The city and all that is in it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers we sent.
Devotion by Anne Mooney
This scripture seems harsh. Joshua has ordered the complete destruction of Jericho and all of its inhabitants with the exception of Rahab and her household. Rahab was exempt because she had helped protect Hebrew spies who had visited Jericho to check it out. Jericho was to be the first city Joshua and the Israelites went up against as they entered the Promised Land. Giving the whole city to God was akin to giving a tithe, the first share of the Promised Land, back to God as an expression of gratitude. But it is hard for me to imagine and accept that God would want the total destruction of anything in creation.
In thinking about this, I realize that what Joshua and the Israelites did was a reflection of their culture and tradition. But I also know that bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. God doesn’t control our world rewarding the good and punishing the wicked. God gives us opportunity to co-create our world by giving us freedom of choice. We can choose to share our first fruits with God. We can choose to follow God’s directives. We can choose to help each other. We can choose to hide and do nothing. God is always with us no matter what we choose. God is always with us, even in death. Maybe I really don’t need to worry so much about the people of Jericho. They belong to God. Their life and death are in God’s hands.
Dear God, Thank you for the opportunity to experience the gift of life and co-creation with you. Help me grow in faith to trust that you are always with me, no matter the situation. Amen.