The Choice: Joshua (from his senior years)

Posted by jael on Nov 9, 2011 in Religion, Spiritual Journey

One of my children’s favorite biblical stories from Children’s Church is about how Joshua fought the battle at Jericho.

Their excitement to retell Joshua: 6:1-23 and chronicle his incredible tale, complete with fun ditty and hand motions remains palpable.

Come on, I know you’re humming it right now,
“Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
Jericho, Jericho,
Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
And the walls came tumbling down!

It’s an epic quest that resonates with the imagination of youth and their elastic creativity.

There’s much for children to mine from the narrative about obedience. Joshua did exactly what God asked him to do and how He asked him to do it. Joshua listened carefully and because he followed directions, God blessed him with victory and opens the walls of Jericho.

Can’t you almost smell the sweet, corn scent of Bugles that the kids nibbled during the lesson, too many mini trumpet blasts to count!

Of course, the verses invite the grown-ups to peel back more layers of meaning from the Living Word like layers of an onion.

One of the ideas that captivates me centers around the tension the story creates between natural and Supernatural tensions.

In the natural, Joshua is our Arnold Swarchenegger figure. He’s a warrior, man. We expect to see him all suited up and go all, “Astalavista, Baby,” on Jericho. I mean that is how battles are won! Shoot ’em up cowboy and get me some Jericho.

In the Supernatural, however, God has a completely different plan.

Joshua’s army would march around the city along with seven priests and God’s holy box one time every day for six days.
Priests would blow their trumpets.
The people would be quiet
On the seventh day, they would march around the city wall seven times with sevens priests and God’s holy box and the priests would blow one, long trumpet blast and the people would cry out.

Imagine Joshua with his previous military training and experience. In the natural order of a warrior, God’s strategy for taking the city was at best uncommon to Joshua and bordering on wholly unorthodox, Batman.

At first blush, the plan must not have made much sense to the young, shield-toting, sword-wielding Joshua.

God called Joshua to trust Him through uncommon obedience.
God asked Joshua to set aside his strategy and lay it all on the line to obey God’s plan.

Can’t you almost hear the tension of a rope being yanked during a tug-of-war, the taut pull between natural and Supernatural tensions?

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” - Colossians 3:23 (KJV)

Joshua obeyed.
Joshua obeyed God’s uncommon and extraordinary plan to open the walls of Jericho.
Joshua laid it all the line to obey God: his life, the life of his men, the battle, and his reputation as a leader, not to mention Rehad and her family.
The plan did not make sense to Joshua, but he chose to trust with uncommon obedience.

Most of us know how the story ends.

Just as God instructed, Joshua marched with his army, seven priests and God’s holy box around the city for six days.
The priests blew their trumpets, but everyone else was quiet.
On day seventh day, the ensemble marched around the city seven times.
Then the trumpets blew a long blast and the people shouted!
Suddenly, everyone heard rumbling; the walls of Jericho fell.
God opened the city walls!
God’s army took the city.
Rahab and her family were saved.

In his youth, Joshua modeled uncommon obedience. God called Joshua to trust him in an uncommon way to seed in him leadership that surmounted natural tensions to honor Supernatural trust.

It is this Joshua soldier that many picture when they hear his name: young, strong, warrior, obedient, victor.

Seventeen short chapers later, however, Joshua is senior citizen: After a long time had passed and the LORD had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then a very old man,” (Joshua 23:1).

Just has God presented Joshau an uncommon invitation to serve Him in his youth, Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem to present them with an uncommon call to serve the Lord.

Joshua asked the people to make a choice, “<C>hoose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,” (Joshua 24:15).

Tomorrow we will peel back that choice and examine how our Faith journey is a noncompartmentallized continuum wherein every choice we make draws us closer or further away from becoming more like Christ.

Talk about the natural versus the Supernatural tension!

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!




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