Sunday, July 21, 2024
Sunday, July 21, 2024
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Accepting The Invitation

         Claire stood on the rooftop. The winds blowing her hair and scarves in a profusion of bright colors and silken strands were cool and refreshing as she proudly observed the wide plain around her father’s city of Jericho. Some fields were flat and bright colored with the ripening harvest, others were a pale green as the crops began afresh from the soft mud of the recently flooded Jordan River.

         Things were a little different this year. The old folks were nodding and gossiping together. The river had behaved strangely. In full flood, covering the land as far as eye could see (or almost), then the water stopped its flow and the riverbed dried up. It all happened so quickly — in just days, the land was dry and those strange nomads came marching across. For years they had been seen, creeping up to the river’s edge and then fading back into the desert. No one paid any attention to them, least of all Claire.

         She had plenty of time to watch and wonder. She spent her early mornings on the rooftop of her father’s spacious home in the center of the city, and from her perch, she could see for miles around. Usually, she watched the roads as the traders with their donkeys wound back and forth, connecting the flourishing cities along the river. It was prosperous land, and the farmers grew the produce they traded for the merchandise in the city. Claire’s father was a merchant and knew the value of his coins. He was steadfast in his quest to make them and keep them.

         But these past mornings Claire’s attention had been drawn, not to the trading caravans, but to the nomads. They had camped on the edge of the plain, just past the river that had flowed back into place. The strange people had been busily going about some strange ceremonies she couldn’t quite make out, but this morning they were marching toward the city.

         As she watched, Claire’s thoughts turned to her mother’s sister, Rahab. She had come to the house early that week, asking her mother to gather her family together so she could speak to them. Her father wouldn’t take time to hear the crazy woman’s ramblings, but Claire had come with her brothers. They gathered in the wide central hall, lolling on cushions and enjoying the good food their mother provided.

         Rahab told them disaster was coming and, at the first sign, they must come to her house for protection. She didn’t know the sign exactly, but they would know when the time came. Soon the family was laughing and Rahab, shaking her head in disappointment, left as she extended the invitation again. “Come to my house of safety,” she said. The rest laughed, but Claire watched her aunt as she made her way down the street, back to her house on the wall.

         “What can it mean?” Claire was thinking. First the river acting so unusual and now those strange desert people were walking toward them. Soldiers were in front, then the priests carrying that box. They had it as they crossed the dry Jordan riverbed. The people followed — so many of them, and so many soldiers. As they approached the city, they left the wide road that led into the gates and began to march around the walls.

         No noise, and then Claire began to hear a strange sound. It was the trumpets — the priests were blowing them. There was no other sound. No talking. No fidgeting or running about by the children. Just that purposeful march.

         Claire began to understand. This was the sign. She felt a drawing, an enfolding. She must get to Rahab’s house of safety. But then her mother came on the roof and Claire felt foolish and held her place. She had just imagined that feeling, that speaking inside her.

         She watched the nomads each day after that. Always feeling the drawing, the enfolding, but before she could make a decision to go to the house of safety, she was distracted and changed her mind. But this morning, the drawing was stronger. Claire felt it was time to make a decision. The nomads were marching and blowing their trumpets. Not once around the walls, but over and over. Suddenly Claire knew she could wait no longer, she must run to the house on the wall. The house of safety.

         “Where are you going,” her sister called as she flew down the street. “To Rahab. She has invited us to come to her house. I believe she is right — this is the work of the supreme God, the God of those Hebrews. He has called me in my heart, and I must run to His place of safety.”

         Now Claire was just a young girl, but she spoke from a wisdom that she did not know. As she ran, her family laughed, the people on the street jeered at her, but all that time the trumpets were blowing. The sign was being given, but they wouldn’t listen. Just as Claire reached Rahab’s house, the door was thrown open and she was pulled inside, there was a great shout. It echoed around and over the walls, down the streets and across the rooftops and then it seemed to be shaking the very foundations of the city.

         Jericho is no more.

         Claire answered the invitation to safety. She recognized the sign. Will you accept the chance to go through the only door of safety? Read about it in God’s Book — the Holy Bible. There are many stories and clues to show you the way. This one is based on my imagining from the book of Joshua in the Old Testament.

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