[If you’ve ever wondered, preparing a message for Sunday isn’t so much as trying to figure out what to say, but deciding what not to include… usually it’s seeking God to hear and see what the heart of the message for the congregation is that week]
At any rate, if you’re curious to what I thought was the broad stroked heart for this week was, you can hear it online. But since, it’s good to reflect about the passage, and stay close to the heartbeat of God, I thought it’d be nice to expand, at least briefly, on the very first verse of Joshua 6:
“Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in.”
Jericho itself was shut up inside and outside. Nothing came in and nothing went out. But the description lends itself to so much more. It was as if the city was not just shut off physically, but that the very hearts of the people were closed off. Like there was a very clear and formidable barrier.
Do you ever feel like that? Shut up? I’ve discovered that there are times in a Christian life where I feel shut up inside and out. For some reason or another, i fall into a trap of closing myself off from people, from God, from everything around. And that whole sensation of being shut up is a rather disconcerting one.
It’s during those times, when I don’t feel like going to church. I don’t feel like singing. I don’t feel like going to cell group. I just want to withdraw, and be alone in my weepiness and misery. How emo.
The truth is, the distance between you and God used to be an uncrossable chasm. But the reality of Jesus’ victory, brings you, a fallen and broken individual, back into the presence of the ultimate pure and holy.
So my friends, if you find yourself shutting up inside and outside, the first step towards the breaking down of those Jericho walls, is to come face to face again with Jesus. Read the Bible. Let the verses speak into your heart. And the second step is pray with your brothers and sisters in your cell group. Let yourself to be prayed for. You make a choice to enter back into a community. Like Rahab, later in the Joshua 6, she discovers the opportunity to enter into community, saving her and her family.
oh yes. i read this old article from time. some archeological evidence of Joshua 6.