Monday, May 12, 2008

Remember Jericho

Joshua 6:1 Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. 2 Then the Lord said to Joshua, "See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 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. 5 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."
Joshua 6:17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury."
Here's another wonderful Bible study taken from the Old Testament. More than anything, - or - a large part of this story speaks to me of the character of God, and how His people responded. Here we can read how God told His servant Joshua what to do, and then we can see how he followed. Such a great example is Joshua. It is also a reminder to me that God's ways are not our ways. Things of God sometimes don't make sense to me - and sometimes they are simply not meant to make sense to me. Sometimes, I'm simply to have faith in Him and obey rather than to question Him on everything. That is hard to do because I am human and He is God. But, when we can give up ourselves to follow God, He is faithful and will bless us. This I must put much greater effort in than spending time trying to figure out the "why". Why, why, why? I dunno - I gotta stop asking myself why, and just do, do, do.
What I've been struggling with, and so this story is constantly before me, is pretty clear. The question I want myself to consider is this: Does God bless faithful obedience? Does God punish faithless disobedience? Let's read this story found in the next chapter:
Joshua 7:1 But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord's anger burned against Israel. (But Joshua did not know this and sent men to the city of Ai to capture the city - but God was not with those men and they were chased back to camp and could not take the city)

Joshua 7:11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. 15 Whoever is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the Lord and has done an outrageous thing in Israel!'"

Joshua 7:19 Then Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and honor him. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me." 20 Achan replied, "It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath." 22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath. 23 They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the Lord. 24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, "Why have you brought this trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today." Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.
If you'd like further reading on God's dealing with His creation in disobedience, then read this story: Numbers 16 which I talked about earlier in a blog posting: What motivates You?
There's no doubt in my mind that in the Old Testament, He did in fact bless faithfulness and punish disobedience. Does God still do that today? Your thoughts are welcomed. Let's study this together if you like. My mind is not made up but I am humbly seeking His will and I believe it is revealed to us in His holy scriptures. In my humble, human opinion I start asking these questions:
  • If I am faithful to Him, am I blessed in this life or the life to come?
  • If I am disobedient, am I punished in this life or the life to come?
  • If I sin, and continue in sin, and do not repent, does God try to "wake me up"?
  • If so, how does He do it?
I attribute my "bad luck" with God's way of getting me to repent and seek Him and rely on Him.


  1. Also - Just like the man couldn't hide the stolen treasure underneath his tent from God, Noah couldn't hide himself from God. God knew the man stole the treasure, and God knew where Noah was. Remember Jericho, remember Noah. God knows everything we think we've hidden from everyone else, and He'll ask us about it one day.

  2. Achan was achin', as a Bible teacher of mine used to say.

    As far as the original post, I'm "picking up what you're throwing down", as a friend of mine would say. I've said for years that everybody should STOP ASKING WHY, AND JUST START DOING WHAT HE SAID. What is so hard about that? I think this is what he meant when he took up the child and said that if we didn't have faith like that child, we wouldn't enter the kingdom. The child doesn't need to philosophize, rationalize, intellectuallize, etc... The child just says (or should say): "Yes." If you notice, the more you explain all the reasons to your child, the more they try to push the envelope. We are the same. Why does everybody want to make it so complicated, when it is so amazingly simple???

    This is Kerry, by the way. I don't know how to have an account...

  3. Hebrews 12:4 You struggle against sin. But you have not yet fought to the point of spilling your blood. 5 You have forgotten that word of hope. It speaks to you as children. It says, "My son, think of the Lord's training as important. Do not lose hope when he corrects you. 6 The Lord trains those he loves. He punishes everyone he accepts as a son." 7 Put up with hard times. God uses them to train you. He is treating you as children. What children are not trained by their parents? 8 God trains all of his children. But what if he doesn't train you? Then you are like children of people who weren't married to each other. You are not truly God's children. 9 Besides, we have all had human parents who trained us. We respected them for it. How much more should we be trained by the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our parents trained us for a little while. They did what they thought was best. But God trains us for our good. He wants us to share in his holiness. 11 No training seems pleasant at the time. In fact, it seems painful. But later on it produces a harvest of godliness and peace. It does that for those who have been trained by it.

    The Hebrew writer told the Jewish Christians that God does train them as children. God uses the hard times to train you so that you can grow from it. Hang in there, and know that God loves you. Grow from his training. It is difficult at times, but in the long run, you will be greatly benefited.