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Repairing Walls

Key References: Isaiah 58:6-12; Prophets and Kings, chap. 57, pp. 677, 678; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 10, pp. 189-191; Our Beliefs nos. 17, 14, 22

Power Text

“And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday” (Isaiah 58:10).

Power Point

We follow Jesus’ example by showing others kindness and compassion.

Have you ever helped repair something? Did it look OK when it was mended? Isaiah says that we are repairers of a wall when we show kindness to others. Imagine this conversation between a father and his son in biblical times.

Shaphan and his father walked toward the sheep pen one Friday morning. “It’s a great morning to be alive!” remarked Father. Shaphan agreed.

Down the rocky path they trudged, intent on the task before them. “Today we will rebuild the west wall of the sheep pen,” Father had announced at breakfast. “There’s a fairly good-sized place where the stones have been knocked loose, and I want to get it repaired before Sabbath.”

When they arrived at the pen, Father turned to Shaphan. “Let’s gather some more big rocks first,” he said. “Then we’ll need to clean out this rubble so we can repair it properly.”

Before long they had a new pile of rocks and long branches from the thornbushes beside the broken wall. Pulling at a loose rock, Father said, “This reminds me of what the prophet Isaiah referred to when he spoke of his people as the ‘Repairer of Broken Walls’ [Isaiah 58:12].”

Shaphan’s family had come to believe in Jesus after listening to Peter, and ever since then Father had been poring over the Scriptures in a new way. The whole family had enjoyed hearing the prophecies about the Savior, and talking about how they had been fulfilled by Jesus.

While the sun climbed higher, they talked about Isaiah’s words. “God wants us to treat others with kindness and compassion, son. He wants us to loose the chains of injustice, to set the oppressed free, to share our food with the hungry, and to provide clothing and shelter for the poor” (see verses 6, 7).

“I understand what it means to share our food, Father, but what does ‘loose the chains of injustice’ and ‘set the oppressed free’ mean?”

“Think about Jesus, son. He came to a world caught in the chains Satan had wrapped around us. We were trapped in sin—all kinds of hurtful thinking and doing to ourselves and others. But Jesus set us free. He died for our sins, and He lives to restore us back to what God made us to be.”

“That’s a lot to think about!” responded Shaphan, trying to take in all that Father had just said.

“But we can loose chains of injustice, too,” Father added as he lifted another heavy rock into place. “We can help people by sharing our faith in Jesus, and by making sure we treat them kindly and with compassion. Nothing we do should make life hard or miserable for others.”

“OK,” Shaphan nodded, beginning to understand. “But what about the ‘Repairer of Broken Walls’ part?”Father smiled. “Look at this wall. Why do we have it here?”

“It’s to keep the sheep safe,” Shaphan answered without having to think.

“Exactly.” His father responded with a broad grin, tucking a thornbush around the last stone he had replaced.

“Everyone who lives within God’s wall of protection is safe. God wants us to love Him with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves. When we live that way, we are living within the protective wall of His law. Jesus came to repair our understanding of God’s law of love and protection.”

“Now I can see what fixing a stone wall has to do with being kind and compassionate to others,”

Shaphan said. Shaphan was still pondering the importance of protective walls as he pushed the last big stone into place.

They both looked at the sun. They had finished in time to be ready for Sabbath.

“You know,” Father said, “Jesus wants us to follow His example. He asks us to show kindness and compassion to everyone around us! When we share the good news of what He has done for us, we’re setting the oppressed free; we’re helping rebuild the wall.”

“Our family already shares food, clothing, and shelter with others. I guess our ‘walls’ are in good repair,” Shaphan said as he admired their work.

“Well, the Scriptures also mention such things as not mistreating others, falsely accusing them, or saying cruel things. Do you think maybe you might have some repairing still to do before sundown?” Father asked Shaphan.

“Oh, you mean with my sister?” Shaphan hung his head a little.

“Exactly,” Father said.

Shaphan didn’t say anything, but his smile clearly said that he was ready to follow in the footsteps of the true “Repairer of Broken Walls.”