"Now Jericho, a fenced town with high walls was tightly closed because of the Israelites; no one went out or came in."
Joshua 6: 1
"And The Walls Fell Down"
"You can't tell the exact moment when night becomes day, but you know when it is daytime."
Am I willing to let the walls I've built around my life fall down so Christ can occupy me as His dwelling place?
"God enters by a private door into every individual."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Loneliness is the first thing which God's eye named not good."
The children of Israel were at the border of Canaan. So Moses sent twelve spies to scout out the Promised Land. Two of these men, Caleb and Joshua, were enthusiastic about the land flowing with milk and honey. However, the other 10 spies came back with a report entitled: "Doom and Gloom." Rather than seeing the bounty in Canaan, all they saw was lack. Instead of being encouraged by the fact God was their leader, guiding them every step of the way, they whined and cried out that there were "giants" in the land. In fact, these negative doubters came to this conclusion: "We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we" (Numbers 13: 31. K.J.V.). But not only were the people of Canaan deemed to be stronger, the knee-shaking fact that filled God's children with terror was that the Amaleites, the Hittites, the Jebusites, the Amorites, and Canaanites lived in "walled" cities. The protection these nations had by being "walled" away from their adversaries seemed to be one of the most frightening impediments to God's children. In their narrow and confined thinking, they couldn't imagine that these walls could fall down, certainly not in their own power.
And so, for an additional forty years, these faithless Israelites wandered in the desert until the day when again, at the banks of the Jordan River, led by Joshua, one of the original spies who believed that in God's power anything was possible, the children of Israel boldly, obeyed God's direction and under the leadership of the God of heaven and earth, the walls of Jericho did come crashing down.
I call this part of the story the obvious part because when most Bible stories are repeated, it's the falling wall of Jericho we are told about. But God has another lesson about falling walls in the Jericho story of Rahab and it is found in our text for today, Joshua 6: 1. If we read this text closely, we'll note the protective walls of Jericho kept everyone from going in or coming out. As I thought about this statement, I was impressed by the fact that the people of Jericho were "closed-off." Their lives were "walled-off" from God. Not only was their city surrounded with walls, but their lives were, too. They had their own gods. They had their friends. They had their lives. They were content to stay with the status quo. Learning about a new God was not in their plans. They had walled-off their hearts and minds. And I ask you, don't we do the same thing sometimes? We become so content, so self-satisfied, so smug with our beliefs and with our viewpoints that even when the God of heaven and earth presents indisputable evidence, we close our eyes, turn away our heads, plug our ears and say, "Oh, but I like where I am and what I'm doing. I like Jericho. I'm comfortable here."
It gives me great pause when I reflect on the fact that the only person in Jericho that "let down" the walls of her life to the presence and power of Jehovah was a prostitute named Rahab. And because this precious daughter of God was open to her Father's voice, she brought her family and everyone else under her roof, out of Jericho with her.
Sometimes I have found my own life like a walled-city. Perhaps you have too. We want to keep people out. I want to hold others back. And what's more, I even find myself doing this with my heavenly Father. I've often wondered if the walls I build are because of my own fear. Fearful God may ask me to rethink some long-held tradition or may ask me to step out of the comfort of my well-protected Jericho home, leaving what I know for where He leads. Have you had the same experience?
One of the most fantastic blessings that has come into my life here at Transformation Garden is the way we, thousands of us in over 135 countries, as daughters and sons of God, have come together and have let our heavenly Father shatter the walls of pain and hurt; frustration and depression; anger and revenge -- and as the walls keep tumbling down we are all finding that what God did for Rahab thousands of years ago, He is more than willing and able to do for you and me today.
Over 6,000 years ago, in a garden called Eden, our Creator said, "It is not good that man should be alone" (Genesis 2: 18). In the Hebrew, the word "alone," as used in this text, means "separated," like a branch cut-off from a tree. God wanted all His sons and daughters to feel connected, not "walled-off" and alone.
This is why we pray for each other and care for each other. This is why it is my daily prayer that like the walls of Jericho which came tumbling down, so will the aloneness that may have brought you to Transformation Garden in the first place. For sometimes the walls around us, rather than protecting us only separate and hinder us from feeling our Father's embrace and the love He longs to send each of us.
The Irish hymn writer, Cecil Frances Alexander penned these touching words about Jesus and His death, "outside the walls"
"There is a green hill far away;
Without a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all."
May any wall that is blocking your life today, through the power of God, come tumbling down!
"Help us to help each other, Lord,
Each other's cross to bear,
Let each (her) friendly aid afford,
And feed (her sister's) care."
"I take God the Father to be my God;
I take God the Son to be my Savior;
I take the Holy Ghost to be my Sanctifier;
I take the Word of God to be my ruler;
I take the people of God to be my people;
And I do hereby dedicate and yield my whole
self to the Lord;
And I do this deliberately,
freely, and for ever."
(An act of commitment taught to
Matthew Henry by his father.)