The Heart Stopping Sound in Jericho

Six days had already passed since their arrival. After the first couple of days, the worry and fear they brought with them began to fade. People began to laugh, saying, ‘Why should we worry? The walls will hold and the gates have been closed’. Yes, the guards stood at the ready, but surely by now the army threatening their city was growing tired and would give up soon. If it weren’t for their annoying horn blasts sounding off, those within the city might have forgotten them already.

A young woman stood in the busy market, enjoying the pleasant weather, contemplating all of this. She overheard some of the whispers as she passed from stall to stall. ‘I wonder what that silly little box is that they carry,’ stated one woman as she gave change to her customer. ‘I don’t know. Why don’t you go ask them?’ replied the man as he took his change, laughing deeply at his own joke. The young woman smiled to herself as she continued on. It was almost time; time for the blasts of the horns on the other side of the wall. They sounded nearly at the same time every day since the arrival of the Israelite army.

She took a few more steps, then the horns sounded. But something was different! The whole market grew quiet as everyone stared at the wall. The blasts of the horns went on longer than usual and war cries had been added to their sound. The young woman’s heart stopped as the wall began to crack and crumble before her very eyes. So what Rahab spoke of was true! This long blast of the horns was a call to action! The Lord had given Joshua and his men this land and they were here to take it. The woman took off as the ground vibrated with the debris from the wall. She had to get to her sister’s house if she wanted to be rescued by Joshua’s spies who’d promised to save them.

While this little snippet of a story isn’t true, I couldn’t get the imagery out of my mind as I read about Joshua’s shofars. A shofar is a particular type of trumpet made from a ram’s horn, and Joshua’s men had seven with them that day.

“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

Can you imagine how Joshua felt? He had seen God do amazing things before they came to the walls of Jericho (for example, the drying up of the Jordan river mentioned in Joshua 4:4-7 & 5:1). Now God was telling him that not only was He going to tear down the walls of Jericho if Joshua and his men followed His instructions but He was also giving the land of Jericho to them.

“Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you…Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them — and that you will save us from death.” “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.”   — Joshua 2:8-9, 12-14

This woman, the only one who believed in the Lord and His ways, was the only reason her family survived when God helped the Israelites invade Jericho. She had put her faith in the Lord instead of her city and it’s officials and He had protected her. This woman’s name, as you may already know, was Rahab and she had made a living being a prostitute in Jericho. Because of her the spies of Joshua sent to Jericho to “scope out the situation” weren’t captured and killed by the guards who noticed their entry into the city. Now we can find her name in the book of Matthew as part of the list of ancestors to Jesus.

God can use anyone to do astounding things in the world. He doesn’t need us to do them, mind you, but He works through us to show us what we can become. He is like a jack of all trades who can do carpentry, metalwork, paintings, write novels, create professional gardens, etc. He can do anything and create anything in a blink of an eye, but He would rather take the time to teach us how to properly sand a piece of wood that will eventually become a boat. 

I like to think He does it this way to show us how much He cares for us. It’s sort of like how my father used to show me how to fix this or that on a car. I will never be the mechanic that he is, but I have wonderful and treasured memories of him taking the time to teach me something he could have fixed in a quarter of the time it took me to understand what it was I was supposed to do.

Sadly, there are some who are missing out on making memories with the Father who loves them the most. They haven’t heard what the Gospel is or how to accept their salvation. Or, if they have, they refused to listen to sound of the call. The young woman in our story heard that sound and knew she and her family were about to be saved. Rahab and her family answered the call when the spies said it was time to leave.

Thankfully, today we have Jesus to turn to when we seek to be saved. We do not have to wait for a battle to come to our door before turning to Him, although some of us have probably turned to Him in the midst of one. All we must do can be found in the Book of Romans:

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”   — Romans 10:9

When the call to action sounds in your life, will you answer? Are you ready to see how much God loves you?  

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