Friday, November 1, 2013

Jericho: the Heart (part 2 of 8)

Rahab the harlot represents the true nature of the wandering and unfaithful human heart; her survival of the judgment executed against Jericho is also representative of that remnant part of the human heart (that outer-rind part) which endures the fires of judgment, that purged and purified portion which is now the representation of the whole in its much smaller size (having had much of the whole killed and dropped out of its outer-rind sheath).         

Spiritually implied is the natural antithesis of what quick discernment is as made by the unregenerated conscience or unconverted heart: presumption.  The idea of a breathing dead thing is the paradoxical dilemma we are confronted with in our study of Jericho, and particularly what it means to us symbolically and spiritually.  Moonshine and lunacy derive their types of madness from trying to live by secondary lights, the dictates of their own dead hearts and mismanaged/misinformed minds; it is like, or rather leads to, the torment Isaiah the prophet said would occur to those who tried to live by the light of their own making.  Here is exactly what Isaiah said:

Who is among you who [reverently] fears the Lord, who obeys the voice of His Servant, yet who walks in darkness and deep trouble and has no shining splendor [in his heart]? Let him rely on, trust in, and be confident in the name of the Lord, and let him lean upon and be supported by his God.  Behold, all you [enemies of your own selves] who attempt to kindle your own fires [and work out your own plans of salvation], who surround and gird yourselves with momentary sparks, darts, and firebrands that you set aflame!—walk by the light of your self-made fire and of the sparks that you have kindled [for yourself, if you will]! But this shall you have from My hand: you shall lie down in grief and in torment.  (Isaiah 50:10-11, Amplified Bible).

Before the work of redemption, God describes the human heart as “deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?” (Jeremiah 17:9, Amp.).  This is that dead moon, that false-promising odor, and that warped conscience factor; this is all the negative side of what Jericho means to us (and remains to us until regeneration).

There is a positive side, however, a regeneration, a restoration of a fine bouquet, and a clear message from a loving and saving God.  It is Rahab the harlot, and all her house which is saved by a red thread, and because she allowed God to look in on her, to spy on her (she allowed herself to be scrutinized) and therefore she was spared (saved).

She, born of the father, born of incest, from the corrupted lineage of Lot, an Ammonite, not only gets saved from destruction in Jericho, but gets inserted back into a pure lineage, a lineage which eventually produces the Savior of all mankind, Jesus Christ our Lord.  This is the destiny of all that receive God’s angels, emissaries, spies, those that allow themselves to be pre-judged by the scrutiny of God before the full-scale and final judgment; salvation is premised upon the sure ground of repentance (to change one’s mind and attitude; to switch sides from the enemy’s camp to God’s camp; to change loyalties).     

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Jericho: the Heart (part 1 of 8)

Before regeneration: “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, NASB).

After regeneration: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven;” “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5: 3, 8, NASB). 

After regeneration/maintenance period: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4: 23, NASB).

Alfred Jones, in his “Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names,” says that Jericho means “City of the moon.”  He further described the root words it originated from as “to breath…to smell.”  James Strong (Strong #3405), in his concordance, confirms Jones’ definition by combining the ideas of two things, a moon and fragrance (perception and getting a quick understanding is implied).  Thus, city of the moon or city of the blowing out fragrant odors or city of quick discernment might all work as a definition (or nuanced definition).

The heart or spirit in man is something deeper and denser than soul (deeper and denser than mind, will, and emotion).  It is the conscience and tuition and communion faculties of his being; it is that part of him which is designed to be particularly God-conscious.  However, the Fall of Mankind has wreaked havoc to this innate composition and function.  The blowing out fragrance and quick discernment characteristics of Jericho are the remnant faculties functioning outward from the inner recesses of a mostly dead heart or spirit; I say mostly dead because, though it is dead in an ultimate sense (until and only if regeneration occurs) it hobbles along in a broken and malfunctioning way.  A conscience which either condemns or affirms behavior remains, but is now detached from God and therefore from the perfect law of conscience.  Right and wrong is genuinely muddled to the unregenerate and fallen heart; nevertheless, the law of God is objective, external to this muddled man, and still obligatory upon him.

The springing up into eternal life which is the experience of those born-again, those regenerated, is the Spirit of the Lord first reattached or reconnected to man at his heart or spirit, then its expression as a fountain bubbling up from the depths of his heart.  A mature Christian, and representative of God’s ideal, is a man with a thoroughly cleansed spirit, a heart thoroughly re-dug like an ancient well, a well which once overflowed its banks or its shaft with God’s perfectly clear Spirit.

Thus those poor in Spirit are those who have nothing of their own waters to gush forth; their spirits are little more than a blank shaft which is entirely dependent on God to make the water spring forth.  Perhaps Rahab the harlot represents the extent of our contribution, and is like the thick outer-rind of a sick and calcified heart which has essentially died from the inside out; only because God comes back into us (after regeneration) and reanimates us from this center dead spot, does our Rahab-like outer-rind contribution have meaning as it begins to flesh out and reshape itself after its former substance and function.  Man’s heart or spirit was never designed to operate without God living at its center animating the whole person as the engine or motivational thrust behind all its action or behavior.