Reading Through The Bible in 2011, Part 61
What I Read Today: Joshua 6-8.
What Stood Out About What I Read Today: Joshua 6: 6-16, ” So Joshua son of Nun summoned the priests and instructed them, ‘Pick up the ark of the covenant, and seven priests must carry seven rams’ horns in front of the ark of the Lord.’ And he told the army, ‘Move ahead and march around the city, with armed troops going ahead of the ark of the Lord.’
When Joshua gave the army its orders, the seven priests carrying the seven rams’ horns before the Lord moved ahead and blew the horns as the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed behind. Armed troops marched ahead of the priests blowing the horns, while the rear guard followed along behind the ark blowing rams’ horns. Now Joshua had instructed the army, ‘Do not give a battle cry or raise your voices; say nothing until the day I tell you, ‘Give the battle cry.’ Then give the battle cry!’ So Joshua made sure they marched the ark of the Lord around the city one time. Then they went back to the camp and spent the night there.
Bright and early the next morning Joshua had the priests pick up the ark of the Lord. The seven priests carrying the seven rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord marched along blowing their horns. Armed troops marched ahead of them, while the rear guard followed along behind the ark of the Lord blowing rams’ horns. They marched around the city one time on the second day, then returned to the camp. They did this six days in all.
On the seventh day they were up at the crack of dawn and marched around the city as before – only this time they marched around it seven times. The seventh time around, the priests blew the rams’ horns and Joshua told the army, ‘Give the battle cry, for the Lord is handing the city over to you!'”
Random Thoughts About What I Read:
It seemed odd to me, but my wife and I were pretty darn convinced.
I mean, we were a part of a unique ministry that was growing numerically and all that jazz…and we’d been a part of it long enough to establish “roots” in both the ministry and the community. But that organization was focused on evangelism…and all the growth we were experiencing (and the thing I was most passionate about) was in the area of discipling folks.
So, we felt like we needed to work for a church.
And, all the resumes were coming up “snake-eyes.” Including one interview that went so well they took me house-hunting before dropping me off at the airport. Weird.
But after much prayer and fasting (yep), we felt God was leading us to Dallas Seminary to prepare for church work.
But, it was October, smack in the middle of any semester and almost past the application date for the new year.
But, how do you sell a house that fast when the neighbor’s had been on the market for months?
But, we have a toddler and an infant.
But, what about the kids we’ve grown to love?
It seemed odd to go.
Just like it must’ve seemed odd for warriors who spent their lives preparing for battle to be told to follow a bunch of priests who’d been reading books their whole lives carrying a symbolic box.
Just like it seemed odd to walk aroud, blow some trumpets and then go sit and wait. For six days.
Just like it seemed odd that God would help you cross the Jordan in miraculous ways and then bring the process to a tedious, grinding game of patience.
Just like it must’ve seemed odd that trumpets and shouting were the tools of war.
But that’s what it’s like when you follow God. You might have the big picture in hand, but it’s the details that make you crazy.
And the same thing must’ve been going through Joshua’s mind when the horrible military defeat at Ai transpired after the miraculous military victory over much more powerful Jericho. He focused on the consequences of the loss…not the cause. He was worried now. The military victory at Jericho would give them leverage and intimidation moving through the Promised Land. Now, the loss might’ve not only undone the victory but also taken them a few steps back. He was fearful and worried.
But once Joshua discovered the cause and dealt with it in obedience, it was full steam ahead.
Obedience was the key in both instances. When Joshua was likely highly frustrated and dealing with warriors who were chomping at the bit to get going, it was simply “be obedient.” Do the Lord’s work the Lord’s way and you’ll be fine. Even if it means walking around a city with no human voices going.
Even if it means stoning a man and his family for their crime (the family was an accomplice by their silence) which led to the death of 36 warriors in a battle they should’ve easily won.
Even if it means another unique battle plan to defeat Ai.
Just go forward trusting God, with obedience as evidence of that.
And when Tracy and I decided to be obedient…
…the house sold in 5 hours, we made money, and even had two buyers going at it for a little bit there.
…the application process got streamlined and we got in.
…the house we rented sight unseen was perfect for our needs, close to seminary and with nice neighbors.
…the kids understood and were great to us as we departed. We still keep in touch with many of them.
…we wound up in a church after seminary that has been a joy to serve as well as made us a part of their family for nearly 15 years.
And the moral of the story is that whatever it is that God is asking you to do, whether big or small, simply be obedient, especially if you don’t know all the consequences. No matter how strange of goofy that may appear to you or to others. The benefits show themselves, even if all the details don’t.
(Tomorrow’s Reading: Joshua 9-12)