Friday, August 14, 2015

The Battle of Jericho Revisited

Joshua led the Israelites in a decisive battle against the walled city Jericho.  After sending spies in to scope it out, he received divine help in overthrowing it.  His instructions were to march with the Ark of the Covenant around the city once a day for six days.  On the seventh day he was to march around the city with the Ark of the Covenant seven times and on the seventh time, the shofar (ram’s-horn trumpet) was to be blown and the people were to yell loudly.  Miraculously the walls fell down.  This event became memorialized in the Jewish calendar as the Feast of Trumpets.

I want to explore how this story could be applied allegorically to other situations.  There are many kinds of walls.  We build them to protect ourselves.  (See Hiding from Love by John Townsend).  Sometimes the walls we build end up inhibiting our freedom to move forward in life.  

For example: I have a fear of being abandoned.  So when I meet a new person that I’d like to have for a friend, I experience anxiety at the thought of rejection.  I approach friendship tentatively.  If there is any competition, I withdraw.  This fear has become ridiculous in that it prevents me from present happiness.

In order to break down the wall of fear, I might need to circle the problem.  I might read a book on the subject.  And reading can give essential insights into difficult problems, but it might take more circling.  I might need to consider my self-defeating thoughts.  I might need to accept my characteristics which are off-putting and decide that whatever others think, I love myself.  I might need to set some goals for meeting people and learning to be vulnerable (See Daring Greatly by Brene Brown).  And still, the walls may not come down.  

How many of us give up when one or two of our solutions are unsuccessful?

And what about that going seven times on the seventh day around the wall?  As we become more and more focused on a problem, we begin to gain emotional momentum.  This momentum is in the faith and hope needed to overcome the wall (See Getting Unstuck by Pema Chodron).  When we yell, with God’s help, the wall will come down.  

I think that often we have conflicting motives.  We want something but another desire conflicts with it in some way.  The yell that brings down walls comes from the unified voices of all our desires.  No longer are we conflicted.  No longer is there anything else that we want.  

God works miracles when we are finally ready.

Image credit:  By the Providence Lithograph Company [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons