“March around the city once with ALL the armed men. Do this for six days.”
This past week, I was surprised to see a car flipped over in my neighborhood. The driver cut the corner a little too sharply and one of the tires blew. We all know that in the case of an emergency you’re supposed to grab your phone…and take a picture. I’m embarrassed to say that my knee jerk reaction was to document the situation…. mainly to show my kids the dangers of driving too quickly in a neighborhood. I felt convicted right away and began to pray for the anonymous people in the car.
I started wrestling with the question: When did we become a culture of observers?
We see people pull out their cellphones to capture a picture or selfie all the time. A few years ago when United flight 447 had to make an emergency landing several people took selfies and posted them to social media. It reminds me of the cameraman for the nature channel who films a gazelle caught in a trap while the narrator lets the audience know that if the gazelle doesn’t break free it will certainly die. As a kid, I always wondered why the camera person didn’t stop filming and go over and help the poor animal out.
God has not designed us to just be observers, he also wants us to get involved. The impulse to capture the moment makes sense. We want others to see what we've witnessed. I'd love a selfie with David just before he attacks Goliath. I can picture the hashtag:
The conflict is when we don't transition from selfie to "servie." We can always pray, ask if there’s anything we can do to help or use that phone to dial 911, etc.
In the passage from today, Israel is getting ready to face the first obstacle standing in the way of the land God promised them. Archeologists have called Jericho the oldest city in the world. It's hard to feel the weight of approaching Jericho after growing up as a slave rather than a soldier. The only similar thing I could think of was laser tag (a weak analogy, I will admit). My boys and I like to play whenever we are on vacation. Some of the courses have a fort which protects a bullseye worth tons of points. We always try to attack the bullseye. But the last time we went three kids were guarding the fort and they were sniping marksmen (we never did check their ID's, I'm pretty sure they were tiny Black Ops). We couldn't move without getting tagged.
Unlike us, Israel was guaranteed a win but ALL of the fighting men had to march around the city, hands down one of the weirdest battle strategies in all of human history. It should have been enough to have a few representatives. But God wanted them to learn the value of working together early on. There are some miracles that we will only experience when we all participate. And this is what the Israelites learned when the wall of mighty Jericho crumbled down before them and God handed them the victory.
Is your knee jerk reaction to observe or serve?
Mark Twain once said, “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.”
Let's change that.