By Keith Hamilton
As Israel passed into the land of Canaan (promised land) they came to the city of Jericho. The people there had inhabited and possessed a land that had been promised to Israel for a possession. If they were allowed to remain, their idolatrous and unrighteous life styles would have a damaging effect upon Israel (Ex. 34:11-17). Therefore, Israel by the power of God defeated and removed this enemy (Josh. 6:1-2, 20). However, there was a time when they sent forth spies who were awed by the size and might of their enemy and they turned away discouraged (Deut. 1:19-28). Yet, it is not so now! How many Jerichos do we face? Do we trust in God and His power to remove the foe from our midst or do we see the size of the foe and shrink back?
Jerichos In The Church
Heresies and factions which ultimately lead to division are to have no “possession” in the church (1 Cor. 1:10). Even though this is true the apostle Paul tells us, “For there must be also heresies among you, and they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Cor. 11: 19). They prove our true metal (1 Pet. 1:6-7). It is easier to run and let someone else handle the problem or “stand on the other side” pointing an accusing finger. The conscientious Christian may find himself in the minority even among his brethren. (Remember Joshua and Caleb!) Yet, by God’s power we can make this Jericho fall!
Immorality is certainly on the rampage in the world about us and its influence is seen in the church. If allowed to continue unchecked, its effect will damage the church (1 Cor. 5:1-7) and ruin its influence for good upon the world (1 Pet. 2:11-12). The obstacle one faces in dealing with this problem are the misplaced affections of some who believe we should let the sinner alone lest we hurt his feelings. or make him mad and cause him to leave. While one should certainly be concerned with tactfulness there should not be such apprehension that we fail to do or say anything at all! We must remember that God’s ways are always best. Best for us, the church, the world, and sinner too (2 Cor. 2:6-8). This Jericho is mighty and scares many, but by God’s power we can make it fall.
Apathy, the Jericho of Jerichos, has destroyed many sound churches and is causing the deterioration of others. Like the church at Sardis many have the name that “thou livest, and art dead” (Rev. 3:1-3). Repentance and the humbling of spirits in revenential prayer are the only cure. The epitome of faith is seen when one goes on and does what he knows to be right inspite of what others are doing. Yes, this Jericho can also be felled.
When problems enter the church, we cannot have an “I do not want to get involved” attitude and be right in God’s eyes. The faithful child of God stands fully armored and prepared for the enemy’s onslaught.
Jerichos In Our Personal Life
Temptation is something each of us must face every day of our lives (Jas. 1: 12-13). The “roaring lion” is a mighty foe and some cannot cope with the day in and day out struggle with temptation. Rather than repenting, seeking God’s forgiveness, and then getting on with the business of life some get discouraged and give up when they find that they have succumbed to Satan’s devices again. It seems to me that they are depending too much on themselves and not enough on the Lord. By casting their cares upon Christ they can defeat this Jericho (1 Pet. 5:7).
Indifference is an ever present threat to all Christians (Heb. 2:1-3). It is disenchanting for a church to plan some work and then have to “beg” and “pamper” the members to get involved. Though some may try to excuse themselves for lack of experience the way to “learn” is to “do” and we must be “doers” of God’s word (Jas. 1:22-24)! By this means we can overthrow this Jericho.
Lack ofself-control may manifest itself in different forms: cursing, gluttony, losing one’s temper, loosing one’s tongue, etc. The ideal situation is for the Christian to be in control of his life even though he may not be in control of his world (1 Cor. 9:24-27).
Lack of prayer and Bible knowledge has hindered the growth of many (Heb. 5:12-14). We have not been left in this world to wander aimlessly without any help. God has made provisions in these areas (Rom. 8:26; 2 Tim. 2:15; Jas. 1:5). Therefore, by seeking His aid we can destroy these Jerichos (1 Thess. 5:17).
Do we encompass and defeat our enemies by God’s power or shrink back discouraged by our enemies size and power? “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Heb. 10:38-39).
Fall Down Jericho!
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 11, p. 341
June 7, 1984