Friday, September 12, 2014

shouts and silence

(by Pastor Joe)
The Word for Today: Joshua 15:13- 17:18
mark this: Joshua 6:10
But Joshua had commanded the people, "Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!"
Solomon tells us that there is "a time to be silent and a time to speak (1) ."
The problem for most of us, is that we often don't know which one to choose.  All of us, to some degree, suffer from foot in mouth disease: either by saying things that we ought not to, or not saying the things we should. I am sure all of us can recount horror stories of when we blurted out words that we regretted the moment they left our mouths. Likewise, we can also still remember that paralyzing feeling when we simply could not vocalize what our mind was screaming inside.
In the account of Israel and Jericho, we see Joshua wisely advising the people to keep their mouths shut until the appointed time. In perhaps the most puzzling battle strategy ever, God has commanded His people to fight by circling the enemy's city. You know the story already: days 1-6, lap Jericho once; day 7, lap Jericho 7 times. Not a peep until the final lap on day seven, and then, shouts, trumpets and victory! Highly unorthodox. Much more can be said about God using the least likely means to achieve victory (see, Calvary, Mount).
But even Joshua's instructions to the Israelites point us to Jesus. Unlike us, Jesus knew exactly when to say something and when to refrain. In the whole ordeal of His arrest, trial, and crucifixion, we see Jesus deliberately choose at different times to speak or remain silent.
Before the powers of that time such as the high priests Annas & Caiaphas, as well as before King Herod His silence frustrated those who sought to accuse Him (2). Yet when adjured by an oath, He boldly declared "In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven (3)."
He spoke words of truth to Pontius Pilate, yet refused to plead for any mercy or justify Himself in any way (4).  He held his tongue as he was beaten, and mistreated and mocked (5), yet He had the presence to speak words of comfort to the weeping women of Jerusalem, His mother Mary, and even a repentant thief (6).
But at the very end, Jesus said "It is finished (7 )." He then "cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split (8 )."
Now that's something to shout about.
(1) Ecclesiastes 3:7
(2) Matthew 26:63; Luke 23:8-9
(3) Matthew 26:64
(4) John 18:34-37; 19:10
(5) Isaiah 53:7
(6) Luke 23:27; John 19:26; Luke 23:43
(7) John 19:30
(8) Matthew 27:50-51

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