“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15b
With all the celebrations heading our way, there are plenty of anticipated and unexpected emotions.
The joy of family moments together. And the dread of that gathering or those not present.
The peaceful quiet of just the Christmas lights on in the house. And the reality of the bathroom or closet in the dark down the hallway.
The wonder and delight of surprises and wishes come true. And the ache of disappointment and doubt…again.
Look at the Israelite’s entry into the Promised Land
- The flooding Jordan River stops upstream and dry ground appears for the crossing into Canaan. Everyone walks together into a new place.
- Twelve stones are gathered and like a Thanksgiving table set or a nativity put in place, the people of God mark the moment with remembering together the greatness of Yahweh.
- Then comes the command of the Lord to circumcise all the men! What a party! And instead of the anticipating of Jericho’s surrender, God commands the men – the warriors, leaders, tribal heads – to put themselves in a vulnerable, painful, need-to catch-their-breath few days. This was a time for Israel’s surrender to the Most High God. Preparation and obedience.
- Then Joshua commands the feast of the Passover be celebrated. Likely very few have ever experienced this meal of remembrance because it hasn’t been celebrated since the first one in Egypt.
- Then the command to walk around Jericho for six days.
- Then the command to walk on the seventh day, with priests blowing trumpets, and a signaled blast for the whole army to give a loud shout.
- Then victory. God’s victory. No one could claim it except by God’s command and power.
Read these Joshua 3-6 chapters and put yourself in the sandals (that hadn’t worn out in 40 years). How would you have prepared for this occasion? Warriors along with every adult male would have wondered at the strategy of physical wounding before a strategic deployment. Women were more than likely quiet and respectful of the pain in the camp. Children were still talking about where all the water went in the river and perhaps shuffling the little rocks they had picked up along the way. Preparation for God’s victory was more than a little unusual. But obedience was uppermost in this season.
Is there a word for us as we approach the ‘land’ of November, December and January 1st? What surrender is needed for us to know God’s gift of His purpose and pleasure? For the victory He has for us.
- Is there a tender pain that is taking our attention or attached to this season? Offer it in surrender.
- Is there a feast – a tea party, cookie exchange, sit and sip – remembrance you can offer that intentionally helps others experience the Sweetness of Jesus?
- Is there a walk – through your house before you decorate, through your neighborhood, around your church facility, in the mall, through your gift list and calendar, that you need to make before the rush begins?
- What is the Jericho that you see before and wonder how God will make the walls fall?
Surrender is the place to start. Kneel down right now and give thanks for His unending love and grace. He knows the way to, around, and through Jericho.
Lord Jesus, we thank You for the promise of Your presence in every season. We bow humbly before You. We do not want other idols to get in the way of our faith journey. We surrender our plans, our lists, our worries, our hurries, ourselves. May others who are watching us hear what You have done and call on Your Name, Emmanuel!