12-14Early the next morning, Joshua and everyone else started marching around Jericho in the same order as the day before. One group of soldiers was in front, followed by the seven priests with trumpets and the priests who carried the chest. The rest of the army came next. The seven priests blew their trumpets while everyone marched slowly around Jericho and back to camp. They did this once a day for six days.
15On the seventh day, the army got up at daybreak. They marched slowly around Jericho the same as they had done for the past six days, except on this day they went around seven times. 16Then the priests blew the trumpets, and Joshua yelled:
Get ready to shout! The Lord will let you capture this town. 17But you must destroy it and everything in it, to show that it now belongs to the Lord. The woman Rahab helped the spies we sent, so protect her and the others who are inside her house. But kill everyone else in the town. 18-19The silver and gold and everything made of bronze and iron belong to the Lord and must be put in his treasury. Be careful to follow these instructions, because if you see something you want and take it, the Lord will destroy Israel. And it will be all your fault.
Western people have been taught, since childhood, to think of all of life as secular, neutral in regard to religion, the spiritual, and God. Government is secular, as is education, and even the natural world. Most importantly I have been taught that my life, including my decisions and my possessions, is secular, that it also exists in a neutral place, not for God, not against God.
In this story there is a different category, the category of the sacred. God gave instructions that certain things in the city were to be sacred, that is, exclusively belonging to God. God wanted to make it clear that the journey and the battles were spiritual and that there was no such thing as neutral ground, no neutral decisions, no neutral possessions. They were not to hold back anything, everything was to be the Lord’s.
Which makes me think, how much am I still clutching? How much do I think I control? And, across the span of my life, what do I, in my heart, think of as secular, and what sacred? If I want to experience God, his power and his wonders, I must begin to turn over all of my life to him, nothing held back. When I do, walls that keep me from his promises will begin to tumble down.
Father in heaven, How often I desire you to come to me and to bring me joy and wisdom and many other gifts, but I want you to come into a life that I control. I am so slow to understand that my life must be yours, all lived so that your righteousness and justice will spread and people will know of the great things you have done. Today, as I work and rest, enable me by the Holy Spirit to understand what things in my life I am still claiming as mine, and give them to you. Amen.