by Allen Scott 9/30/2007 / Christian Living
Luke 13:34-35 (NKJV) 34 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! 35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' "
"There's a solid ledge under this dry ground," the soil engineer must have said to the developer. He was planning to put a fine home on the cliff's edge over the salt water along the coast of Maine. The contractor came with his backhoe in tow and dug until he hit solid ledge. The cement truck followed, then came carpenters who built, and then the home was sold. Twenty years later, after the sea had done its secret work, a rain from an offshore hurricane came to wash away the remaining silt and sand from beneath the so-called solid ledge, and half the home tumbled down into a huge and sudden hole where once there was solid ledge.
"An act of God" was what the insurance companies called it.
"The act of an unthinking fool" was a more accurate description.
One can imagine the homeowner wringing his hands at the sight of his house sinking to the bottom of the bay.
But can you imagine Jesus weeping, as he sat on a bluff above Jerusalem, over the sight of a city that had ignored the prophets to its peril? "Jerusalem, Jerusalem," he laments, "the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate" (13:34).
Watching a house, or a city, or a life, collapse is an emotional experience. Take the Italian engineers trying to save the Leaning Tower of Pisa, for example.
The world famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is the freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa. It is situated behind the Cathedral and it is the third structure in Pisa's Campo dei Miracoli (field of Miracles).
Although intended to stand vertically, the tower began leaning to the southeast soon after the onset of construction in 1173 due to a poorly laid foundation and loose substrate that has allowed the foundation to shift.
On February 27, 1964, the government of Italy requested aid in preventing the tower from toppling. It was however considered important to retain the current tilt, due to the vital role that this element played in promoting the tourism industry of Pisa.
A multinational task force of engineers, mathematicians and historians was assigned and met on the Azores islands to discuss stabilization methods.
After over two decades of work on the subject, the tower was closed to the public in January 1990. While the tower was closed, the bells were removed to relieve some weight, and cables were cinched around the third level and anchored several hundred meters away. Apartments and houses in the path of the tower were vacated for safety.
After a decade of corrective reconstruction and stabilization efforts, the tower was reopened to the public on December 15, 2001.
It was found that the lean was increasing due to the stonework expanding and contracting each day due to the heat of sunlight. This was working in combination with the softer foundations on the lower side.
Many methods were proposed to stabilize the tower, including the addition of 800 metric tons of lead counterweights to the raised end of the base. The final solution to prevent the collapse of the tower was to slightly straighten the tower to a safer angle, by removing 38 cubic meters of soil from underneath the raised end.
The tower has been declared stable for at least another 300 years.
Ecclesiastes 1:14-15 (NKJV) 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind. 15 What is crooked cannot be made straight, And what is lacking cannot be numbered.
The only way the engineers could come up with to save the faulty tower was to remove support from the solid side in order to level out the crooked side. Removing stones from beneath the higher side resulted in the lessening of the lean. In reality the engineers had started a new lean, albeit in a different direction but a new lean none the less. By removing the solid foundation from beneath the upright side the engineers started the tower to lean in a different direction. From casual observance one might say the faulty lean has been corrected.
Society has been trying to right it's wrongs and heal it's ills by removing the solid foundations that point out the crooked lean in our lives. Instead of repenting and rebuilding, little by little rocks and stones are removed from the ancient foundations causing a lean in a different direction which gives the illusion of the crooked being made straight.
By repositioning the plumb line one can achieve the appearance of uprightness while remaining crooked. Rejoicing took place over the fact that the leaning tower was not leaning as much as before. Yet it was still leaning.
Only by allowing the righteous judge of all creation have a crack at fixing our lives we will remain crooked and falling creatures. Only God is able to make the crooked straight and raise up that which has fallen. He is the one who can restore and realign our lives to match His plumb line of perfection.
Jesus looked upon Jerusalem and said, "Your house is left to you, desolate" (Matthew 23:38). You've got a mess on your hands, and you rejected all attempts to straighten out. Now, see what you've done.
We, too, need to stop our spiritual house from tilting until it collapses. Because, if we ignore the warnings, it will fall as surely as the Tower of Pisa would've fallen and as, indeed, the house of Jerusalem did fall.
Deuteronomy 32:4-7 (NKJV) 4 He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He. 5 "They have corrupted themselves; They are not His children, Because of their blemish: A perverse and crooked generation. 6 Do you thus deal with the Lord, O foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, who bought you? Has He not made you and established you? 7 "Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you:
By not listening to the prophets God set, Jerusalem has left their homeland desolate. Failing to listen to and heed the precepts of scripture handed down from generation to generation will leave our homes listing and tilted. We must restore the age old foundations and return to the Father of our souls. Jesus is the sure foundation and on Him we can depend.
He wants to build us up as a strong tower which can withstand the test of time and the trials that may buffet it on all sides. We are to be a testimony to His uprightness and not our perverseness. It is time we stop taking the solid ground from under those who stand firm in order to justify our tilts and misalignment to God's righteousness. It is time we restore the sure footedness of God's ways to our lives and pathways.
We have for far too long been steadily leaning in one direction or the other and refusing to allow a just God to measure us by His standard. Repent and allow Him to straighted us out and we too will be able to stand as a tower to His glory.
Amos 7:8 (NKJV) And the Lord said to me, "Amos, what do you see?" And I said, "A plumb line." Then the Lord said: "Behold, I am setting a plumb line In the midst of My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore.
Is our house built on sand? Silt? Gravel? Clay? Ledge? Rock? Or some collection, cluster or conglomeration of these?
Will your faith stand the rising waters in life's tempest? Will trouble or temptation undermine your soul's foundation?
Is your life built on The Rock of Ages?
This is a call to recover our spiritual center, to recognize that without God as the center of our lives, everything else becomes meaningless.
Philippians 2:15 (NKJV) that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
We need to rebuild our faith foundation and let the Word of God hold us unerringly from slipping into spiritual malaise.