Yesterday’s Bible Challenge reading was from Joshua, the fall of Jericho and the capture of the Southern cities. The fall of Jericho is particularly intriguing to me. Often we come to the story thinking about how the Israelites might have reacted. In the Veggie Tale versions there is pushback from some (maybe most) who were instructed to walk around the city, play trumpets and take the Ark of the Covenant with them.
I have heard others, preachers and story tellers, reflect the same idea. How the people must have questioned God and his instructions to Joshua. How can this possible work? Is this any way to fight a battle? The walls will simply come crumbling down?
As I read the story, however, there is zero indication that this was the case. The chapters preceding may explain the lack of complaint. When we read the story of the crossing of the Jordan River there are some wonderful and very specific instructions. (It is eerily similar to the Red Sea story from a generation before. And remember, anyone there would have at best been a child if they were alive at all). Select men to gather rock, was the order of the day. The priest carrying the Ark were first in and last out. Stack the stones as a monument. Israel was witnesses to the event and that would contribute to their willingness to follow the instructions.
Then there are the residents of Jericho. Again, Veggie Tales messes with us. They have the residents of Jericho, peas that speak with French accents, hurling insults and slushies down on Israel as they marched around. Again, as fun as it makes the story, the text gives no indication of such. All it says is that the gates were barred and none entered or exited “because of the Israelites.” News spread even in those days fast. What had happened with the plagues in Egypt and the battles before Israel got to the Jordan were known by the residents. They knew Israel and her God were not to be taken lightly.
We all know the story. Six days, one trip around. Day seven, seven times around and trumpet blast, shout, “and the wall come tumbling down.”
I hear lots of lament about the state of the church. And there are struggles here in America as we try to stay significant in an every disinterested society. Be it known, the church is alive. The same God who delivered Jericho into the hands of Israel is our God. When we walk around the city walls, when we follow God’s instruction and pattern, victory will follow. The challenge every generation, every nation, every group of believers faces is sorting out what God says from what Veggie Tales tells us.
PS- This is not a slam of Veggie Tales. I love those cartoons and their slushies at Jericho.