Confounding the Ordinary

Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘I have given Jericho into your hand.’ Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord.  And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets blew continually… So they did for six days. On the seventh day they rose early, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. At the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, ‘Shout, for the Lord has given you the city.’ As soon as the people heard the [long blast with the ram’s horn, they] shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that [they] went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. “He it was who struck down… all the kingdoms of Canaan.” Joshua 6:1-2,5,12-16,20; Psalm 135:8,11

Israel, though newly present in Canaan, was already known and feared for its military victories and mighty inexplicable acts of its God. Jericho, shut itself up in defense, melting in fear, must have baffled at the strangeness of the army marching around their walled city, before and after the priest-transported ark, in silence, save for trumpets blowing continually, day after day. This odd circling of their city must have been as intimidating as it was confusing. Is this how Israel conquered great peoples? The seventh day answered “Yes!” when, after seven trips around, there was a long trumpet blast, an eerie, lustful shout, and the whole wall fell down flat. No siege works, no axes, just God Almighty acting supernaturally on behalf of His obedient people.

Louisville Bridge over Ohio RIver 3

The LORD was His nation’s King, and they must trust Him as they moved in to take over the land. Strategy and results were His, He was to be obeyed. His ways and wisdom, at times unordinary, would be their secret to conquest. (Joshua 2:9-11)

When has the Lord orchestrate events in our lives that confound us? Changes of career path, loved ones’ choices, moves to a new city, seemingly coincidental meetings that turn into meaningful relationships, small improvements in attitude or changes in perspective with which we had no part? His ways often are not our ways, and His wisdom may seem to us foolish, yet “the foolishness of God is wiser than men… God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise.” (Isaiah 55:8; 1 Corinthians 1:25,27)

When faced with each day’s fresh opportunities, or with what seems an impossible conundrum, do I clap together my own instincts, make plans and get moving, or look to my God Who may turn my ordinary into His extraordinary?

Wondrous Lord, have Your way in my every endeavor, and make me aware of Your hand in all things. As You lead, keep me silent, marching in Your presence, fully trusting Your trumpet blow and marvelous ways. All victory, all glory, is Yours!

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