Today’s Reading: Joshua 6:1-20
When the Israelites finally crossed into the Promised Land, they were tasked with the taking the city of Jericho. Jericho was an ancient city with enormous, impenetrable walls. The scripture says that “No one went in and no one came out.” After 40 years of wandering in the desert, I’m sure they were scared, but I imagine they might have been a little excited, too! Finally, they get to DO something! They’d been preparing for this for a long time! At the very least, they must have been strategizing and coming up with a plan; after all, Joshua had sent spies into Jericho a few chapters earlier to scope it out and try to find weaknesses in its fortifications.
But God, like God usually does, speaks to Joshua and gives them a very different battle plan. The people are to march in a circle around the city once a day for six days with seven priests bearing seven trumpets in front. On the seventh day, they were to march around the city seven times. Then the priests were supposed to blow the trumpets for all their worth, and the soldiers were ordered to scream as loud as they can. Then, God said, the walls will fall down. The Hebrews had been preparing for this battle for a long time! Maybe they’d even been training, practicing their American Ninja Warrior skills so they can scale the walls. We don’t know, but surely they’d been preparing. Can you imagine what must have been going on in the minds of the people when Joshua told them that the big plan is for them to spend more time walking around in circles?
I don’t know about you, but with this stay-at-home order, sometimes I feel like I’m walking in circles. In fact, sometimes I am walking in circles, pacing around my house just looking for something to do! Have you experienced that? I’m doing my best to keep a positive attitude and think of this time as a way to bless and protect others, but man, this is hard. I’ve been doing a lot of reading to stay busy and I came across a quote by the great devotional writer Oswald Chambers. Chambers writes, “We think that we have been called to do exceptional things with our lives, but we have not. We have been called to do ordinary things in exceptional ways.” After all, most of Jesus’ days recorded in our gospels, Jesus wasn’t having extraordinary, high drama days. Most of the time he was in people’s homes, spending time investing in relationships. He spent his time serving, washing the feet of others. He spent time in discussion and in prayer.
This time we have where it can feel like we are just stuck, walking in circles, it is in this time that we can follow Jesus into the ordinary. We may not be able to visit other people’s homes, but what other ways might we invest in relationships? We may not wash our families’ feet, but what other ways might we serve them? What new prayer or devotional practices could we take up in this time?
On the seventh day, Joshua led his priests and soldiers around Jericho seven times. They blew the trumpets and shouted and sure enough, the walls fell down and they charged into the city. Friends, eventually, when it is safe, we will be able to leave our homes and charge back out into a new and changed world. But until then, I encourage you to reflect and pray about this quote from the Rev. Dr. Craig Barnes: “There are moments when God makes a way and calls you to charge ahead. But those moments are so few and far between that you dare not base your joy on them. Joy has to be found simply in walking around with God.”