This evening I was thinking about all the talk around building the “Wall” along our southern border to stop, or at least greatly reduce, the number of illegal immigrants entering the United States. This initiative has become a hot button in our society today. Either you are for the wall or you are vehemently against it. And clearly, it is not the purpose of this blog to take a stance and campaign for one position or the other. Suffice it to say that people are passionate about the wall and even those who may have been for it years ago have now turned against the initiative, along with so many other projects, that our President Trump wants to get accomplished. The divide runs deep in our country and I am concerned that it will be tough to heal such animosity in the near future.
But tonight’s post is about a different wall – a wall we find talked about in the Bible. And like so many other things I learned in seminary, it took the study of the original languages for me to understand the story of the wall at an entirely different level.
Many of the things that I learned in seminary, particularly in the study of the Greek and Hebrew, helped me to understand the Bible in ways that I never thought possible. This is due to the fact that the original languages are so colorful and descriptive in ways that English doesn’t approach. And this makes the stories come alive in new and exciting ways, giving us details that are lost in the English translations.
The story of the fall of Jericho is one such story. The story revolves around the premise that Joshua and his army were trying to conquer Jericho and were preparing for battle to take the city. The Lord spoke to Joshua and gave him an alternative plan. In fact, the plan seemed kind of strange. For six days, Joshua’s troops were to walk around the city, quietly, and without any sort of attack. On the seventh day, the troops were to walk around the city seven times and then, at Joshua’s command, they were to shout. When the shouting commenced, the wall would fall.
And that is what happened according to the Bible. Joshua and his men did exactly what the Lord instructed them to do and on the seventh day, at the completion of all that the Lord had instructed them to do, the wall came down and Joshua’s men took the city – completely.
As children, we all heard the story of the wall that “came tumbling down” but according to the original Hebrew that is not exactly what happened. In fact, a miracle occurred. Because Joshua’s troops walked right into Jericho and didn’t even have to climb over the rubble where the wall used to be. That’s because the Hebrew tells us that the wall fell straight down, into the ground, and the army went into Jericho on level ground. It’s like the earth opened up and the wall collapsed into the hole that was created. Then the earth closed back up and the troops crossed over. Quite different than we assume from our childhood Bible stories, isn’t it?
Our verse for tonight highlights the verse that tells us Joshua’s troops took Jericho. Joshua tells us about that seventh day, the day they entered Jericho in Joshua 6:20, “When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city.” Notice that the Scripture tells us that every man charged “straight in”? That’s the level ground part – they walked right in to capture the city.
My encouragement tonight is that God loves it when we depend on Him to help us through the trials and tribulations of our lives, just like Joshua did. My prayer is that we will have the faith to believe in a God bigger than we can possibly imagine. Because God can accomplish things far beyond our ability to even comprehend. In fact, if our current problems between Republicans and Democrats is to be solved, it will be because God had a hand in it – for sure. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…