls and gates of that city in complete freedom, for they could come and go as they saw fit within their lives. With the presence of the enemy and adversary outside the walls of the city, that which was once enjoyable for the people of God had now become burdensome, for even though they were still behind the walls of the city, their freedom was completely gone and stripped. Oh, they were still permitted to move to and fro within and throughout the city, yet they could not venture beyond or outside the walls—at least not according to their own desire. With the enemy and adversary present outside the walls and gates of the city, the inhabitants within were completely cut off and shut off from the outside world, and the only thing they knew was being confined behind those walls. Oh, those walls and gates were at one point a source of tremendous joy, peace, blessing, rest and security for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, yet now those same walls and gates were a tremendous burden which many found difficult to bear. Isn’t it amazing what the presence of the enemy can produce within your life, for that which once stood and served as a source of great joy, delight and pleasure now becomes wearisome, burdensome and grueling? When the enemy and adversary was nowhere in sight, the walls and gates of Jerusalem were a source of great promise, provision, protection and prosperity for the people of God, yet the minute the enemy surrounded the city and laid siege to it, those walls and gates became something they never desired.

 There are men and women who right now are living in a place where that which was once a source of great joy and delight for them is actually a tremendous burden for them. There are men and women who right now are living in a place where that which was once a source of rest and peace for them is no longer such, and has actually become more of a prison than anything. For some, marriage can be that which once provided great joy and delight, yet has since become something that is absolutely unbearable. For some, a job and place of employment can become burdensome when it was once a source of great delight and joy. For some, ministry is something that has become unbearable, and perhaps even intolerable, as it no longer provides for them any source of joy, comfort and delight. There are still others who once enjoyed a specific activity or experience, yet now that same activity has become a burden because of the presence of the enemy outside the walls and on the other side of the gates. Do you find yourself in this place right now? Permit me a moment to be incredibly bold right now and say that if you presently find yourself in this place—the place where that which once served as great delight and pleasure for you—the enemy may very well be outside the walls and on the other side of the gates. The presence of the enemy and adversary outside the walls and on the other side of the gates can transform a city like Jerusalem—the city of the Great King where He placed His holy name—into a prison that would eventually become a tomb. The presence of the enemy and adversary outside the gates and wall of the city completely transformed that which was the joy of the whole earth into a place of complete misery and sorrow. Zion—which was supposed to be the joy of the whole earth—was now a place of sorrow and anguish for those living within it. Despite the fact that the throne of David was still present behind the walls, and despite the fact that the altar of the Lord was still present within the city, the city of Jerusalem with its walls and gates was actually a place that would bring such great sorrow, anguish and agony. I am convinced there are men and women who right now find themselves in the place of the altar and the throne—in the house of God—and yet the house of God seems to be, and feels like nothing more than a prison with walls and bars all around them. There are men and women who may come to the house of the Lord week after week, yet the presence of the enemy on the other side of the walls and outside the gates has completely stripped it of the joy, the peace, the rest, the pleasure and delight that once presided within their hearts. In other words—despite the fact that the altar of the Lord is still found in the house of the Lord, there seems to be no more peace, no more joy, no more delight, no more pleasure in that place. There are men and women who right now are living in this very place—the place where they enter into the house of the Lord week after week, and yet because the enemy is outside the gates and on the other side of the walls in their lives, the house of the Lord has become a prison, and perhaps even a tomb.

 JERUSALEM NEEDED NEVER BE A PRISON NOR A TOMB FOR THOSE WHO DWELT WITHIN AND BEHIND ITS WALLS. Despite the fact that the enemy was outside the gates and on the other side of the wall, the city of Jerusalem did not have to be a prison which bound and confined countless men and women. What’s more, is that the city of Jerusalem did not have to be a tomb for countless men and women who dwelt within and in the midst of it. Jerusalem would only be a prison and eventually become a tomb if those within it refused to go out to the king, submit themselves before him, and agree to serve him. The prophet Jeremiah provided the inhabitants of Jerusalem with a certain way to escape the possibility and reality of Jerusalem becoming a prison that would eventually become a tomb. As a side note, I am convinced that there might have been those who experienced Jerusalem as a prison which completely isolated, separated and cut them off from any reality beyond the walls, and they were unwilling to allow Jerusalem to become their tomb. Jerusalem would only become a tomb for those who chose to remain behind the walls and gates rather than coming out and agreeing to serve the king of Babylon. THE ONLY HOPE FOR LIFE IS OUTSIDE THE WALLS AND BEYOND THE GATES! How many men and women right now are completely unable to experience life because they are unwilling to move outside the walls and beyond the gates? They would rather remain behind the walls and gates, not realizing or recognizing that by doing so, they would be confining themselves to a prison that would eventually become their tomb. This particular passage of Scripture reveals that when once the enemy merely existed on the other side of the gates—once the wall was broken through and the city was broken up, the enemy was now permitted to sit in the gate. When the enemy is permitted and allowed to sit in the gate, the enemy controls anything and everything that goes in, and anything and everything that goes out. It is absolutely and incredibly dangerous for the enemy and adversary to sit in the place of the gate, for once the enemy is permitted to sit in the place of the gate, the enemy controls all access into and out of that place. Please mark these words and mark them well, for if the enemy is permitted to sit in the place of the gate within your life, he can control anything and everything goes in and comes out. What’s more, the enemy and adversary can control all access in your life, and is in a place of control and authority. So long as the enemy was merely outside the gates and on the other side of the wall, the people of God still retained some type of control over and within the city. Once a breach was made and the city was broken up, the enemy was no longer outside but inside.

