Every time I crack open the old testament I am immediately appreciative of the fact that God chose for me to be alive in the present day. I’m sure I would have learned to adjust, but let’s be honest; I’m really not a “live in the desert for 40 years” kind of guy. Trevor the Israelite would have been everyone’s least favorite child of God.
But more intimidating than living in the desert, more intimidating than going without electronics and yes, even more intimidating than experiencing a world without plumbing, would be the absolutely ludicrous things God asked the Israelites to do.
An example that leaps to mind is Joshua and the battle of Jericho. Joshua’s goal here seems pretty straight forward: conquer the city and move forward. But God had something else in mind. Instead of a carefully crafted militaristic strategy that would rival the brilliance of a Patton or a Cyrus, God told Joshua to do something a little more… unconventional.
“March around the city once with all of the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark.” Um… Seriously? I know we all trust God and everything, but I can pretty much guarantee you that not even God’s most devout servants of today would hop right to it. But wait, it gets even better. “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 all the people give a loud shout: then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.”
To which I would have said, “God, I’m sure that you already know this, but parades are usually held for celebrations, not for breeching city walls.” I couldn’t imagine what Joshua must be feeling. He found himself at the difficult crossroads that we all at some point find ourselves facing; God’s plan is God’s, so it must be right, but it makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE! Nobody had ever conquered a city by marching around it, and I can pretty confidently guess that nobody has since.
This was no doubt an unusual strategy. But the fact of the matter is that God has a track record of asking his people to do the unusual before he does the unheard-of. We just have to be obedient.
In the world we live in today, adhering to God’s standards for how we should live our lives is quite frankly unusual enough. But what if we actually listened to every single nudge God gives us. Talking to a stranger, asking a co-worker to come to church with you, praying with family member. Anything. All throughout the day, God is trying to get your attention. If we all listened for just a day, imagine… yeah… just imagine. Restoration. Salvation. Commitment. Grace. Mercy.
God came through for Joshua. He comes through for those who obey. The question remains; will you be be one who obeys?