If she is a wall,
We will build on her a battlement of silver;
But if she is a door,
We will barricade her with planks of cedar.
Song of Songs 8:9 NASB
I’ve been thinking a bunch about walls and doors of late. Or more precisely as fences and gates. I’m replacing the fence in my backyard with some fence given to me by a brother. He’s in the fencing business, and was replacing a fence that was only a couple years old. When he learned that much of my fence as falling down, and deteriorating he offered to drop off this old fence to my home. What a huge blessing. Neighbors were starting to complain about my dilapidated (and altogether missing in some spots) 40-year-old fence. They are thrilled to see a new fence going up.
In the process, I have had to plan where the gates would go, and how I was going to lay it all out to make the best use of what I’ve been given. How do I connect the gate, and ensure that it will open and close, let people in or out, and still enclose the yard properly.
Now back to the Song. The bride chats with the Shepherd King about the discipleship of her little sister. Their discussion comes around to how best to prepare her for ministry. She talks with her partner in ministry about those she is bringing along in the faith.
Before we get to doors and walls, think about this conversation. We’ve said the bride is a mature saint and her partner is the Lord Jesus Christ. They are partners in the making of disciples.
Before Jesus left for heaven, he gave some instructions to those who would follow Him.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. - Matthew 28:19-20 NASB
He did not command them to make converts.
He did not require them to create laws to demanding righteous living from those who did now know Him.
He did not ask them to build buildings, and create programs.
He commissioned them to make disciples, to take what He had taught them, and teach it to others.
As this plays out, they find that the Lord plants in different people, different gifting. They learn that some have a call on their lives to bring people into the kingdom - a gifting in evangelism. Others are bent more toward pastoring, nurture, and protection.
At times we can all do both, and in a sense as we make disciples, we are doing both. We are bringing those we win though the gates, and then helping to build walls for their protection.
Paul speaks to some of the “walls” of Emphasis, when he is leaving them for the last time.
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. - Acts 20:28-30 NASB
One more observation.
The Great Commission, to make disciples of every nation, was not given to one person, but to the group of followers at His ascension. It was not meant to be carried out by one person, or by one local church, or by one denomination.
No - this commission was given to the whole Church, and the promise was that as we carry it out, He would be with us.
So here He is with the bride as she is making disciples.
It’s a beautiful picture of Christ and us together, raising up young christians in ministry. We look together at how they were formed, their giftings and callings, their bent. We help them to move into what God has formed them to be.
Are you a wall or a gate, or more of a combination?
Have a great weekend.