I love Bible stories because, though they were written thousands of years ago, they have relevance in our lives today. Some stories seem insignificant, but when studied, they come alive with modern meaning.
The story of Job teaches us about enduring adversity, and the story of Ruth teaches us about unparalleled loyalty.
The story of David teaches us about morality and marital commitment, while the story of Joseph is a story of forgiveness and the loyalty of the Lord to his servants who follow him.
Joseph was not exempt from trials, but the Lord never left him, and finally Joseph had the honor of a nation, his family and his God. Make no mistake, the Lord honors those who honor him.
The story of Jericho has always been an interesting story about the way the Lord fights battles, but I learned some new concepts as I read the story again. When Moses led the children of Israel from Egypt, he was dealing with people who had been slaves. They were largely uneducated, and many of them had adopted the traditions of the Egyptians.
As you recall, the moment Moses went up to commune with the Lord on Mount Sinai, the children of Israel built a golden calf to worship. Even though they had seen mighty miracles at the hand of the Lord, they turned to their idols. How could they do that?
We as an American people have seen miracles performed in our behalf. The miracle of the American Revolution cannot be discounted. The British had trained soldiers and were well-equipped for the victory, but the Lord brought us through.
The miracle of the Constitution has remained a standard for the nations of the earth for centuries. We came through major wars, and prospered as a nation because the Lord was our God, and we trusted in Him.
9-11 was a tragedy and our nation turned to God in masses. Now many have forgotten and have been lulled to sleep by the modern-day idols of the Internet, the media and the idea that we deserve something for nothing. Those are our golden calves!
We have forgotten the word of God. We have taken prayer from our schools and the Bible from our curriculum. We have told God in no uncertain terms that we are not interested in His miracles.
Are we hiding in our own walls of Jericho? The people in the city of Jericho were paralyzed by fear. They sat there in their houses surrounded by the armies of the Israelites. They had heard tales of how the Lord had dried up the River Jordan for the Israelites and they were coming.
Instead of taking action to protect themselves, they sat there watching and cowering while the armies marched around for seven days.
Not like us? We sit in our houses and listen to the radio or the news, while our politicians destroy our economy, our healthcare system and our Christian traditions. We all know it’s coming, but we don’t know what to do so we sit and wait for the impending disaster. We don’t turn to our only sources of strength.
We wait and watch the armies march around us. Oh, there are some who stand up in town hall meetings and call down the politicians and write letters and call their Congressmen and express their concern, but the armies still march, and the impending danger still looms high.
What is to be done? We need to do what Christians have always done. Turn to our God. We need to be on our knees, asking for answers. We need to fast and pray in masses.
Not just once or twice a day alone in our homes. We need to stand up in the public square and pray, letting God know we are committed to fight the battle His way. We need to be committed to do whatever He tells us to do, even if we use mass civil disobedience and risk being labeled politically incorrect to accomplish our goals. It worked for Rosa Parks.
What is going on in our country is wrong! We are the sleeping Jericho! Wake up!
What about the Israelites under Joshua? When Joshua became the prophet after Moses, he turned to the Lord and received answers. The scriptures tell us that all of the people who grew up in Egypt died in the wilderness.
So Joshua was dealing with a different generation. He was dealing with men and women who had been fed manna by the Lord their entire lives. They had been taught to seek the word of the Lord through the prophet, and they were committed to follow Him. They renewed their covenant to follow the Lord. Circumcision was an outward manifestation of their inner commitment.
“And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel ... For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, ... because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord...” (Joshua 5:3)
In other words, this new generation who came out of the wilderness, made a covenant with the Lord to follow him in all things. They had abandoned the old traditions of the Egyptians and turned their lives to God. Then an angel came to Joshua and Joshua ask if he was friend or foe:
“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
“And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?” (Joshua 5:13-14)
It is interesting to note that the angel had a sword in his hand when he came to Joshua. The Lord has His armies that will help us fight our battles. I don’t think the Lord is a God of war, but He will protect His children if they call on Him. The angel instructed Joshua how to take the city.
He didn’t say, “When you get ready, go and break down the walls and destroy those people.”
The angel gave Joshua specific directions on how to take the city. To follow the instructions, it would have taken faith and complete commitment to the words of the Lord as directed by the prophet. The angel told Joshua to march once around the city for six days in profound silence; then on the seventh day they were to march around the city.
“And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns; and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
“And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat...” (Joshua 6:4-5)
The entire army obeyed. There is no record of dissension, complaining or backbiting in the army. They simply followed the word of the Lord with exactness. Since the army chose to follow the Lord, they were blessed in great abundance, and they obtained the victory.
Now I don’t suppose that it was easy to get those young men of the army to follow the Lord exactly, but the point is they were fed daily with manna in the wilderness; they had a shadow by day and a pillar of fire by night. They were in tune with spiritual things.
We as parents, educators, ministers and leaders need to provide our young people with spiritual experiences in the Lord. They need to be fed with the manna of the word of God. They need to see the light of the word of God in their lives both day and night. Spiritual things are discerned by spiritual eyes.
Jesus said, “Let the blind lead the blind and they will both fall into the ditch.”
We cannot lead people to Christ if we are sleeping spiritually. We cannot save this nation by mimicking the city of Jericho. We need to turn to our God and seek Him with all our hearts. I don’t know what He will tell us to do, but I know He will give us the answers if we seek Him without fear of the consequence or of being politically incorrect. PD