Tuesday, September 5, 2017

When there is a Mess focus on the Mission

Read Joshua 6.

Conventional warfare against a high walled city like this would have involved a long term siege.  Demands from the attackers followed by pronouncing curses upon each other were common.  The attacking army would encamp around the city and build ramps against the wall.  If the city was unprepared, quite often the attacker waited until starvation destroyed the people inside.

None of this happened to Jericho.  There were no demands, no cursing, no ramps.  Indeed, the battle plan issued by the LORD was silence and simple marching around the city.  The only sounds were the rams horns and marching feet.  After that, they went back to their base camp.  To the fighting men of Israel this must have been some of the most conflicted moments of their lives.  They were ready to attack but not allowed to do so.  This they did once every day for six days and seven times on the seventh day. 

Inside the city walls, the people of Jericho would have been preparing for the worst.  But each day nothing happened.  The scripture tells us that they had already lost their courage to fight.  The shear dread and fear from this daily routine is unimaginable.

But on the seventh day, on the seventh lap, the horns sounded, the people shouted, and Joshua ordered, "Shout, for the LORD has given you the city."  It has been proven by archaeological digs that the walls fell downward in place.  Only Rahab and her family were rescued.

Other instructions for this battle included total destruction, but anything made of gold, silver, bronze and iron was to be given to the priests for their use.  They were dedicated to the LORD.

There are at least three life applications for us here.
1. Reject the things banned by God. (vv.17-18)
A believer in Jesus must be aware and on guard moment by moment to love the things that God loves and hate the things that God hates.

2. Reclaim some things for God. (v.19)
In the midst of the mess there is most always something that can be pulled out to use for God's purposes.  Look for it in problems, broken people, and other shambles of life.

3. Rescue people who respond to God. (vv.22-23)

In spite of all the fear, the warnings, and the pending doom not one citizen of Jericho put their trust in the God of Israel except Rahab's family.  They were not only kept alive but they united with and were embraced by God's people.  Seeking those who are responsive to the message of Jesus is our daily responsibility as His followers.  "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.  We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)

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