Jericho Part 2
Last week we looked at the historical significance of the city of Jericho from the age and topographical location to the political fights over this historic city. We also touched on the fact that Jericho is mentioned approximately 58 times in the Bible. Most importantly is the fact that Jericho has had numerous walls built around it to make it a most impenetrable place.
We looked at the Battle of Jericho in the Bible where God caused the walls to fall down under very audacious circumstances.
Finally, I took you to present day and the USA capital of Washington, DC and the comparison of both Jericho and Washington, DC.
Today, I would like to look at what the city of Jericho might represent for each of us personally.
I would like to talk a bit about Walls. I am meaning the ones that we build around our lives to keep others out and ourselves shut in. There are many reasons why we would build walls around ourselves and sometimes it is vitally necessary to build those walls to survive.
Walls are designed as partitions, dividers from one phase to the next. For example, in a house, keeping the outside separate from the inside; keeping the kitchen divided from the bedroom.
We can be in our bedroom with the walls around us and think we are alone that no one can see what we are doing in our space. We think in the privacy of our own home, that no one knows the racy, rated R books or movies we chose to watch, no one can see what sites we click on while we are online hiding away.
No one can see and notice the empty alcohol containers under our sink.
We think in the security of our home, no one outside will see us yelling and belittling our children or spouse when we lose our cool behind our walls.
Walls can be good and bad all at the same time. We all have walls – what are the secrets that you hide behind, the ones that you would never tell another living soul? We all have them, those things we do not wish anyone else to ever know. We think that we are the only ones that know our secrets, our walls emotionally, and physically hide us from the eyes of other people.
Walls can be twofold: protection and hiding, calm or fear, alone and isolated or safe and locked in, it seems it depends on why you built your wall.
The city of Jericho had a wall built around it designed to keep the city safe. The enemies cannot get past the wall to access the city to destroy it or the people. While keeping people in and safe, a wall can also keep a person locked in, isolated, alone, and afraid.
Those who have felt rejection, alone, abandonment will often build a wall around their heart by making a vow of some kind to themselves or out loud “I will never allow anyone to hurt me like that again.” “I will never trust that person or any person again.”
Any time we use words, “I will never” “It will never” “They will never” we have made a vow, those vows go hand in hand with layers on our walls. Vows and walls are a form of self protection. We do not want to be hurt again so we lock ourselves in behind our wall hoping no one can see us or touch us while often at the same time longing for someone to rush in and rescue us. The problem is that other people cannot get past our walls.
The reality of it is that almost everyone builds walls around them, some of us see that others have some pretty big walls around themselves. Unfortunately, you might be the only one who is not aware of the impenetrable fortress that has become you, much like the city of Jericho.
Let me give you some examples of walls.
1) Sexual abuse: a person will often not remember certain events, blocking them out of their memory. A child can create a “safe” place in their mind where they run to (stronghold) while abuse is happening, zone out. The child makes a vow to never trust “daddy”, “strangers” “men” ever again - or perhaps the abuse became so “normal” that they became promiscuous – looking for love in all the wrong places and decided that it probably was my fault anyways - the walls begin to be built early.
2) Physical abuse or mental abuse: same as above
3) Rejection: a person who has been abandoned or rejected will not trust others with their inmost thoughts and will have huge trust issues letting their heart feel again. A class clown is usually the child who has believes they are unlovable so they have to “act out” as a new person, someone who will be liked. “I am unlovable” so they wear a mask and keep their real self locked behind a wall.
4) Siblings: mom and dad bring home a new baby and I feel displaced or rejected. I start to believe I am not good enough anymore. The wall is starting to be built
5) Anger: if you are around someone who is angry all the time you will build a wall and learn to tiptoe around that person so as not to step on a land mine and get blasted. The angry person has a huge wall of fear or other emotion trapping them.
6) Divorce or separation of parents: almost any child no matter if you tell them they are not the cause of a marital break up will think at some point in their minds that if they had been “better, good or tried harder” that they could have stopped their parents split. The walls get built.
7) Money: you might have grown up poor or perhaps very wealthy. Money has the tendency to drive us to make vows like: “I will never be poor”, “I will do what I have to do to pay my bills” “I will never be hungry again” or “My kids will never have to suffer like I did” and the one that is my nemesis: “I cannot afford it” or “we will never be able to buy that…”
Now you will notice that some of these walls were necessary to survival and others were not at all “true”. It does not matter if it was true to not, at the time it was true to us and we used that wrong perception, that wrong filter, as the starting block of our walls, building layer upon layer of untruths.
The problem with vows and walls is this: we have taken our self care, our protection into our hands and have become responsible for ourselves instead of trusting ourselves to God. Whether consciously or subconsciously we stated with our vows that we do not believe that God can handle our problem.
As you can see, we often start building them right from childhood, by the time we get to be an adult many of us have huge looming walls that keep us distanced from others, involve trust issues with people and we have no idea that we have become a city just like Jericho. Nothing is getting in to hurt us, but unfortunately the reverse is also true: no one is coming out either. It has turned into a stalemate: no action in either direction. The person is “stuck”.
We cannot feel love from others through our wall, we often walk around feeling numb and we stop the love of God from coming through our impenetrable walls. We often feel so alone and wonder why we cannot hear God talk to us or why no one cares.
How can we take our walls down? There are times, especially in the cases of abuse that we will probably need the help of a counsellor to walk us through taking down our walls.
Other times, we can ask God to help us break down our walls. As in the Biblical account, God’s Commander of God’s army arrives and tells the Israelites that God has given the city of Jericho into their hands. God has a plan for taking down the walls supernaturally.
God can help you take down your walls supernaturally as well.
You will need to spend some time with Him asking for direction and obeying when He leads you in ways that may be uncomfortable or not familiar. Just like in the Biblical story where they had to march around the city once a day for 6 days and then on day 7 march around 7 times and then blow the trumpets and shout. It may seem unconventional or not even make sense, but God knows how you built your walls, and He will wait for you to ask Him for help to tear them down. He will not break your walls down until you ask.
You will need to ask God to remind you if you have made any vows in your life. God will always honor your vows; He will not step over them or cross them. They are your boundaries. You are responsible to break your own vows.
You can do this by saying something like this out loud:
“Heavenly Father, I come before You to ask that You reveal to me through your Holy Spirit any vows or walls, I have erected that I have made to myself or spoken out loud as a form of self protection.”
Wait and see what comes into your mind.
When vows are revealed, for each one say:
“Heavenly Father, I realize that I made a vow to myself. I have said that I will __________________________________________________________________(say what this vow is).
(**Remember vows will usually begin with “I will never” “I will not trust” “They will never hurt me again”)
Father I ask that you please forgive me for making this vow and trying to protect myself instead of allowing you to do that for me. I understand that my forgiveness is only given because of Jesus’ shed blood on the cross. I hereby ask that you Father from this moment on, be my protection, my shield and my defender. Thank you that you love me so much.
I ask this in Jesus precious name. Amen”
We all have made vows of some kind, built some walls around us, many of them we will not even recall, but God knows they are there. He is faithful to show you what you need to do to make the walls around you come crashing down just like the city of Jericho so that you can walk over the rubble and step into true freedom with the God who purchased that freedom for you.