God Lays Siege to Your Life to Restore You, Not Destroy You

The biblical sieges illustrate the Lord's love for His people.

In ancient Israel, a city wasn’t a city without a wall. The wall served as the primary means of protection from an enemy. Without a wall, you were a sitting duck.

When God Lays Siege to Your Life

(Photo: Jerusalem’s Old City Walls. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In times of war, an enemy would surround a city wall and lay siege to it. This method purposed to starve the inhabitants of food and water—forcing surrender. Often a siege took months or even years. But it was very effective. All it took was time.

The sieges of ancient Israel serve as a fitting metaphor for what God often does in our lives when we erect walls to keep Him out. But there’s a key difference.

God lays siege to your life not to destroy you, but to restore you.

Walls and Sieges and Such

Daniel’s prophecy to “restore and rebuild Jerusalem” referred to rebuilding its wall (Daniel 9:25). In fact, not until Nehemiah rebuilt the wall in 444 BC was Jerusalem considered rebuilt. Without a wall, a community was simply an “unwalled village” (Ezek. 38:11).

Erika Bleibtreu describes at least “Five Ways to Conquer a City” (see BAR 16:03, May/Jun 1990) as follows:

  1. Scaling the walls with ladders.
  2. Demolishing the stone walls or wooden gates with battering rams.
  3. Tunneling under the city wall.
  4. Cutting off the city’s water supply.
  5. Cutting off a city’s food and water supply by laying siege to it.

Usually, an enemy employed more than one method at a time.

Lachish reliefs - Stiles

(Photo: Lachish reliefs in the British Museum, photo by Cathy Stiles)

When a city’s fortifications proved too formidable, the enemy would surround the city and lay siege to it. Laying siege to a walled city was standard operation for an invading army. If terms of peace went ignored, the siege would bring terrible results.

  • Many cities and sites in Israel fell after a siege—like Jerusalem, Samaria, and Masada.
  • The nation Judah suffered siege from both Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 18-19; 24–25), just to name two incidents.
  • The famous Lachish reliefs recount the vicious attacks the Assyrians mounted against the walled city of Lachish. During this time, Hezekiah dug a water channel and enlarged the wall of Jerusalem to accommodate the refugees from the northern kingdom.
  • Jesus predicted that Jerusalem’s enemies would lay siege to it and destroy it (Luke 19:43-44). The event occurred exactly 37 years later in AD 70 (see Josephus, War of the Jews, volumes V-VII).
Jerusalem's Old City wall seen through arrow slit

(Photo: Jerusalem’s Old City wall seen through arrow slit. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

God’s Purpose in Allowing a Siege

God warned His people that for disobedience to Him, He would bring a siege from an invading army upon their walled cities (Deut. 28:49–57). Ezekiel even built a miniature city of Jerusalem and laid siege to it to symbolize God’s intentions (Ezekiel 4).

When a person endured a siege, you were trapped, and it was just a matter of time before you died by the sword or by starvation. This time of waiting on the inevitable would have caused some serious introspective thinking about your spiritual life.

The goal? To motivate repentance. God used the threat of siege to urge faithfulness.

Isaiah looked toward a day when the Messiah would reign over Jerusalem, and the walls would represent His security:

Violence will not be heard again in your land, nor devastation or destruction within your borders; but you will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise. —Isaiah 60:18

When God Lays Siege to Your Life

God’s sieges are different today, but they force the same introspection. When the Lord lays siege to our lives, He surrounds us and removes what it necessary to cause some serious thinking.

Here are some examples:

  • Health
  • Productivity for His kingdom
  • Peace of mind
  • Finances
  • Possessions
  • Loved ones

Of course, losing any of these doesn’t necessarily mean God is laying siege to your life. But when He is, He often employs these effective means.

  • The removal of basic needs or essentials causes you to think deeper than you would otherwise.
  • God’s sieges reduce life to the basics and cause you to realize your own mortality, revealing you who you really are apart from Him.
Masada Roman siege ramp

(Photo: Masada Roman siege ramp. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Are you suffering the battering ram of God? Are you lacking in some area because God is laying siege to your life? Is He calling you back to a faithful walk with Him?

If so, open the gate and let Him in (Rev. 3:20).

If not, do all you can to fortify the wall with God inside—not outside.