 There is an incredibly popular song by contemporary artist Adele that contains the famous line “Hello from the other side,” and I am going to attempt to borrow this line and adapt it to the prophetic book of Jeremiah. For quite sometime time, the adversary and enemy was nothing more than a distant possibility—one that could not be seen, nor heard, nor even felt by those within Judah and those within the city of Jerusalem. As the years continued to move, and as time continued to progress, there would eventually come a time when the enemy was no longer a distant possibility, but a present reality within and in the midst of the land. At one point the enemy and adversary was a distant reality outside the land, yet eventually the enemy was no longer merely a distant reality outside the land, but a present reality within the land. Despite the fact the enemy and adversary was within and in the midst of the land, the adversary had not yet touched the city of Jerusalem. I mean after all—don’t you remember what happened during the days of Hezekiah when Sennacherib king of Assyria invaded the land of Judah and threatened the city of Jerusalem? The Lord declared through the prophet Isaiah that the enemy would not launch a single arrow within the walls of the city, and would not enter into the city. The prophet Isaiah proclaimed the enemy and adversary would not enter into the city of Jerusalem, nor would launch a single arrow within it. The prophet Jeremiah, however, prophesied something completely different during his day, for despite the fact the Lord would deliver the city of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib and the Assyrian army, the Lord would actually deliver the city of Jerusalem into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. When Nebuchadnezzar and his army was on the other side of the wall and outside the gates, it was “hello from the inside” of the inheritance, and “hello from the other side of the wall and gates.” No longer was Nebuchadnezzar and his army a distant possibility, but they were now on the other side of the wall and outside the gates having completely surrounded the city of Jerusalem. It was in this place that we find Zedekiah king of Judah being seized with panic, terror, and fear, and actually making an attempt to flee for his life by escaping the city. The prophet Jeremiah describes how the Chaldean army pursued after him, overtook him in the plains of Jericho, and brought him to Nebuchadnezzar where judgment and sentence was passed upon him. Zedekiah represents those who refused to serve the king of Babylon, and those who thought they could somehow evade that which had been decreed by the Lord. Immediately following this, Jeremiah describes how the Chaldeans burned the king’s house, and the houses of the people with fire. Moreover, the broke down the walls of Jerusalem and carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away.

 When we read this particular chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah, we not only find destruction and devastation within the city of Jerusalem, but we also find tremendous mercy—mercy that cannot be attributed to the king of Babylon, but mercy that can be attributed to the Lord of hosts. In the tenth verse of this chapter we read how Nebuzar-Adam the captain of the guard left of the poor of the people, which had nothing, in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time. Pause for a moment and consider this reality—the reality that those who were perhaps rejected, ostracized and treated as outcasts found themselves obtaining an inheritance of their own. When others were being carried away captive, there was a people that were obtaining vineyards and fields within the land. Not only were they received vineyards and fields within the land, but these were permitted to remain within the land and were not carried away as captives. Please don’t miss the signficance and importance of this, for even though the Lord brought judgment upon the city of Jerusalem, the Lord preserved a remnant both in the midst of the inheritance, and in the midst of captivity. The Lord preserved some through captivity, and the Lord preserved others through remaining in the midst of the land. There were a number of men and women who were going to be preserved by walking through and enduring captivity in a strange and foreign land, while there were others who were going to be preserved by remaining within the land. How incredible it is to think that even while many were being carried away captive, there would still be those who would receive inheritance, possession and blessing within the land. It’s almost as if they had been despised and rejected for so long that the Lord had brought them in to the place where their time had come to obtain an inheritance in the midst of the land. There were those who were instructed to build houses, plant vineyards and sow in fields in the land of the Chaldeans, while there were others who were permitted to remain within the land, and were given fields and vineyards of their own. What a tremendous act of mercy was put on display by the Lord—that He would deliberately grant the poor of the people vineyards and fields within the land. Not only were they given vineyards and fields, but they were also permitted to remain in the inheritance. It’s almost as if during the days of captivity, the Lord was elevating the poor in the midst of the land, as He gave them vineyards and fields which they had not previously possessed.

