Sep 6, 2011

Am I Jericho?

I was reading this morning...more like mid-morning...and came across one of my favorite accounts in the Bible, the fall of Jericho (located in the book of Joshua 6:1-27).

You know how sometimes you read something and it reminds you of the last time you read the same thing? Well that is exactly what happened. A little memory bomb exploded in my mind and I had to look back through my journal to find the entry, and to remember what God was trying to get across to me.

I found the entry back in early March, but the verse I wrote down in my journal that day was in Hebrews 11:30, "It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down." Most people know that Hebrews chapter 11 is called the "Hall of Faith" because it lists men and women, along with events throughout the Bible that required great faith. It's not that the people were great, in fact most of the time they were afraid, but God gave them the gift of faith and they were able to bring Him glory and accomplish something great in his honor. So the account of the Fall of Jericho was so significant that the writer of Hebrews included it in his letter hundreds of years later.

So I went back to Joshua and read the account of the battle, and one verse in particular stood out to me:
Joshua 6:1 Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. 
You see, God had given Joshua the job of leading the Israelites across the Jordan River to take hold of the Promised Land. The thing was, that there were already people living there, so the Israelites had to fight in order to take hold of what God was giving them. (That statement could be a blog unto itself.) Word had spread throughout the land that Israel was undefeated because God fought their battles for them. So, out of fear they closed themselves up behind their walls, and no one was allowed in our out.

Most of us know the rest of the story...God gives Joshua a command to march around the walls of the city once a day for 6 days. The priests were supposed to lead the way blowing rams horns and carrying the ARC of the Covenant. Then on the 7th day they were to wait for His signal (given by God through the priests) and then let out a mighty shout and that the walls of the city would come crumbling down. Then they were to go into the city, destroy everything, except for the things that were sacred to the Lord.

And that is just what happened.

The people obeyed the Lord's command and when the city walls fell, the Army of the Lord ran into the city, destroyed everything except for the items that the Lord wanted for His treasury, and then they occupied the city.

There are so many things you can draw from this story, but what stood out to me back in March, was... "What if I am Jericho? What if I have walled myself off because of fear? What if I am hiding within myself because I am more comfortable with the sin in my heart than with the idea of being purged and occupied by God?"

It only took 7 days for the Lord to break through the fortified walls of a city, how long do you think it would take Him to occupy a heart that is ready to surrender to Him? This is the prayer that I wrote in my journal,
Will you take the walls of my heart and break them like you broke the walls of Jericho? Will you burn out and kill anything that you don't find useful? Will you take the next 7 days and increase my faith? I believe that you are with me. I believe that you want me. I will give you my heart, but only you can breach these walls with your battle cries and your pure undiluted presence. 
 How many times in our lives will we be tempted to build a wall of protection around our hearts? Every time I am hurt, or let down, or offended it would be easy to add another block to the wall. It would be easy to make the promise, I'll never let anyone do that to me again. But think about it friends, what happens to a city under siege? They waste away; they starve to death. Disease takes over and they die slow and painful deaths, their hearts full of bitterness and hatred. What they built to protect themselves, ultimately kills them.

Why don't we trust the Lord instead? Why don't we open the gates to Him, and let Him be our Strong Tower? Let Him be your fortress and refuge in time of need. He is there, waiting outside your gate. Waiting to protect you, to love you, and to guide you. He is very patient, but a time will come when every knee will bow and call him Lord; even those that are still starving behind their walls will bow to Him - but they will perish as enemies.

When this battle on earth is over, where will you be kneeling?

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