“Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they came to Jericho.” (2 Kings 2:4, ESV)
When we choose to leave Gilgal, the place of salvation in order to grow as believer—for to remain is to become stuck in a loop without direction—we may find ourselves in Bethel, the place of vision. But Bethel has its drawbacks too. We can become so wrapped up in what God may have in store for us that we fail to allow the vision to change us into the kind of person that such a vision requires.
There were prophets at Gilgal and prophets at Bethel, but they refused to move on from the comforts of their respective pitfalls. Elisha, however, was undeterred. He was prepared to do whatever it took to see the fulfillment of the vision God had given him. He would stay by Elijah’s side wherever God led him. So when Elijah told him to stay at Bethel, there was never any doubt what Elisha’s reply would be.
Just as we were able to gain insight from the history of Gilgal and Bethel, Jericho too has fruit ripe for us to pick.
After wandering for 40 years in the desert, being told that they would see the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River into the land. It was understood that they would be required to drive out the inhabitants of the land, so they were ready to fight. So when their first challenge, the conquest of Jericho, came, they were a bit dumbfounded by God’s instructions.
If you are unfamiliar with the story, God issued some instructions that seemed pretty bizarre. The short version is that for six days the Israelites would march once around the city. On the seventh day they would march around it seven times. After the seventh time the priests would blow a long blast on their trumpets; the Israelites were then to issue a loud shout and watch as the city walls fell down.
They were to kill every man, woman, child and beast, except for Rahab, who helped out the Israelite spies, and her family. The city was to be completely destroyed. Further, they were to take nothing for themselves. The Lord had given them the city; the spoils belonged to Him.
Next week we will take a closer look at the significance of the city of Jericho in our story of Elijah and Elisha.
Blessings on your weekend!