I’m the speaker guy at church this Sunday. And I’m scared. I haven’t read the bible aiming to teach it to someone else in many months and it’s uncomfortable, nerve racking really. It’s especially difficult because I don’t get to choose what I’m speaking about. I’ve been asked to speak about Joshua – the guy that “fit” the battle of Jericho, remember?
So I’ve read his book a dozen times in a few translations looking for the theme. The story is mostly about Israel warring with other kingdoms in the land of Canaan. But there’s a thread running underneath the plot I think: remember.
Yes, the thing I’ve asked you to do next is impossible, God says, but remember what I did for you in Egypt.
Yes, you’re only a man, God says to Joshua, but remember what I did with Moses.
Yes, it’s just a few trinkets, God says to Aikan, but remember what I told you about taking these things from the kingdoms you defeat.
God is constantly reminding the People to be brave and courageous and obedient – in a word, to trust Him, to remember who He is and what He has already accomplished. And their brain, like an Etch-a-Sketch, is constantly forgetting.
I found this instance this morning – I missed it the other eleven times my eyeballs passed over it:
Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the LORD had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over…(Joshua 4:10)
They hurried. Why? No one told them too. Were they excited to get their tents set up after crossing the Jordan? Were they eager to go to war? Were they hurrying to something or away from something?
No expert I can find answers the question. So I’m doing something dangerous – I’m inferring. I’m inferring from the track record of the People of God and from my own story that they were hurrying away from something – away from a wall of water that might come crashing down at any moment. I’m inferring that maybe, just maybe, they’d forgotten about that day back at the Red Sea. After all, none of them were there. They only heard about the miracle from granddad in a bed time story. Now granddad is dead, along with Moses, and the new guy Joshua is a little green, and the water is menacingly tall and so I think they hurried. Because they forgot.
And once again God seems to be saying, Yes, I know this is more than a little weird, appears to be dangerous, but remember who I am and what I’ve done already and the promises I’ve made and kept. I won’t talk about this on Sunday – the whole reason I think they hurried. It’s all inference, after all. But I’m talking to myself about it today as I study. As I fear. Because my memory could use some work.