Friday, November 30, 2007

Of Victory and Defeat Part 1

The blank screen mocks me, again. Some days are easier than others. Some days the words just flow, other days you have to wrestle them to the earth, and beat them into submission. I dip the ladle into the gray matter, to see what will come to the surface, what will catch my attention this day. A long ago memory of a boy, a piggy bank, and the first present he bought his mother with his own money surfaces, her acid burned hands holding the purple scarf, a bone deep weariness etched on her face from the long hours of scrubbing the bathrooms and kitchens of the rich. She did it to put food on the table, to feed me and my brothers, somehow I knew that even at the fragile age of 10. The chemicals had burned her hands, it was not the first time. Even so I would give anything to feel those calloused hands again, stroking my cheek, to see that weary smile. I wipe a rogue tear from my face. I don't know how it got there. Too personal, still too raw, perhaps another time, I look back into the ladle and I see a word floating upon the ripples.
Before I can see it clearly the voices commence, yes the flesh is hung upon a tree, but it can still speak sometimes. "Why are you wasting your life this way? Why are you trying to bring light to those who have grown accustomed to the darkness, a trouble maker is what you are. Write something less controversial, your wife deserves better than working until three in the morning. Don't you want to be a success?"
As was the case with Christ's temptation, there is an ounce of truth in the enemy's lie, but a fragment does not a whole make. I rebuke the voice, and it grows silent. Finally, that place of stillness, between the torments of the things I have seen and as yet cannot share, and the things I have shared that too few heed, I find myself in the eye of the storm that is life. Stillness reigns, and I see the word clearly for the first time: Jericho.
Jericho stood before the people of Israel, as the one obstacle that terrified them. This city with its fortified walls was the one thing standing in the way of their conquest of Canaan. If not for the Man that Joshua had seen, the selfsame Man that had His sword drawn in His hand, He who had come as Commander of the army of the Lord, perhaps Israel would have retreated in silence, and defeat, perhaps they would have realized their impotence when it came to breaching the walls of Jericho.
Alas, the Man had appeared, standing beside Joshua, and after introducing Himself as the Commander of the Lord's army, proceeded to tell Joshua to take off his sandals, for the place where he stood was holy.
A solemn promise had been made, not by the lips of men, but by the mouth of the Lord, wherein Jericho, its king, and its mighty men of valor would be given into Joshua's hands. the man who had been commissioned to take the place of Moses, in the estimation of most, impossible shoes to fill, now stood on the promise of God, emboldened and encouraged by the fact that he was merely taking orders from the One who was in word and deed commander of the armies of the Lord.
If we perceive this account of Jericho in a spiritual sense, we soon come to realize that every believer must stand before the walls of their own personal Jericho, just as every believer must conquer it, that he may enter into possession of the promise, and walk in the fulfillment of his calling.
There is always that one obstacle that overshadows all others in our walk, that seemingly impenetrable fortress that the enemy has erected.
Physical Jericho was imposing to say the least. The people of Jericho had made preparations because of the children of Israel, they saw the danger approaching and so the city had been securely shut up, with none going out and none coming in.
Just as to the physical eye the conquest of Jericho seemed like an impossible endeavor, often the strongholds that stand in the way of our walking int he will of God, seem just as imposing. Men often find reason to fear, to doubt, to turn back, or to stop moving forward, and by doing so they fall into the snare of the enemy.
None of us can avoid confronting the walls of Jericho, at least once in our lives. You know what your Jericho is, and for every believer it is something different, but in the end, it can all be summed up in the word, obstacle. It is that moment of being weighed in the balance, even before we are confronted with battle, even before the first blow is struck, even before the first enemy is engaged.
Your Jericho is mean tot keep you from moving forward, from seeing the victory that God can give you, your Jericho is meant to cause you to retreat, to attempt and justify desertion by pointing out all the earthly things you might have lost if you would have stood in the gap, if you would have drawn your sword and advanced on the enemy before you. Perhaps you would have endangered a relationship with a loved one, perhaps you might have lost your job, perhaps you might have had to leave a body of believers with which you had grown comfortably lethargic, whatever it might have been, if you chose retreat, Jericho won, you were defeated, and every time you approach the walls thereafter, they will seem thicker, taller, bigger, and even more impenetrable.
One who sees that he does not stand in his own strength however, but rather int he strength of almighty God, does not retreat when faced with difficulty. A true servant of God sees the walls of Jericho as a challenge to be sure, but a challenge that could be overcome, for he knows there is a means by which the walls can be brought down, and he uses it.
There is one means by which the walls of both physical and spiritual Jericho can be brought down, unique and unequaled, and that means is the exercise and implementation of faith. We know that it was not by the hands of men that the walls of Jericho came crashing down, but due to their faith int he promises of God.
Tomorrow we discuss faith, and how we must exercise our faith in order to overcome our Jericho.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.