Question: Has God laid siege to your life before? What happened? To leave a comment, just click here.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts. Just keep it kind and relevant. Thanks!

  • Christina

    I always enjoy your posts. Thanks for the work you put into this.
    I’d love to see the interactive timeline for the walls of Jerusalem but it isn’t showing up. Any suggestions?

  • Christina

    I answered my own question. I kept trying and it did eventually download. I must have just had too slow of a connection for all the data. Thanks again!

    • Whew! I’m glad. Thanks again. I’m grateful for your comments.

  • Pingback: Hezekiah’s Tunnel and Wall Give a Lesson from Archaeology()

  • Breitnica Mascarenhas

    Yes, God has laid a seige in my life….and I know that it is for my own good as well as that of my loved ones…

    • I am glad and sad at the same time, Breitnica. But mostly grateful for you—that God’s siege has served its purpose to draw you close.

      • Breitnica Mascarenhas

        Hope it serves the purpose of bringing my loved ones also closer to God….

        • Breitnica Mascarenhas

          Dear Wayne, please pray that I may not fall weak & ultimately give up on the good purpose that I need to fulfill in my life… I need to hold on for God

  • Stephen White

    Yes God has laid siege in my life destroying my 47 year marriage, love was lost. I got in trouble with drinking, getting away from church and God!

    He made me reach to you Wayne and Al and Tracie to guide me back to my path. I found a wonderful church Sunday. It is called Church by the Sea in Treasure Island , FL. Look the history on it on the Website, It was built in 1940’s to help lost sailors home to a safe haven. It has a large cross on top of the church to serve as a beacon to guide lost sailors home.

    I was one of those lost sailors who I think I have found a home. I felt the Holy Spirit there and it reminded of the first time I came to Denton Community Church.

    Thank you Lord for guiding back to safety.

    God Bless,
    Stephen White

    • I’m honored, Stephen, that God used us as a lighthouse to show the way to His Light. May the Lord bless you as you seek Him in this next season of life.

  • Michelle thick

    Yes he is sieging my life right now. I am becoming so close to him that every decision i have to make in life is through him. If i get confused bout a decision he definately make a path for me to go for it or he diverts it. Its so awesome because i know that with him guiding me everything will be ok. It feels like having a father guiding his child. (which is). I never had my dad guide me and knowing how it feels is awesome. What a secure feeling. God has always been in my life but right now im letting him guide my life. Im not in controll anymore. Thanks Wayne for this read its like your talking right to me. Your answering all my struggles and letting me know that i am doing right and this is God guiding me.
    God Bless

    • I’m really glad to hear that, Michelle. Trusting Him is essential, even when it seems the direction He leads makes no sense.

  • ARM BAR

    God actually has been laying siege to my life for so many years Wayne,and He is still monitoring me,perhaps He is waiting for me to open the door for Him,and i was thinking,what’s wrong with me?,there are so many bad peoples out there that God hasn’t laid siege yet,but now i know,He cares about me and willing to Help me completely,yes it is very important to trust God and stop trust our own ability or other people’s ability,Thank you Wayne.

    • It can be difficult when we question God’s justice on others—or seemingly a lack thereof. However, when we look at our own lives, we see much more of His mercy than His justice—and for that, we can be grateful.

  • Gaylon Richter

    Thank you for pronouncing this beautiful metaphor illustrating God’s persistent and powerful love for His people. God is not the author of evil yet He permits evil and suffering and they both fulfill His ultimate purpose–glorify the attributes and character of God—love, mercy, justice and on and on. Just look to the cross. His love for His children just thunders on and like the sunrise or the tide, nothing can stop it. I met a man from MN who struggled and survived a three-year battle with prostate cancer. I asked him what he learned thru it all. He said the day he was pronounced cancer free, he wept like a baby. Why? I asked. He said, I had grown so close to God leaning on Him alone for life and love everyday I wondered if I would ever feel as close to God again.

    • It’s such a paradox, isn’t it, Gaylon? Even Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered. Only eternity will show us how God’s best acts of love were to allow the struggle to continue so that we’d stay close to Him.

  • Michelle thick

    Yes he has and still is. It really made me do some serious thinking. And also brang me close to Him then I ever have been. He is teaching me protecting me. Showing me somethings that need to be worked on. Amen
    Thanks
    God bless