Don't Be A Jericho Dad!

Jon Burgess


“In Ahab’s time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the Lord spoken by Joshua son of Nun.” 1 Kings 16:34 NIV


After the defeat of Jericho, Joshua declared, "Cursed before the LORD be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho: 'At the cost of his firstborn shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set up its gates'" (Joshua 6:26). Why did he give this curse? He was determined there would be no more false worship of false gods. This was the first victory in the promised land and it was a victory clearly from Gods hands. They could not blow horns of worship and walk in circles and expect walls to fall apart from the mighty hand of God. Any hand of man that would dare to build up what the the hand of God had torn down would pay for it dearly. What kind of vain ambition could so consume a father such as Hiel then, that he would be willing to build his own future at the cost of his son's future? How many foundations have been laid, how many companies established, how many churches started, how many promotions won at the cost of our children? “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." James 3:16. What have we torn down in our homes in order to build up our own occupations?


I don't want to be a Jericho Dad! The lesson of Jericho on this Fathers Day week is for each man to count the cost before building. For each man to examine the foundation upon which he is building the future. For me, if I have a successful church but have lost my sons in the process then I am no better then Hiel of Bethel. If, however, I do this the way Joshua did, then I'm trusting in the hand of God rather then my own. It becomes about His actual plan rather then my personal ambition. Gods plan most certainly includes my five sons surpassing me with their passion for Christ and heart for the lost rather then a bitter heart for the church buried in the foundations of a building project. The lesson of Jericho is that I can't do this apart from Christ! If I try I will be building on the wrong foundation at the cost of my sons. "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 3:11). Christ has already paid the price so there's no need for my sons to. When I build with Christ and on Christ I see that even Jericho (bad decisions, sinful pasts, wretched reputations) can be redeemed! Look at all Christ did in Jericho by the mighty of God: The rebuilt Jericho appears in the New Testament as the place where Jesus healed two blind men (Matthew 20:29; Mark 10:46; Luke 18:35) and where Jesus met Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1–3). It's also mentioned in the account of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30). This shows me, my boys and everyone who will witness, that God can build where I cannot and God can do what I cannot! What God builds and what God does is eternal and cannot be torn down by human hands! That's a legacy worth fighting for!


I don't want to be a Jericho Dad. I want to be a Jesus Dad! As a father of five boys and a spiritual father over many at New Hope I pray that rather then building in selfish ambition and vain conceit I would build on Christ: But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:16-18 NIV

Devotions for June 15

1 Kings 16
2 Chronicles 15,16
Colossians 1

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