Israel 2014 IFL 213Joshua has a special place in the hearts of every man in pursuit of godliness.  This Old Testament hero had few recorded flaws and faced enormous challenges.  His life in the book that bears his name is a great example of obedience fueled by faith in the God that he chose to believe.

Launching his leadership career, Joshua faced the formidable fortifications of Jericho.  It was infamous in its day as the gateway to Palestine.  God would bring His people into the Land of promise by way of a miraculous victory over a seemingly impregnable city.

Rahab the harlot played a key role in making this victory possible.  Her life and the walls of the city clashed.  At God’s appointed time through the oddest of military strategies Israel conquered this bastion of Jericho and began military campaign that left 31 defeated kings in the wake of God’s people obeying their divine authority.

My previous three trips to the Holy Land were frustrated because Jericho was closed to visitors.  The closest we Israel 2014 IFL 217could get was on the out skirts looking over the valley from miles away.  This ancient city that began the opening of the Land was closed to the eyes of a very eager pilgrim.

Now, I could walk on the grounds that Joshua had led the people.  Here they marched around the city walls for seven days.  On the seventh day the marched around the walls in silence as before a total of seven times.

I must have been an eerie feeling that week to be a defender on the walls of that city.  The growing panic that then must have erupted when the walls fell down was no doubt horror of the greatest kind.  God’s power shines while man’s best efforts just crumble.

Israel 2014 IFL 226Now, centuries after this cataclysmic miracle, rubble is all that still remains on this site.  No one has rebuilt a lasting fort on this location.  God declared a judgment on this people for their rebellion against Him and the penalty has been permanent as He said.

We saw the remains of the entry switchbacks at the gate to the city.  Archaeologists have uncovered key foundation stones of this ancient city.  Fertile fields surround the site but the remains of the destruction still remind modern pilgrims of the wrath of God against sinful lives.Israel 2014 IFL 225

When Rahab was saved from the city, her choice to follow the one and only true God was the right decision.  She was embraced by the people of God.  God included her in the line of the Messiah, a beautiful picture of the meaning of grace.

photo credit: brucefong photography