In the past weeks of ACC’s “God’s Redemptive Story” series, a common theme has jumped out at us: Giants in the land. God told the Israelites, “I’ve given you this land…” But when the people saw the fortified cities and the giants, they were afraid – afraid enough to question God. 40 years later, God leads Joshua to attack Jericho, but not by conventional means. March around the city blowing trumpets, then on the seventh day, after marching around seven times, everyone shout. That doesn’t sound like a battle plan to me, but the key is, God is bigger than the giants. He can do the work, and he wants to do it in a way in which it is very clear who gets the credit. Later, in 1 Samuel 17, we find Israel once again shaking in their boots before a giant. Again, God shows himself stronger by using a boy with a sling and a stone to take the giant down.
We find parallels today. Christ is raised from the dead, showing God’s victory over even the strongest of enemies. That power is at work in and through the lives of His people. Christ says “Go therefore into all the world…” If we believe Jesus is truly Lord and King, then we must believe that this is His land. That means that giants in our city are not normal in God’s kingdom. Those powerful entities of drugs, abandonment, divorce, etc. They have been shown to be weaker than the power that is at work in us. Can we draw a parallel and say these are the equivalent of Giants in the land? I think so. I believe the Church has a responsibility to address the giants in our own lives, our church, and in our community. We have grown used to the giants, and perhaps intimidated by them, believing it is not our place to do anything. We must realize that true victory is possible – but not on our own strength. We must pray and seek God. He will give us a passion to see giants come down. He will give us the strategy, which might not look like anything we would expect. He knows the week points, the precise place the stone should hit in order to sink in and make Goliath fall.
Last week, our pastor embarked on a “Jericho Walk.” His goal was to walk a portion of the community everyday, praying that God would reveal walls and giants to him. The following posts are his thoughts from the venture. Where to go from here? Time and prayer will tell.
For those of you who are wondering, I did it yesterday evening, all the way up Commercial and back, 4.5 miles. I walked slowly out of consideration for my level of fitness. I feel great today! Only a little bit of stiffness.
I saw cars, houses, banks, liquor sources. Restaurants, a super hospital and other health establishments. A question that kept surfacing was “Who owns this?” I visualized credit cards in wallets of people that passed by. Is everyone paying purchases as they go? How many are just paying interest and suffering the consequences of a late payment. How many of the people I saw were carrying mortgages on their house and making payments on all the smooth running cars that passed by? What stories about income and debt, victories and nightmarish tales, personal monetary hope and hopelessness? I saw two houses on Commercial covered in so much weeds and brush that I never noticed them before. One car passed by sounding as though it was on its last leg. It reminded me of my ’49 Buick and ‘51 Ford I purchased in high school for $25 each. I have no time to explain all the frustrating, embarrassing experiences I had driving those vehicles in public. In fact, my embarrassment started the moment I left the driveway and didn’t stop until I returned. In fact, the embarrassment didn’t stop even then! Even with my car parked, I felt a little “lower class” due to dwelling on all the factors that led to driving old “faded green” or “rusty grey” vehicles.
This second day of my Jericho Week, I am already beginning to see paths into the “I’m not good enough!” cage. I am confident that is a message from our enemy, one he uses as a trap for multitudes. I want to stop here for now looking forward to this afternoon’s walk asking God: 1. Show me the walls; 2. Show me what is behind the walls; 3. How can You bring the walls; 4. What’s my role?