fighting fire with fire
SCRIPTURE: Joshua 6
When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city. They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it–men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys. [Joshua 6:20-21]
And the walls came tumbling down…
As a child, I did not think so much about the people, but about the miracle of crumbling walls.
I have an active imagination; I can picture the walls coming down.
But when I use that imagination to picture the people being slaughtered, I am repulsed.
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. ‘Do you see all these things?’ he asked. ‘I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.’ [Matthew 24:1-2]
What is it with God and crumbling walls?
With all our emphasis on ‘God is love’, what do we do with this wall-smashing side of God?
Jesus is speaking about the end of times, the time of final judgment.
In some sense, Jericho was experiencing it’s own ‘end of times’, the time of their judgment.
I do not like the violence and death.
I can’t imagine being one of the soldiers at that time killing people.
One thing that I need to remember is that this violence and death was not God’s idea, it is the result of human choice.
We introduced selfishness, rebellion, injustice, cruelty into God’s perfect world.
We lit the forest fires; the fires that God lights are not designed to spread the fire but to contain the inferno we started.
He is fighting fire with fire.
Not pleasant, but unavoidable in the world we have made.
Notice that the city AND the temple are toppled – symbols of the sinful power structures of the time.
We may see them as neutral or innocent people and places, but these were corrupt times, places and people.
The judgment applies to both the secular city and the religious sanctuary; God does not show favouritism.
He looks into each of our hearts to discern the true motivation.
Also, we should not assume that simply because every person in Jericho was killed, that they were automatically sent to hell.
We know very well that both blessing and judgment affect the good and the bad.
Just because they died there does not determine their eternal destiny.
They too needed mercy, they too would stand before a righteous and merciful God.
Only He knows the final outcome.
Lord, I am no better or worse than the people of Jericho, or the Israelites. We all need Your mercy, we all face Your justice.