As Seen on Sunday: The Jericho Protest
We provide a recap of the Sunday sermon to encourage you in the faith each week but it's not the same thing as being here.
The image of the American protest is people locked arm in arm,
following their leader,
The imagery reminds me of the story of Jericho.
The Israelites are in formation,
surrounding the Ark of God
But there was one key difference between the American protest and the Jericho protest:
Americans can’t keep quiet.
What Can We Learn from Jericho?
Under the direct order of God, Joshua instructed the people to walk in silence around the city.
Not for just one day, but for six. Once a day for six days, the protestors made their voice heard by saying nothing.
There were no loud concerts or rousing speeches.
There was no message being delivered on painted poster board.
There was no extravagance - they simply walked around the city once per day for six days.
Christians live a daily life of protest against the ways of this world.
We stand in opposition against the darkness, the principalities, and spiritual wickedness in high places.
Every day we are marching around a Jericho.
And while we are usually very good at American protesting around spiritual issues, we are terrible at godly protesting around spiritual issues. I’m not here proclaiming that the battle of Jericho is the blueprint for the way should protest and live our Christian lives.
But I find some fascinating insights in the story that we can apply to our lives. I want to share just a few of them with you.
1. Redundant obedience reveals our core beliefs minus the hype.
A repeated action will prove your faith. Especially if that repeated action shows no immediate tangible benefits.
When the Israelites marched it was a show of faith that God would keep His promise.
It was not a hunger strike or handcuffing yourself to a bulldozer.
It was simply walking in silence around the obstacle.
Perhaps they were praying. Perhaps they were even struggling with their faith. Can you here them thinking to themselves:
“Why are we doing this?”
“This is so stupid”
Can you relate to the creeping doubts?
For example, this redundant spiritual discipline: Read God’s word and pray every day.-
Day 1: Yay!
Day 2: Yup!
Day 3: Um, Ok.
Day 4: Really, still?
Day 5: Not Again.
Day 6: Ok, I’m not getting anywhere
This is the first lesson that maybe we can glean from the story of the Jericho protest: Redundant obedience reveals our core beliefs minus the hype.
#ProtestMantra dies out so quickly.
The hype sustains for but a little while then it’s “Ooooo, shiny red ball.” and we are on to the next thing.
We can move from outrage to outrage and distraction to distraction and all that we have learned about ourselves is that we like being pissed off and entertained.
Daily spiritual disciplines are mundane tasks - yes. But they reveal something about ourselves to ourselves. When reading our Bible is seen as a chore rather than a life-giving privilege it can reveal what we actually feel about God.
When prayer is nothing more than pointless posturing it reveals that we value the wisdom of Oprah and our friends more than God. When serving others cuts into our “free time” it reveals what we are really slaves to.
And let me tell you, I don’t like a lot of the things I have learned about myself.
2. With victory comes great destruction.
There are protests that are successfully peaceful. But no successful protest that maintains the peace.
I’m not the bearer of bad news here. You know this is true. No oppression is overturned without the shedding of blood. In government realm, this means war and loss of life, or property, or human rights, or personal affluence and peace.
In the spiritual realm, there is also a great loss.
The mundane repetition built to a loud breakthrough - quite literally.
The walls came down and the invasion began.
Then the harrowing verse:
Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men, and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword.
For the new regime to be established the old had to be destroyed and replaced.
Many Christians hate verses like this. I am one of them. I don’t like the thought of the ending of any human life.
I have no problem telling God that as well.
I don’t like.
But I understand it and its spiritual significance. It is impossible to fully embrace to diametrically opposed ways of life.
We get can parts of both right never the full measure of anything more than one at a time.
When we become Christians - the Jericho walls of our hearts were torn down and the love and grace of Jesus invaded our lives...
And that sappy sentiment is more violent than we care to admit.
Sanctification is a violent process…the old man is dead and it wasn’t because of old age.
Jesus death was violent because the death of sin is violent.
And just like I don’t like talking about the ending of human life, I also don’t like the ending of my personal sinfulness.
The comfort of my sin is too great and I mourn its loss when I die. Probably because I have not yet confessed my personal sin as my own worst enemy - my greatest enemy.
Maybe we need to readjust our thinking on our sin and begin to protest it in non-peaceful ways.
3. Small victories need to be celebrated, but the war is not over
The walls came down, the people shouted, the righteous prostitute was spared and the people rejoiced.
But the bountiful gift that God had given them - the easiest destruction of a wall other than the big bad wolf huff and puffing down the piggy’s straw house - was not enough.
There’s gold in that there sin. Gold...
The stuff they make idols out of...
We should celebrate the victories that we have.
Spiritual breakthroughs are worth praising God for.
They are also worth celebrating with your spiritual family.
But on this side of heaven - the battle is not over.
And we can quickly lose when we break faith.
We should no better that protests don’t always have permanent changes.
Racial equality, gender equality, social equality and economic equality have been the subject of numerous protests.
But while there has been some processed made there has also been some progressed lost.
Maybe that goes back to the flittering passions of hype.
Maybe humans just change super slowly.
Maybe because scraping out 99% of the sin in our lives is a good start but it doesn’t qualify as a finish.
So as we move into a time of discussion, here is the first question I want to ask:
Why do we make some spiritual progress and then so quickly lose the progress we made?
Leave your comments in the section below.