 Within this same chapter we not only find the poor being given vineyards and fields within the land, but we also find Jeremiah being carried forth from the court of the prison, and committed unto Gedaliah who was appointed as governor over the land of Judah. In other words—despite the fact that many were being carried away captive, the poor were given fields and vineyards, and Jeremiah was carried home where he would dwell among his people. Within this chapter we find the poor permitted to remain in the land, and given fields and vineyards in the midst thereof. We also find Jeremiah being delivered and brought forth from the court of the prison, and being carried home where he would dwell among the people. Finally, we would find Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian being given a tremendous promise from the Lord that he would be delivered, and would not fall by the sword, nor would be given into the hand of the men of whom he was afraid. During these days there were those who were given fields and vineyards, there was one who was delivered out of the hand of those of whom he was afraid, and there was another who was carried home from the court of the prison, and being permitted to dwell among his people. How incredibly merciful is the Lord who would not only permit certain of inhabitants of the land to not only remain in the land, but also to obtain fields and vineyards in the midst of the land. How incredibly merciful was the Lord that He brought forth Jeremiah from the court of the prison, carried him home, and allowed him to dwell in the midst of the people. All of this proves one key and incredibly powerful reality—the reality that even though the Lord brought judgment upon the city of Jerusalem and the inhabitants of the land, He would and could not make a complete end of His people. The Lord permitted a portion of His people to be carried away captive into the land of the Chaldeans where He would watch over, preserve and protect them, while He also permitted a portion of His people to remain in the land where He would also watch over, preserve and protect them. There was a remnant preserved and protected in the midst of desolation, devastation and destruction, while there were others who were preserved and protected in the midst of captivity and exile. Where is the Lord preserving, protecting and watching over you right now? There are those who find themselves in a strange and foreign land, yet they aren’t even aware of the fact the Lord is preserving and protecting them in the midst of, and in spite of that. There are those who find themselves standing and living in the midst of desolation, destruction and devastation all around them, and yet it’s in and from that place the Lord has agreed to preserve and protect them.

 PRESERVED IN THE PLACE OF DEVASTATION AND DESTRUCTION! PRESERVED IN THE PLACE OF CAPTIVITY AND EXILE! I am powerfully and wonderfully convinced the Lord preserves men and women in both of these places—places very few are willing to acknowledge and even admit even exist. We seem to think the Lord only preserves and protects in the place of prosperity, promise, blessing and the like, yet the truth of the matter is that that simply isn’t the case. We tend to think the Lord can and will only protect and preserve us in the place of favor and grace without recognizing and realizing the Lord can preserve and protect in the most unlikely and unexpected places. There were those whom the Lord protected and preserved in the place of devastation, desolation, destruction and ruin, while there were those whom the Lord protected and preserved in the place of captivity and exile. How absolutely marvelous and wonderful it is to consider the fact that the Lord can not only protect and preserve us during times of peace, prosperity and blessing, but the Lord can also protect and preserve us in the place of desolation, devastation, and destruction. The Lord can protect and preserve us—even when we are surrounded by ruins and rubble. It is true the bricks have fallen all around us, and we are surrounded by dirt, dust and debris, yet it is in that place the Lord has promised to preserve and protect us. Moreover, the Lord can even protect and preserve us in a strange and foreign land—in a land where a threat of annihilation arises, and in a land where we are demanded to bow down and worship an image made of gold. The Lord doesn’t only protect and preserve us when times are going well, and when we are living in and experiencing prosperity, promise and blessing. The Lord can preserve and protect us in the midst of rubble, destruction, devastation and desolation, and the Lord can preserve and protect us in the midst of captivity and exile as we sit by the rivers and weep. How incredible it is that even though we find ourselves sitting by the rivers weeping, it is in and from that place of weeping the Lord is preserving and protecting us. Even though we might find ourselves weeping by streams and rivers, the Lord has been and is preserving and protecting us. Even though we have hung our harps on the willows in a strange and foreign land, the Lord has promised to preserve and protect us in that place. Even though you might be weeping, and even though you might have hung up that which you once used to serve the Lord, the Lord has still promised to preserve and protect you. OH that we would recognize this incredibly powerful reality within our lives, and that we would recognize that which the Spirit of the Lord desires to speak to us in these Last Days.

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