I stood outside my car with the rain continuing to pour all around me. My feet were in wet socks from wading through a puddle this morning. My hair was slicked back into a stiff bun after getting caught in the storm while assisting one of my patients into her vehicle. I silently willed the gas to flow faster so I could return to the warmth of my awaiting seat.
The screen alit on the pump, drawing my attention from the flood outside to the media feed. I grumbled about not even being able to fill up with gas without being inundated with superfluous information.
Then I saw the “word of the day” segment and watched to see what would appear.
The word was juncture. It was defined as a crucial point in time when a decision must be made. I regretted thinking this stream was a waste of time as I quickly pocketed the pump and slid back into my car. I wondered if other people paid attention to these vocabulary lessons.
I was reminded of Joshua. He was given an odd assignment. March around the walls of Jericho then shout, and the battle will be won. As a child, I never thought about how ridiculous this must have been for the people actually doing the marching.
I think we have been unduly influenced to assume life progresses in a linear manner. When we are faced with a task that has us spinning in circles, we are left scratching our heads.
When we begin the first lap, we are full of gusto and feel determined to run through the remaining laps to find our own victory. But as our march encroaches upon the place where we began, we find ourselves at a juncture. Do we continue, stay there, or turn around?
We continue onto our second march around. This time, we know where the potholes are and which alleys are not actually shortcuts. However, at the next juncture, we get the diagnosis. We begin really questioning whether to continue circling, as we grapple with the latest hurdle on this leg of the race, drawing our attention from the original assignment.
As we trek onward, we have lost some of that fire we had when we first started. In fact, if we look around, many of those that were with us when we began are no longer with us. Up ahead, another juncture. This one looks like divorce. We’ve already put in a few walks around the walls, but it seems as though nothing has happened. Begrudgingly, we decide to stay the course, and keep going. Maybe just one more to see what happens.
Around this time, the fourth march around, people are starting to look at us. Why would we continue down such a seemingly silly path? I mean, if God really told us He would see us through, why would he have us doing pointless walks and watching us struggle in Jericho? This is where people can make us feel that maybe we didn’t really hear God after all.
The fifth lap is more of a crawl. At the last juncture, we were faced with financial hardship. To continue, we had to make a decision between paying a bill or purchasing bigger shoes for our ever-growing teenager. But moms and dads are used to forgoing little luxuries to make sure other needs are met.
As the sixth lap comes to a close, we can see the next juncture up ahead. It’s all of our fears and anxieties. We’ve been pushing them around as we strive to keep walking around and around and around. We don’t want others to see them, as they are already judging us for carrying on around this wall. We can’t get to the last lap without facing them.
So at this juncture, we are ready to quit. This mission is too much and with all of the stuff piling up, it’s hard to remember what God said and to make the choice that it’ll be worth it. The walls are still there. The stuff is tangled up in our hearts, pinning down our unresolved thoughts like overgrown vines.
For the final walk around the wall, we are crying out to God asking him why? This time we have been instructed to march around seven times in one day. Each lap brings another question. Why did we have to go through this? Why did we have to wait each time before you told us to go again? Why did we have to juggle in Jericho while feeling jilted at every juncture? And now you are telling us to also blow our instruments?? People will surely think we have lost our minds.
But we’ve come this far, might as well give it one last hoorah. So, as outlandish as it may seem; as far-fetched as it feels, we blow the horns. To our utter amazement, the walls come down.
The diagnosis may not have changed. The finances may not have improved. The marriage may have ended. But there’s a way forward. We don’t have to keep walking around in these circles, for God has made a way through.
Will there be more junctures up ahead? Absolutely. But this time spent juggling in Jericho has taught us how to persevere. We know that we can keep moving forward, even when we don’t know what the outcome will be. Even when we don’t feel like it.
What walls do you need to have torn down? I know you’ve worked hard to build them as high as they are in order to protect yourself. Sometimes perseverance looks like survival, so the provision you affixed for yourself has become a barrier to the outside world.
You’ve seen other people’s walls and spied them out like the Israelites did. But other people didn’t have to march around to have their walls weakened. You know Rahab lived there, and even though she had a lot of stuff going on, God used her. She was special; you couldn’t possibly be rehabbed like Rahab.
But God wants to tear down every wall. He wants you to be back in community with others who will help you through. He wants to reposition you to see that the walls were a means to an end. They served you in one season, but now, it’s time to make something new.
You don’t have to keep hiding behind the walls. You may have to march around them a little longer, but trust that God will make a way through, so you can stop all the circling. Let the walls serve as a reminder of the miracles God has worked in your life.
Y’all want to know the best part? The story didn’t end in Joshua. Jericho makes appearances throughout the New Testament as a place of healing. Your story is the same.
Joshua 2:1 “…so they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.”
The Destruction of Jericho
1 Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. 2 And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. 3 You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”
6 Then Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” 7 And he said to the people, “Proceed, and march around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the Lord.”
8 So it was, when Joshua had spoken to the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord advanced and blew the trumpets, and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them. 9 The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets. 10 Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout.” 11 So he had the ark of the Lord circle the city, going around it once. Then they came into the camp and lodged in the camp.
12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 Then seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually and blew with the trumpets. And the armed men went before them. But the rear guard came after the ark of the Lord, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets. 14 And the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. So they did six days.
15 But it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early, about the dawning of the day, and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only they marched around the city seven times. 16 And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city!”
Luke 18:35 – 43
A Blind Man Receives His Sight
35 Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. 36 And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. 37 So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38 And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
39 Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
40 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, 41 saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.”
42 Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.
Luke 19: 1-10 Jesus Comes to Zacchaeus’ House
1 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”
9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”