Going in Circles

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Joshua 4-6; Luke 1:1-20

Businessmen Going Around in Circles

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11 He made the Lord’s chest circle the city, going around one time. They went back to the camp and stayed there overnight. 12 Joshua got up early in the morning. The priests lifted up the Lord’s chest. 13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets made from rams’ horns were going in front of the Lord’s chest, blowing trumpets continuously. The armed soldiers were going in front of them. The rear guard was coming after the Lord’s chest, blowing trumpets continuously. 14 They circled the city one time on the second day. Then they went back to the camp. They did this for six days.

15 On the seventh day, they got up at dawn. They circled the city in this way seven times. It was only on that day that they circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time, the priests blew the trumpets. Then Joshua said to the people, “Shout, because the Lord has given you the city!17 The city and everything in it is to be utterly wiped out as something reserved for the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute is to stay alive, along with everyone with her in her house. This is because she hid the messengers we sent. (Joshua 6:11-17, Common English Bible).

Just about every week, at least during the season, Cindy and I watch NASCAR. I have one friend who often teases me about watching a “sport” where all they do is go around in circles, never really going anywhere. He says, “All they know how to do is turn left.

I know where he gets it. In The Free Dictionary‘s section on idioms it says, “If someone goes around in circles or goes round in circles, they achieve little because they repeatedly deal with the same point or problem.”

Not everything that goes in circles falls into that category. Every week, at the end of our worship service, my congregation gathers into a circle (sometimes it looks more an ameba than a circle) for the benediction. It allows us to see each other, to look into each other’s eyes.

Another place of practically going in a circle, as it were, is walking or praying the labyrinth. Some people often mistakenly call a labyrinth a maze. Though similar in appearance, a labyrinth is not a maze. In a maze, there are wrong turns one can make. In a maze, one finds any number of dead ends. In a maze, one can find themselves lost. The bigger the maze, the bigger the problem.

With a labyrinth none of those things are true. All paths lead to the center and back out again. You follow the path and as long as you remain on the path it is impossible to get lost. You pray as you walk the path, spend as much time in the center as you desire, then pray when coming back out again.

There is one more time I can think of when walking in circles is a good positive thing, when God tells you to do so. That is what our lesson today is all about. It is just about time, according to God, for Jericho to fall to the Israelite army. Jericho was a mighty, fortified city. To take the city would not be an easy thing to do or that is what the Israelites thought. But, they were about to learn a lesson that would stick with them, for about 15 minutes. Well, probably, if we see things a bit more literally, a bit longer than that but the Israelite’s memory was never long where God was concerned.

If you know God wants you to take over a city or something else, you would think, “OK, let’s get to it.” But, that isn’t always the way God works. God sent Joshua out to take care of things God’s way. On the first six days, they went out, carrying the Ark of the Covenant around the city with soldiers going before and after, trumpets blasting and in general making quite a bit of noise. They circled the city once each day and then went back to camp and waited until the next day.

I am sure it had to be a bit disconcerting to the residents of Jericho. But, they had faith in their wall. They had faith the wall would protect them. What they really needed was to have faith that a living God would protect them. That, the residents of Jericho did not have.

When the seventh day arrived. They went around the city six times. As I read the story it sounds to me like they were silent the first six times. Then, on the seventh trip around, the trumpets blew and the people shouted. The end result was that the city walls fell and everything and everyone in them. Well, there was one small handful of people who survived Rahab (see yesterday’s post “Bad Girl, Big Faith“) and her family. A promise was made and that promise was kept.

God always keeps promises.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

2 thoughts on “Going in Circles

  1. Looks like the labyrinth at St. Paul’s – I miss being able to walk the labyrinth so often. Need to find another one! I’ll probably be the one walking around in silence, not blasting a trumpet, and trying to remain faithful.

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