Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Joshua 4-6; Luke 1:1-20
11 He made the Lord’s chest circle the city, going around one time. They went back to the camp and stayed there overnight. 12 Joshua got up early in the morning. The priests lifted up the Lord’s chest. 13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets made from rams’ horns were going in front of the Lord’s chest, blowing trumpets continuously. The armed soldiers were going in front of them. The rear guard was coming after the Lord’s chest, blowing trumpets continuously. 14 They circled the city one time on the second day. Then they went back to the camp. They did this for six days.
15 On the seventh day, they got up at dawn. They circled the city in this way seven times. It was only on that day that they circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time, the priests blew the trumpets. Then Joshua said to the people, “Shout, because the Lord has given you the city!17 The city and everything in it is to be utterly wiped out as something reserved for the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute is to stay alive, along with everyone with her in her house. This is because she hid the messengers we sent. (Joshua 6:11-17, Common English Bible).
Just about every week, at least during the season, Cindy and I watch NASCAR. I have one friend who often teases me about watching a “sport” where all they do is go around in circles, never really going anywhere. He says, “All they know how to do is turn left.
I know where he gets it. In The Free Dictionary‘s section on idioms it says, “If someone goes around in circles or goes round in circles, they achieve little because they repeatedly deal with the same point or problem.”
Not everything that goes in circles falls into that category. Every week, at the end of our worship service, my congregation gathers into a circle (sometimes it looks more an ameba than a circle) for the benediction. It allows us to see each other, to look into each other’s eyes.
Another place of practically going in a circle, as it were, is walking or praying the labyrinth. Some people often mistakenly call a labyrinth a maze. Though similar in appearance, a labyrinth is not a maze. In a maze, there are wrong turns one can make. In a maze, one finds any number of dead ends. In a maze, one can find themselves lost. The bigger the maze, the bigger the problem.
With a labyrinth none of those things are true. All paths lead to the center and back out again. You follow the path and as long as you remain on the path it is impossible to get lost. You pray as you walk the path, spend as much time in the center as you desire, then pray when coming back out again.
There is one more time I can think of when walking in circles is a good positive thing, when God tells you to do so. That is what our lesson today is all about. It is just about time, according to God, for Jericho to fall to the Israelite army. Jericho was a mighty, fortified city. To take the city would not be an easy thing to do or that is what the Israelites thought. But, they were about to learn a lesson that would stick with them, for about 15 minutes. Well, probably, if we see things a bit more literally, a bit longer than that but the Israelite’s memory was never long where God was concerned.
If you know God wants you to take over a city or something else, you would think, “OK, let’s get to it.” But, that isn’t always the way God works. God sent Joshua out to take care of things God’s way. On the first six days, they went out, carrying the Ark of the Covenant around the city with soldiers going before and after, trumpets blasting and in general making quite a bit of noise. They circled the city once each day and then went back to camp and waited until the next day.
I am sure it had to be a bit disconcerting to the residents of Jericho. But, they had faith in their wall. They had faith the wall would protect them. What they really needed was to have faith that a living God would protect them. That, the residents of Jericho did not have.
When the seventh day arrived. They went around the city six times. As I read the story it sounds to me like they were silent the first six times. Then, on the seventh trip around, the trumpets blew and the people shouted. The end result was that the city walls fell and everything and everyone in them. Well, there was one small handful of people who survived Rahab (see yesterday’s post “Bad Girl, Big Faith“) and her family. A promise was made and that promise was kept.
God always keeps promises.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.