Joshua 5:1-7:15; Luke 15:1-32; Psalm 81:1-16; Proverbs 13:1
Man, I got the good stuff today! There's no way I can touch on it all, so I want to just draw the scene a bit for our readings.
Jericho is another one of those flannelgraph stories. I tried to slow down as I read it today - really looking at the tension and the obedience and the drama and the outcomes. Imagine the men of Israel - 40,000 strong (see Josh. 4:13) - marching silently around the city's walls, accompanied only by the wails of rams' horns, observed by the warriors of Jericho. Eerie. Imagine the beginnings of fear among the city's inhabitants (which likely included people from the surrounding villages who had fled there for shelter from the approaching Israelite force) as this ritual was repeated day after day. Imagine the Jericho army as its complacency was shaken when the pattern changed on the seventh day. Their false sense of security would have been shattered by the deafening cry of 40,000 soldier-voices. Imagine walls that one source indicated could withstand a year of siege simply disintegrating into dust. Poof. And the army sweeps in and obeys God (with the exception of Achan); their discipline and training, which have kept them quiet until now, contain what could have been a rioting, looting, pillaging army within and under the control of God's dictates. So very unexpected. And, yet, just as God said.
And our New Testament: the parables of the lost sheep, coin, son. Our four-year-old recently had the lost sheep as a Sunday School lesson. She told me the whole story, missing sheep and searching shepherd and the celebration. It was so great! I've always read these stories primarily from the standpoint of me being a sheep, a coin, a son. But imagine the Lord. He is the shepherd, he is the woman, he is the father. What do you learn about his love for you? See how intent he is, how deliberate. See how consumed he is with finding his lost item. He takes dramatic steps to reclaim his sheep, his coin, his son. He is fixated on them. That is us, my friends. He is intent upon us, deliberate toward us, consumed with love for us. And he wants everyone to know. "Rejoice with me," he says twice (Lk. 15:6,9); "we had to celebrate and be glad," the father exclaims (vs. 32, emphasis mine). What a wonderful set of pictures to help us see how much our Mighty God loves us.
Lord, thank you for your love. Thank you for the word pictures that you gave us so we could begin to imagine it. Thank you for the immense dedication you have toward us. Thank you for the power you displayed at Jericho and continue to demonstrate today. How grateful we are that you are all-loving and all-powerful. Amen.
- Sarah Marsh
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