Anonymous said...

hey michael,

thanks for the word today, i am greatly encourged! i have faced several jerichos in the years of this journey i am in, and have not always done so in victory. but today, this word has challenged me to move forward instead of back away-thanks again.

well said-well written---p.g.---

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,
I felt your loss and your sacrifice as I read the initial part of this post. I pray that the Lord will be your comfort and your strength at all times.

Is it possible that there are many Jerichos that we must face? Or is it that the self/the flesh at times seems so daunting as if it was another Jericho? Either way, these two posts reveal a lot that I need to put in order. Priorities that need to be set that will etch a fierce decision to chose to follow Christ and obey him daily. Everyday is a struggle...small things that seem OK but like termites destroy a great house.


Anonymous said...

I know what my Jericho is, its doubt. And thanks to this site, I'm finally aware of it.

I am not a supremely confident person. I often second guess myself, and I have noticed that it seems I especially second guess myself when it comes to hearing from my Lord. When I study the bible I sometimes feel as though I'm flailing. Like I'm not sure why I have been led to one book or another. Out of obedience I read the book I have been led to, but I'm not always sure that I have discerned the point I was supposed to.
That being said, I would like to share one of the wonderful things about this post: For the past month or more the posts, both Michael's and the others, have been confirming the Word of God to me. It seems that whenever I have been led to a scripture it is referenced on this blog within a day. Literally! Timothy, Galatians, Colossians, the list goes on and on. Every time I have been led to something, you guys are talking about it within 24 hours. I didn't know I loved the book of Joshua until a month ago, when I kept seeing the word "Joshua" everywhere I looked. Since the only Joshua I knew was in the bible I thought I should open and read it. I have read it before... but it has never hit me like this time.
I want to thank everyone who contributes to this blog. I am thrilled to my core to have these affirmations. I had asked God if I was on the right track, and He saw fit to answer me in a BIG way! It is almost unnerving how closely my spirit is being led to search out the same scriptures as some of you who visit here. Thank you again for listening to the Spirit and writing when prompted.

Mrs. Pugh

rebecca said...

Shalom brother,
The victory was gained after walking around Jericho for six days in silence {to stand still and wait on God } and on the seventh day they marched seven times around the city and when they were told to shout they shouted.
They were obedient and faithful and in this manner they were victorius over an enemy that apperared to be indefeatable.
This is a good and timely lesson and i am thankful.
You are a blessing to the body, Continue to stand, be strong and of good courage.
Be still and know that HE IS GOD and He takes no pleasure in the strength of His horse or in the sorrow of His children.

Bonny said...

Facing Jericho, I am full of excuses. In my head, I know that it is possible. But I am tired, stressed, fed up, can't be bothered....I want to pack up and give up. I can put up with living in the wilderness.....and the list goes on. Lord, You are longsuffering more than I deserve.
But in His strength alone, I will persevere and not turn back. I will obey, and continue obeying, because He makes it possible.
Thank you for sharing about your dear mother, Michael. I relate to the tiredness and bleached hands, and her love for her children and family. God bless you and Monica; your daily words are such a source of encouragement.