Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 15: Joshua and Jericho – Joshua 5:13 – 6:27

Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city! When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle,

We like our Bible stories neat and tidy, agreeable and nice. Then comes our reading for today and it almost appalls us. It’s distressing. The children of Israel march around the great city of Jericho once a day for an entire week. On the seventh day, they march around it seven times, blow their horns and the walls come tumbling down and the entire inhabitants; men, women, children, animals are annihilated. After its destruction, Jericho was put under a curse by Joshua: "Cursed before The Lord be the man that rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho. At the cost of his first-born shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set up its gates." (Joshua 6:26 RSV).

The city remained in ruins for over 400 years before being rebuilt, by Hiel of Bethel, in the time of King Ahab. But, guess what? "In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho; he laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his first-born, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of The Lord, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun." (1 Kings 16:34 RSV)

No one survived the massacre except for a prostitute by the name of Rahab and her family. Her great- great- grandson, of course, would rule over Israel as a valiant king – King David. Moreover, from David’s line was born the Christ, our Savior Jesus.

The Lord reminded Joshua, “I have delivered Jericho into your hands.” It’s all the Lord’s doing. Joshua did nothing except to follow the Lord’s instructions. The Lord’s promises are sure – The one who attempts to rebuild the city will do it at the expense of his children, and yet, your heavenly Father is willing to sacrifice His own son for the salvation of us all. The family tree of Jesus is filled with sinners and miscreants. It’s a rouge’s gallery of misery; a harlot, a murderer, a philanderer, an adulterer, just to name a few. From a family of sinners He comes to save sinners.

Do you have a checkered past? Do your sins rise up to condemn you? Are there skeletons in your closet? Are there times in which you have not acted as becomes a child of God? Good for you - you’re in good company. Now, get over it! Stop trying to save yourself! You can’t! Plead for mercy! Repent! Fall into the gentle and strong hands of Jesus your Lord and your redeemer. Come, come weary sinner, come before the foot of the cross – all things are now ready.

Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for private and congregational use
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

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