The walls came tumbling down, CRASH!

Joshua 5:13-6:27.  The Israelites cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land but the first challenge is Jericho.  The Battle of Jericho presents two facts that are not so comfortable.  Achieving our dream does not mean that challenges and trials will not come.  We get married but in fact, we do not live happy ever after.  We discover the spouse is not perfect – nor are we.  We get that perfect job but our coworker has rough edges and there are deadlines to meet.  We buy that beautiful house of our dreams but we have to pay the mortgage.  In this world, crossing into our dream experience is often a rude awakening.  It will only be perfect as we cross into heaven and we live totally under God’s rules.  We believe life then will finally become “happy ever after.”  For now we face two realities.  God does not tolerate idolatry and God forgives.

         Joshua and the Israelites must defeat Jericho.  Our epic hero is building a nation to bless all nations and perhaps it is not surprising that God does not tolerate idolatry.  He did not tolerate it in Egypt or with the Golden Calf.  In our age of tolerance and the tendency to believe all religions lead to a god, we may find this story a bit challenging.  We do not like to separate things into right and wrong.  The areas the people of Israel were moving into, though, served baals or deities that used women as temple prostitutes, that offered human and child sacrifices and did not acknowledge “I AM.”  In God’s kingdom idolatry is not tolerated.  “I AM” is God and not our senses. It will be an ongoing theme throughout the Bible and an ongoing battle for people.

         Secondly, we meet Rahab, the prostitute.  She is the second woman listed in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus.  Rahab sees reality, God is on the Israelites side, and pleads for mercy for herself and her family.  Colloquially we would say, Rahab sought forgiveness. Rahab and family are spared.  Rahab marries Boaz’s father and Boaz marries Ruth who becomes the great grandmother of King David!  In the midst of the ugliness of life with all its challenges exists a beautiful example of what happens when we seek mercy from God.  God is just and God is merciful.

         So perhaps we need to ask ourselves today if we have become sloppy and compromised our values, trusting that God is love and will turn a blind eye.  While we believe in God’s presence, we live as if God is preoccupied with “the other guy.”  That sneaky side of our human nature is so easy to ignore and we convince ourselves we will do better tomorrow.  In truth, we lie to ourselves and compromise the faith in a God who guards our lives.  Now is the time to “come clean”.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  That seems easy but is so hard to come to the point of doing.  Let those walls of self come tumbling down, CRASH. God give you the strength to seek his face today.  He is merciful.  Blessings.

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