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November 1, 2015

Tel Es-Sultan, Early Bronze Age city walls and buildings at Jericho, Author Deror_avi (GFDL) (CC BY-SA-3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic, and 1.o Generic)

Jericho, or what remains of it, sits on an ancient lake bed in the West Bank. The site is today a “tel”, the Arabic term for a mound resulting from human occupation. Many of the world’s oldest cities are tels, with layer upon layer of debris accumulating over the centuries, as one city was built on the ruins of another.

The Jericho referred to in the Old Testament dates to the Bronze Age (approximately 3600 BC – 1200 BC). But archaeologists believe the first walls at Jericho were actually constructed much earlier, during the Neolithic or New Stone Age.

None of those residing in Jericho during its active lifetime anticipated that it would perish, and fade into history. Nor can we imagine that a great nation such as ours will reach an end to its life. But the lives of nations are dependent on the will of God, as are the lives of men.

When God spoke with Joshua about Jericho, He stated as an accomplished fact that Joshua had been victorious. The city at the time was still tightly barricaded against the Israelite siege; its mighty men of valor, still firmly in place.

God often speaks in the present tense when promising a future event, because He knows what will take place. America’s future has yet to be written. But our choices are being made even now. And not all are wise.

Wise or not, choices have a cumulative effect. We see that effect already, in our homes, in our schools, and on our streets. In cities and towns, large and small, we are daily moving farther from God.

For the most part, we still pay Him lip service. At times of tragedy, we still speak publicly of praying for the victims. But our prayers are few, in the intervals between. And our actions speak louder than words. We grow more divided, more callous, and more violent.

The issue at Jericho was not whether God would keep His promise of delivery. The issue was whether Joshua would have the faith – and courage – to rely on that promise.

Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua: ‘See! I have given Jericho into your hand…’ ” (Josh. 6: 1-2).

Lord God, help us to win this nation once again for You. We love her young and old; her merchants and homeless; her firefighters, nurses, and farmers. We cannot bear to see them lost, and our nation relegated to the dustheap of history.

The challenges for us are as great as they were for Joshua at Jericho. Hearts are barricaded against the truth of Your Word.

Keep us faithful. Keep us strong. Help us find common ground, without compromising our principles.

We rely on You in this, as in all things.



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