Monday, March 12. Joshua 5 – 7

It seems like an awful lot of work to receive a gift.

That is, understand, what Jericho is for Israel – a gift.  God said: “I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men” (6:2).

And yet, reception of the gift involves two things: acceptance and devotion.  Acceptance involves marching around the city, once a day, every day for six days.  During the march, seven priests sounded their trumpets.  On the seventh day, they were to march around the city seven times, with trumpets blasting.  On the seventh round of the seventh day, a special long blast was sounded, the people gave a great shout, and the walls just      fell      down.

Israel did absolutely nothing to gain access to the city but be faithful to the Lord’s command.  The victory was but a gift.

Then came devotion.  It was the first city conquered.  The first of everything belonged to the Lord and the city of Jericho was no exception.  The whole of it was sacrificed to God.

Or at least, it should have been.

As we see in chapter 7, it wasn’t, and it caused Israel no end of trouble.  God’s people will give Him what is His, or His gifts will be reclaimed.

Remember that the Lord’s gifts even today must be received.  No one earns them.  They are received when His people are obedient to his will and their obedience makes them neither worthy of God’s gifts nor owed His blessings.  They remain simply gifts.  Having accepted those gifts, He calls us to devotion – wholehearted and unreserved.  As Jesus Himself will say “Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).