Considering the iconic story of Jericho this week on RTP…we get to see another wild illustration of the unusual ways in which God works issues out in our lives. Marching bands & a six-day religious procession of priests ? All to serve as the apex of an unusual military strategy to begin the long-awaited, five hundred year old promise of re-settlement for an entire generation…
I think all of us would agree, marching around a city with musical instruments is an unusual way to win a battle, a strange way to start to build a nation?
I pondered this story as I fell asleep and wondered about the “why’s” and “what if’s” of this famous and unusual biblical story… I mean “why” include this strange battle in the biblical narrative? Why spend so much time describing & detailing this very short moment in the overall Hebrew historical record? The author of the book of Joshua took several long chapters to clearly describe and emphasize the biblical importance of this odd Jericho event,including many seemingly insignificant details leading up to…during & after the famous walls fall down.
I woke up with a poignant sense I needed to dig deeper into the details contained in this very intense story… one so familiar and yet so odd. A story that may have been relegated to just a fanciful children’s sermon, paired with a cute, full color, feltboard picture story and little else.What if this epic historical moment represented a significant symbolic “type and shadow” of the divine process that God takes us all through, a foreshadowing to the New Testament model of redemption… when we grow out of the old us, leaving behind the broken walls of our past fears as we start to grow into something different, healthier and new?
What if the battle we have within ourselves, within our hearts and minds is being illustrated in practical detail by the physical reality of a prosperous Canaanite city-state, its customs and our weaknesses providing stark contrast-context for the struggle each generation has with faith. What if we were the weary and worn, the chosen but dispirited children of Abraham? What if God wanted to clearly leave a testimony to His faithfulness and sovereign will that all people of all ages & generations could understand & learn & be changed by? I believe this Jericho passage has deep and profound layers of truth, just waiting for us to make the effort to peel them back and apply them to our lives!
So… join with me, take a moment, re-read the first few chapters of Joshua, and consider the story of those famous walls again, reading through the eyes of faith. Ask God to show us/you, what walls in our life, might be blocking our progress out of the isolating wilderness of our past. Preventing us from entering into the land God has promised. Things, issues or events in our lives that we might be afraid to admit or consider, issues that we have struggled so long with that they seem to be a part of us.
If you are struggling with a un-ending cycle of old sins and forgotten promises, if you are tired of the same old patterns of life…then come along with us and lets see if these truths from Jericho will help break us free from the bondage & fatigue of our waterless days. I believe God is reaching out to us from the ancient history of the Old Testament scripture… , offering an antidote to heal our wandering hearts and aimless ways.
This will be a different kind of RoadTrip without the aid of engines or modern conveniences, it will …I hope, prove to be life-changing in the present. Especially for parents…