A Crazy Idea
God told the Israelites to go and claim the promised land.
Arriving at the city of Jericho, the towering walls seemed impenetrable. Their confidence may have wavered. Excuses perhaps multiplied.
And God’s plan to conquer Jericho was a crazy idea!
They were ordered to march around the walls of the city once a day for six days in a row carrying the ark of the covenant. On the seventh day, the priests will blow trumpets. the people will shout, and the walls of Jericho will fall.
It was a simple plan. No brandishing of swords. No taunts or threats. Success was not going to rest on the power and cunning of the Israelites, but the power of God. It was a matter of taking him at his Word.
Upon seeing these walls and hearing God’s plan, the Israelites may have muttered, “These walls are too big! They are too strong. They have been built and re-fortified over the course of many generations. There is no way we can reach these people. Why even try?”
Misplaced trust conjures fear. It can redirect our attention. Feelings of inadequacy can cause our knees to crumble rather than the walls before us. Crazy ideas can do that.
Can you imagine embarking on a plan to march around your city for six days straight? Can you imagine carrying a trumpet on the seventh day and having people shout? Members of your church would naturally conclude that it’s a crazy idea.
But what if they heard and understood that the directive came from God?
Their participation will be based on trusting that God’s Word – his directive – is true.
It seems that any evangelism activity during COVID-19 may seem like a crazy idea. Social distancing mixed with fear may appear like insurmountable walls.
Show Up & Trust Him
But conquering cities like Jericho and evangelism activity is God’s battle and not our own. He wants us to show up and trust him when he says “go”.
How can we muster the courage to step outside of our comfort zones to give reasons for the hope we have in Christ?
For the inexperienced, personal evangelism is not so much learning what to say, but having the power to say something when God provides opportunities. This requires trusting the One who commissions rather than the activity itself.
The Holy Spirit inspired a great missionary named Paul to record words to help believers serve the Lord:
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”Romans 12:12
These activities help believers focus more on what Christ has done for us rather than what we can do to advance God’s kingdom. It helps us focus on God’s work in us and through us rather than our work for God.
This seems to fit with God’s crazy plan for the Israelites. They marched and shouted, and the walls came down. God’s plan to carry out the Great Commission may seem crazy, too. The Word is proclaimed and the walls of unbelief crumbles. Both plans require using our voice. It was not going to be the power and cunning of God’s people that would conquer Jericho, but the power of God.
Spreading the message of God’s Word with others does require trust, patience, and hope. The hope is fueled through the means of grace. Patience relies on God’s Word to win the soul. Trust comes from believing that God’s Word works.
Don’t Focus on the Walls
Evangelism means not focusing on the walls because they often seem too high and unreachable. What seems impossible, God deems possible. Perhaps it will take months or years of walking around the walls people have built up against Christ or the Christian church. But that doesn’t mean a believer should feel intimidated or give up. Like Jericho, perhaps it will be that seventh law and gospel message, that seventh invitation, that seventh month or year before the walls of unbelief come tumbling down.
Be joyful in hope – even when a heart seems hopeless.
Be patient in affliction – even during a worldwide pandemic.
Be faithful in prayer – even when proclaiming the gospel seems like a crazy idea.
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