Joshua then pronounced this oath, saying, “Cursed before the Lord be anyone who tries to build this city—this Jericho!” Joshua 6:26a
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.” Luke 10:13
Joshua cursed the city of Jericho once the walls of that great city had fallen and the Israelites had taken possession of it. Jesus cursed three cities in Galilee that refused to respond to his message of repentance. Travel to Israel today and visit the ruins of Jericho, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, and you will be hard pressed to ignore that something went terribly wrong in those communities. The only semblance of a wall around Jericho are the defensive barriers the Israelis put in place to seal the Palestinians off from the rest of the country. Jericho may be one of the longest continually inhabited cities in the world, but it is also a city besieged and located among countless ruins that have never been excavated. Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum—cities that once thrived in the lush and picturesque Galilean countryside—are nothing more than crumbled ruins. Plenty of people and many scholars may doubt the historicity of events such as the walls of Jericho tumbling down to the shouts and trumpet blasts of the Hebrew people. But stand amid the ruins of Jericho, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum and you will feel the truth of ancient curses. What Joshua cursed—what Jesus cursed—died, and in several instances, stayed dead. It may be hard to believe all the stories in the Bible, but it might be a grave mistake to discount them. Predictions, prophecies, and even certain curses made in the Bible have a way of coming true.
Do you believe in the Bible?
Lord, there is a temptation to put little or no stock in the claims and stories of the Bible. They can often feel fanciful, as if they are idle tales meant to impart lessons or instill fear. But the Bible is primarily a story about You and humankind’s struggle to learn how to be in relationship with You. We fail in so many ways, but help us not to fail to take You seriously. For You are our God, and we long to be Your people…and we need to get as serious about the relationship as You are. That is the truth! In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.