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Burning Jericho

Journal Entry // May 31, 2022

So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel.

Joshua 6:23 ESV

As I was reading through this section of Joshua that tells the story of the Fall of Jericho, I was struck by the vision of Rahab and her family standing outside the camp of the Israelites and watching their home and their city being burned and destroyed. This a tremendous story of faith, obedience, and suffering. Truly, I am called to this same faithful obedience in face of danger and heartache.

We all tend to picture the blessings of God as a gentle shower that comes and refreshes our body on a hot summer day. A gentle breeze that brings coolness to a stifling heat. And this is true at times. I have seen and experienced God’s blessing in my life as pure and simple comfort. What concerns me is how I react when God brings his blessing into my life that is fraught with trouble, adversity, sadness, and pain. Rahab and her family were truly blessed. This was a tremendous blessing from the Lord to not only spare her, but to spare her family. Even more than that, this family was brought into the Israelite community and Rahab herself is even counted in the genealogy of Jesus. It’s a beautiful picture of grace and mercy.

Yet, I cannot stop thinking about the image of Rahab and her family standing on the outskirts of the camp looking back at their former life and watching it all be burned and destroyed. Everything they knew and everything they had was being destroyed. Their heritage. Their culture. Their friends. Their community was utterly destroyed before their very eyes. I can see the tears streaming down their faces as they watch the city burn and their memories evoking an intense emotional response.

Can I say the same for my faith? When God asks me to give up everything I have known to save my life, can I walk this path of humility? When I see the effect that it will have on my family? When I know the pain that we are all about to walk through? I want this answer to be, “yes and amen.” I want to walk this path before me that the Lord God himself has placed me on. There may be tears. There may be intense emotions. There will be suffering and pain. But I want it all to be secondary to following Jesus.

I know I need this purifying fire in my life. I need the Lord to come and destroy my Jericho. That walled city within my heart where I harbor and live with my sin. Those walls within my heart that I think are fortified and can stand against any assault. That my secret sin is just that… a secret. I need the Lord to break down those walls and burn all that is within. I need him to bring me out safely. I need to stand with Jesus and watch my sin be destroyed. I need to shed my tears of shame and regret. I need to turn to Jesus in repentance and faith. I need to feel the warm embrace of my Savior who tells me that he has paid for each and every sin. That together we are going to go through my heart and burn down each and every stronghold of sin. One by one. Step by step. Side by side with my loving and gentle Savior.

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