If you ever lived in a dorm or rented an apartment (especially a college one), you may have been “enlightened” by friends or acquaintances about tricks to get your deposit back. One of the biggest items has always been holes in the walls, whether nails, tacks, pushpins, or anchors.
The “great” suggestion is to use toothpaste instead of spackle (because spackle is expensive?). Toothpaste is definitely not spackle. Spackle bonds to drywall, almost (sort of) like new.
Toothpaste and spackle may seem strange to bring up. Toothpaste holds up for a time, but ultimately it will not last; just like whitewash lasts only for a time on a broken wall.
Ezekiel’s words to the people of Israel were pointed straight at the prophets and priests. The imagery of a broken wall was specifically not the walls of a house, but the defensive walls of the entire city. In other words, the walls may have looked pretty, but the plaster and whitewash just covered over the cracks and holes.
The vision is that the people of the city were deceived by the apparent “protection” of the pristine walls. They thought they were safe from enemies.
The city’s walls were symbolic of the people’s faith, understanding, and relationship with God. Perhaps, we ought to say the prophets and priests have done nothing except deceive the people so that they thought they had the “right” faith and that they were following the “right” god.
By the time Peter wrote this letter (2 Peter), the false teachers had already started showing up. He was warning the people that they needed to be aware and be prepared. They couldn’t be like the people that Ezekiel spoke to that had already been led astray toward destruction.
Peter was concerned not just about any kind of false doctrine/teaching. He was concerned about destructive false teaching. Peter seemed to divide between two types of false teaching, the kind that is wrong/unhelpful and the kind that will lead to false gods or false understanding of God.
What heresies Peter was concerned about exactly is unknown. It may have been a general concern or just a reality of the human experience and knowledge of the Israelite experience.
The deepest issue is that the implication in the text is that the false teachers would come in knowingly with false teaching. Most of us would be puzzled were a pastor, for example, were to do that. It has been known to happen. It is where the pastor or other influencer changes their mind/understanding about critical issues. We aren’t just talking about knowingly false doctrine. We are also talking about presumed truth that is false when it comes to God.
1) Peter wasn’t just talking to leaders. He was talking to everyone. What does this mean for you?
2) What kind of plaster and whitewash are you seeing around you?
Lord, open our eyes to see your Truth and not ours. Amen.