Jump Start # 3273
Joshua 4:19 “Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth of the first month and camped at Gilgal on the eastern edge of Jericho.”
Most have heard about Jericho and how Israel marched around it and the walls came tumbling down. An amazing miracle and demonstration of the power of God. But a couple of other things happened right before the march around the city that truly shows that God was behind all of this.
First, all the nation crossed the Jordan and gathered at Gilgal, close to Jericho. All the nation includes moms and kids. From a strategic standpoint one would keep them safe on the other side of the Jordan until the battle was finished. If things went south and Israel had to run, it would not turn out well for the women and children.
Second, God commands all the males to be circumcised. This takes place in the fifth chapter. This should have been done at birth, according to the law, but it wasn’t. Now, before the battle, this was to be done. Circumcised and insight of Jericho, the soldiers of Israel would be weak for several days. How easily the warriors at Jericho could have attacked. Again, if circumcision had to be done, one would think do it months before and on the other side of the Jordan.
These two events, plus the way Israel marched around Jericho for a week, showed that God was in control. The battle belonged to the Lord. It wasn’t Israel’s size, might or incredible plans that defeated Jericho, it was God. The Lord knew Israel would be victorious even before they crossed the Jordan. God knew.
Now, some lessons for us:
First, what makes sense to us often isn’t what God says. To us, you’d leave the little ones on the other side of the Jordan. To us, you would not camp within sight of Jericho and then circumcise the men. No. None of that makes sense. But when we try to make sense, we often follow our own thinking and not the will of the Lord.
It makes sense to us, that if someone offended or hurt someone, that person needs to come and apologize. The one who did wrong needs to make it right. But the construction of Matthew 18, shows the victim going to the person who is wrong. Boy, that doesn’t make sense to us. And, far too many times, we don’t follow that. We expect the one in the wrong to come to us. What makes sense to us often isn’t what God says. We need to listen to the Lord and do things His way.
Second, there was a huge faith and trust issue with Joshua and Israel when it came to obeying the Lord. They had to believe that God knew what He was talking about. If this didn’t go right, many of them would have died. Yet, the nation crossed the Jordan. The men were circumcised. God said it and we believe it.
There has been a renewed hype about the floating balloons that the military has shot down recently. Invasion of aliens is on the minds of many. One even said, ‘This could be the beginning of the end.’ No, it’s not. The earth is not going to be destroyed by aliens. There will be saints alive when the Lord returns. Faith and trust in what the Lord has told us, keeps wild and fanciful ideas from finding a place in our hearts and minds.
Third, the people of Jericho may have laughed as Israel walked around the walls. What a silly thing that must have looked like. March around one time and then return to the camp. The next day, the same. On and on until finally, they marched around seven times, trumpets blew and the walls tumbled. As Israel marched, the warriors of Jericho may have counted how many soldiers there were. They may have shot some arrows at them.
The world may laugh at us. It doesn’t see the need to worship, let alone as often as we do. The world thinks we take the Bible far too seriously. The world thinks a little sin is good for you. The world thinks innovative ideas introduced into the church is good and healthy. The world thinks…God knows.
Israel did not repeat the Jericho battle plan at any other place. They didn’t march around and around other cities. Why not? Because they were being led by God. Joshua may have been in the forefront, but it was the Lord who was leading them to victory.
Baptism seems ridiculous to a lot of people. A church financed only on the free will donations of the members seems like a plan that will fail. Congregations that are independent and not tied together like a franchise or overseen by a board or headquarters won’t work in the eyes of the world. From the walls of Jericho, Israel didn’t know much about fighting. What the people looking over the walls of Jericho never saw was the Lord.
Trying to make sense through faithless eyes never works. It takes trusting the Lord for the walls to come tumbling down.
Great reminders for us.