Tag Archives: perseverance


20 Jun

Writing today’s blog reminds me of a cartoon series I read daily decades ago. The strip told the life of two characters who, like hobo clowns, let life carry them wherever it willed. Sometimes the humor rested in the foolish decisions they made, such as the time they explained the overtime they billed the customer. Their reason made perfect sense to them. They had painted themselves into a corner and had waited for the floor to dry.

The cartoonist sometimes put them as characters in different historical events. One of my favorites had them in ancient garb standing next to a wall. One said he was going to sit this round in the shade against this wall. After all, they had already marched around it six times. The setting is, of course, Jericho just before the Israelites completed their seventh circuit and the wall tumbled down.

I have sat at my computer a number of times to compose a thought intended to be an encouragement, but have been against my own wall. Life’s interruptions, stresses, and lures kept me frustrated and empty. Often I have made the same decision as my cartoon friend. I decided my effort was pointless and turned aside to some other activity.

I doubt any of the Israelites dropped out of line to sit against the wall, but I bet many wondered why seven times. Why not three or five? I wonder how many questioned what Joshua expected to happen. You must agree it was a strange way to conduct a battle. But perseverance in obedience gave them the victory and all questions vanished.

The battle of Jericho reminds me of another event when the number seven was important and didn’t make sense until the seventh time. In 2 Kings 5 we read the story of Naaman, the commander of Aram’s army. He was held in high esteem, but he fell prey to leprosy. When the prophet Elisha told him to wash himself seven times in the Jordan river, he went away from the prophet with his thoughts boiling. Indignant that the prophet did not respect him enough to speak to him directly, but sent a messenger out from his house. Disgusted that he was told to wash in the dirty Jordan when they had cleaner rivers in Aram. And why wash seven times.

His servants pressed the issue and persuaded him to obey the prophet. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to try. He turned again to the Jordan, the account continues, and dipped himself seven times. On the seventh time, he came out of the water with skin restored, fresh and clean like a boy. I imagine Naaman looked at his arms after each dip and saw no change. Did he almost give up and not do the seventh time?

Sometimes God gives immediate answers. Sometimes he tests the strength of our faith. Don’t give up if you are in a period of testing. In his time God will give the deliverance. The blank page in your heart will be filled with his word for you.

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