W.I.S.H. – Weekly Insights for Spiritual Health 09-29-2021
Read: Joshua 6:1-19
Jericho is considered by some to be the oldest city on earth. There are actually three cities over the ages that have been called “Jericho”. The first predated Abraham and Sarah by more than 5,000 years according to archeologists. That’s the city that Joshua and the Israelites attacked. The ruins of that ancient Jericho are about a mile northwest of the current modern city of Jericho.
Modern Jericho has a population of more than 20,000. Modern Jericho is a very popular winter tourist resort area, not unlike Florida. The second “Jericho” was active in Jesus’ day, it’s ruins are believed to be at a slightly higher elevation nearby. Jesus mentioned the second Jericho in His parable of the Good Samaritan.
The site of the city of Jericho is very strategic. It is one of the few places that people are able to pass over the mountains, making it important and valuable for trade and travel. Jericho is five miles west of the Jordan River, and eight miles north of the Dead Sea. Jericho is in the deep Jordan River valley, a remarkable 800 feet below sea level. The Dead Sea is the lowest place on Earth at 1,100 feet below sea level. If you are going to cross the Jordan and enter the promised land your path will take you to Jericho.
When Joshua sent the two spies to Jericho they discover that the people of Jericho already knew that they are there and preparing to invade. The residents of Jericho had heard all about the Israelites and they are terrified. Indeed, God had helped them defeat the Egyptians, as well as a few powerful city-kingdoms along the way. As a busy trade route Jericho was privy to the news of the world in timely fashion.
You would think that capturing Jericho would be a great prize, a strategic foothold into the promised land. It was a valuable and strategic city. But God insists that it be destroyed, and Joshua places a curse that forbids anyone from rebuilding and living there (Joshua 6:24-27). The ancient ruins of Jericho remain still today an archeological site, and a testament to the power and judgment of the LORD.
Pastor Rob Nystrom