I have been to many churches for these past two months, trying to have a look around before settling in. From several churches that I have visited, each has different yearly vision. One church stated, 2014 is the year of opening doors for miracles, another say the year of opportunities, the year of grace and favour, the year of gratitude and so on. As I ponder on this, I believe no matter how diverse the yearly vision for the churches are, all is under God’s wonderful works. The essence is still the same, that this year, we would see blessings as God has reserved abundant miracles for us this year, so that we may see Him more clearly.
Before going further, what does miracle mean? When I typed “miracle define” on Google’s search bar, an apt definition appeared: “a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency“. It is something that we are humans cannot do it ourselves. Only by divine intervention, then that thing can happen. The Bible boasts an array of miracles occurred both at the Old and New Testament. One of the most fascinating miracle in the Old Testament of the Bible is the history of how walls of Jericho collapsed. I amazed at that even due to the historical facts that validate the “divine agenciness” of the incident. Let’s begin with the context before the collapsing walls occurred. The Israelites were on their journey to the promised land, but they were faced with an unpleasant condition, where the great city of Jericho laid before them. Must the Israelites go through it? Yes, it is. God had promised to give Jericho to Israel, due to the immoral state of the city. Furthermore, Deuteronomy 9:1 records how Moses prophesied that Israel would go and conquer city with a wall built toward sky, which was really assuring.
Actually, what is so special about Jericho? This is the city where Joshua ordered his two men to specially scout the city (Joshua 2:1). These two men met Rahab, the harlot. It is amazing to think that out of all people in Jericho, God chose Rahab to be privileged to host these two men on a mission from God. Even more amazing is to see that Rahab the harlot, who is not necessarily the kind of person who knows the Lord considering her profession, had her eyes opened to the wonder of God. On Joshua 2 verse 9-13, she confessed how powerful the God of Israel is. This is in itself a miracle, a harlot that can confess the magnificence of God. Not many people had their eyes opened to the power of God at that time, let alone a harlot. The acknowledgement of God’s power is an expression of her faith. Certainly, God’s revealing power can happen to anyone, regardless of who they are. It is completely a grace of God if someone can see how big God is. The miracle doesn’t even stop there. Her faith led to her entire house salvation. Furthermore, Rahab ended up to be recorded historically in the genealogy of Jesus. A prostitute that was graciously took part in the miracle of salvation? Now, that was wonderful. An act of grace indeed.
Moreover, the Israelites’ journey to the promised land witnessed many miracles. The Jordan river was crossed with breeze, where not even a drop of water touched Israel when they crossed the river. That was the second water-splitting miracle occurred after the Red Sea. It was as if the Red Sea splitting incident was not enough to demonstrate the depth of God’s miraculous power. The more interesting thing is, miracle brought another miracle. The miracle at Jordan made the heart of the Amorites and the Canaanites kings melted after hearing the event (Joshua 5:1). Dried up waters is already spectacular, but to see hardened hearts melted, is extraordinarily spectacular.
When Joshua and his people finally came near Jericho, he met another miracle, preceding the magical collapse of the walls. He met the Commander of the army of the Lord. The Bible does not explicitly wrote who He was. However, as Joseph Prince often said, “let the Bible interpret the Bible”, it is best to validate that by comparing with other verses. Most likely the Commander is God Himself for several reasons, in which La Vista Church of Christ helped me in understanding the divine nature of the Commander. Firstly, the presence that made the surroundings into a holy place was a divine power emanates from God Himself, just as what happened to Moses and the burning bush at Exodus 3:5. Secondly, Joshua was not rebuked when he worshipped the Commander, where John was disallowed to do so when he bowed down to an angel at Revelations 22:8-9. Following that, John had a vision where Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords came leading a great army of God. I believe we can safely say that the Commander whom Joshua met was God Himself.
The condition of the walls contributes to its reputation, probably one of the most highly defensive structure in the history. The supporting characteristics were the layers and the thickness of the walls. The wall consisted of two layers, each sending a message how impenetrable the Jericho’s defence is. In that time, the wall even could be used for cart racing, indicating how strong and thick the wall is. Even several thousand people were actually live inside the walls, including Rahab (Joshua 2:15). The miracle at Jericho is really a miracle of how the impenetrable becomes penetrable. This inspiring story can happen to us, because God is still the same. God is faithful to what He has promised. He did His miracle (Joshua 6:2) just what He had promised in Joshua 1:3. Even more startling is how He did His miracle. A group of priests with shofar was selected as the main components of the destruction of the walls, not a group of fully equipped muscular knights. Interestingly, shofar was an instrument used in the procession of atonement in Jewish tradition. In addition, the ark represents the throne of God, the very presence of God during that period. It is as if the message was that God’s presence in His atoning work is able to destroy the walls that divide us with our Father. If that’s the case, it is the greatest miracle indeed. To see that we can reunited again to our God, by the gracious work of God Himself.
Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). There is no other way to heaven, to our Father. He is the open door to eternity. There is nothing we can do to open the way to the life after our current time on earth. That’s why we need His miracle to lead the way for us. Consider how the Romans’ elite palace guard were saved. Apostle Paul was arrested and chained inside the Roman’s palace. He was chained to the palace’s most elite guards, 24 hours a day. seven days a week (24/7). In other words, he was imprisoned in an impregnable bastion. There was absolutely no humanly way possible for him to escape. However, in the situation where the door to escape was seemingly closed, another door opened (Philippians 1:12-14). His situation made him possible to share the good news of salvation to the palace guards (24/7). His message of redemption spread and tipped, even reached to the higher hierarchies at the palace (Philippians 4:22). Miracle happened in the most unlikely situation.
When we meet God and hold fast to His word, His miracles are guaranteed in His name. He sacrificed Himself, as a token of our redemption. He tore the veil that hinders us from coming to our Heavenly Father, and guaranteed our victory over death. The walls with no open doors became the door of miracles. The miracle that is even greater than physical miracles, that is: our salvation. The Lord was with Joshua when he was blessed to witness the miracle of God to take place. We also need to remember that Jesus is always with us forever (Matthew 28:20). He is our door of salvation to eternity. What are other miracles compared to this grand miracle (Romans 8:32) ? Jesus is our door of miracles indeed.