My Jericho

Last night’s quietness was in a way a bit of a low spot, I really was a little shaken by the silence of the house.  By the time Victoria and Eve arrived home, Ben was staying at his Gran’s, it was late and the rain that had been promised came down and came down hard, taking out the satellite TV signal with it, which was fine, because there was nothing on at all!  So I ended up reading John, Chapters 10 to 17, although I have read through them a few times over the last 16 months, I started to feel and understand them more than before.

I was particularly interested in the story of the resurrection of Lazarus, although Lazarus had been dead a number of days before Jesus arrived, he was raised from the dead, when everyone present had lost faith, when they all questioned Christ.

But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” (John 11, 37)

Yet Jesus did what they all believed impossible, he brought Lazarus back to life as if I he was only asleep, all around doubted, they had no faith in what Jesus could do or who He was.

Also, this week I have been drawn to reading Joshua 6 and the fall of Jericho, in particular what God instructed of Joshua:

Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” (Joshua 6, 1-5)

Joshua never doubted God instructions, he carried them out as instructed, with faith in what God had promised would delivered, he stayed faithful and indeed God delivered Jericho to Joshua just as He promised.

Two very different stories, one of complete faith and one of lack of faith, complete contrast to say the least.  The question I asked myself is which of those stories am I part of.

Then this morning it was back to Church, back home for me, where I really feel part of something, back to the camera for the morning preach, with Justin preaching today it meant being alert as he does tend to cover every inch of the stage.  But having said that, even though he was as lively as usual, I actually seemed to take in more of the preach than I normally do when I am filming, usually my concentration is on the preachers movements rather than their words, but this morning was different.

This morning was about our belief, our hope in God’s promises, about whether we still had faith and still believed, despite what we see before us, do we still hold on to that hope?

Justin’s examples were firstly from Numbers 13:

26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”
30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” (Numbers 13, 26-30)

When Moses sent the spies into the land of Canaan, the majority saw only fear, they failed to hold to the promise of God, that He would hand this land to the Israelites, they believed it couldn’t be done, they lost faith.  But Caleb stayed faithful and silenced the people, he believed, he had faith in the promise, he didn’t let fear take him.

The second example was Mark 5 and the raising of the young girl from the dead:

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5, 35-36)

Just as in the story of Lazarus the crowd surrounding Jesus lost faith, they simply failed to believe.

In all these stories that I have listened to or have been reading this week, the underlying issue is belief, this morning’s preach by Justin, backed up what I had been reading  and indeed what I had been questioning within myself.

Am I holding on to belief?

I’m not sure why I was drawn to read the book of Joshua this week, but again I think I was drawn to it for a reason.

If what God has promised me is behind mighty walls, do I have the faith to march around them every morning until I hear the trumpets sound and walls come down.  Will I keep doing that everyday, even though I see no change in the walls, will I let me eyes deceive me and remove my faith that God will deliver my prayers.

It’s true I let me eyes defeat my faith, I let my ears erase my belief, why can’t I be like Joshua or Caleb, it didn’t matter what their eyes saw or ears heard, they believed.  Why I am like those that surrounded Jesus and doubt His ability to raise the dead!

There is something dead in my life and I pray everyday for that to be resurrected, but between the prayers I let my eyes and ears remove my belief, so what I am going to do now?

Well tomorrow morning I am going to march, I am going to march around those walls every morning, it does matter how many mornings, I will march until one morning the trumpets will sound and the walls come down, then the dead will be raised back to life.

I have to march, I have to believe, I HAVE TO HAVE FAITH!

On my way back home from Church, whilst I was walking along the cycle track with my iPod on, this song came on, again I’ve heard it many times, but once again for the first time I actually felt it.

There’s fear in your eyes
As you face the unknown
You keep asking why
For a reason to hold on
But hold on love

The life that you plan
The dreams are all gone
You don’t understand why you should hold on
But hold on love

I’ll be here
Whatever comes your way
I’ll be here
It’s a promise I have made
When you close your eyes
And say your last goodbye
I’ll be here

I’m strong enough
I’ll be your hope
I made a way
I just need you to hold on
Hold on love

I’ll be here
Whatever comes your way
I’ll be here
It’s a promise I have made
When you close your eyes
And say your last goodbye
I’ll be here

No matter what you’re facing now
As you’re drowning in a sea of doubt
You should know I won’t let you go
No matter what you’re going through
Just remember I have been there too
You should know I won’t let you go

I’ll be here
Whatever comes your way
I’ll be here
It’s a promise I have made 
When you close your eyes
And say your last goodbye
I’ll be here

Hold on
Hold on love


3 thoughts on “My Jericho

  1. darylgstewart

    I am still praying for you. Sometimes, we do not know why God makes the requests that he does. But it is almost always a test of faithfulness. I know you will win this relay, because Jesus is the anchor. All He asks is that you finish your leg and hand the baton to Him. God bless!

  2. austinolive

    Thanks for the reflections. My wife Jami (Sober Grace) saw it a little while ago and said I should give it a look-see. I am often drawn to the story of Lazarus as well. In fact, I have a dream that someday I will be blessed to be able to return to full time vocational ministry as a church planter. Jami & I daydream about planting “Lazarus’ House Anglican Church” where we could have a parish focused on raising broken folks like ourselves from the death of our pasts to the new life Jesus offers us.

    And you’re right, the key is faith… the faith to believe the unbelievable and to hope for the impossible. After all, Jesus said that when He went to the Father He would send the Comforter Who would empower us to do the works He did, and “greater works than these.” What a promise!

    For what it’s worth, I like to remind folks that the Greek word for faith (pistis) has the meaning of “trust.” That makes it easier for me to wrap my mind around than our English word “faith.” “Faith” is sort of ambiguous and everyone has a different slant on what it might mean. For me, Jesus’ call to “repent and believe” makes so much more sense when I think of it as it can also be rendered from the Greek as “turn around and trust Me.”

    Anyhow, thanks for the sabbath reflections.




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