Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, was under God’s judgment for its wickedness.- violence and immorality. God in His mercy however, warned them through the Prophet Jonah before He destroyed it. But Jonah wanted nothing to do with it and ran way from His order. He faced the sea in its storm, was swallowed up by a great fish God had prepared to host him three days and three nights. There, Jonah repented and prayed for deliverance. The city of Nineveh received Jonah’s warning and repented from its sins with sackcloth and ashes. Jonah entered the city uttering judgment onto the city saying, Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown. The people believed in God and proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest of them even to the least of them (Jonah 3:4-5). God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God revoked His [sentence of] evil that He had said that He would do to them and He did not do it (Jonah 3:10). As a matter of fact, a decree was sent out by the king that neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything let them not feed nor drink water; but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth and let them cry mightily to God. Yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell, God may turn and revoke His sentence against us and turn away from His fierce anger so that we perish not (Jonah 3:7-9).
The calling on the name of the Lord YAHSHUA for deliverance and salvation, is for sure a way to be delivered. To call on the name of the Lord has its meaning to call out to, to cry out to. It is to invoke Him by name in distress, to receive mercy and to be saved. Psalm 3:4 says, With my voice I cry to the Lord and He hears and answers me out of His holy hill; be merciful and gracious to me, O Lord, for to You do I cry all the day (Ps. 86:3); You heard my voice; O hide not your ear at my prayer for relief (Lam. 3:56); Romans 10:13, for everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved. The people of Nineveh were given another chance when they repented of their sins. No sin is too great that God could not forgive; no sin is greater than the loving-kindness of our Lord God. All it took was for them to acknowledge their sins and repent before God. A broken and contrite heart, the Lord will not forsake.
(Joshua 6: I-21)
Walls are a means of protection, and privacy. In the early days they served well in big cities as Jericho, to mark boundaries, as we read here in the first verse of Joshua chapter one. Now Jericho was tightly closed because of the Israelites; no one went out or came in. They sought protection behind their walls, as usually they did, but this time, there would be no wall that would withstand the power of the Almighty God behind Israel’s strength! Israel’s reputation had reached their ears concerning the places and kings Israel had destroyed. According to Rahab, the people were trembling with fear of them. She said, I know that the Lord has given you the land and that your terror is fallen upon us and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you, for we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted, neither did spirit or courage remain any more in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath (Joshua 1:9-11).
After days of marching around the city, as God commanded Israel to do, the walls of Jericho came down and Israel conquered the city. They were to march around the enclosure, all the men of war going around the city once, for six days, seven priests were to bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horn and on the seventh day they were to march around the enclosure seven times, and the priests were to blow the trumpets, when at the long blast of the trumpets, the people were to shout with a great shout and the wall would fall down (vs. 3-5). The battle to conquer Jericho belonged to the Prince of the Lord’s host. But Israel had to fight against it physically. The victory was certain and powerful. The people had no chance to fight Israel and so, no one escaped besides Rahab and her family, as it was promised her. Conquered in 1599 years B.C., Jericho was visited by the Lord YAHSHUA many years later, this time not as the Prince of the Lord’s host, but as a Savior, bringing salvation to a short Jewish man, called Zacchaeus and his family. YAHSHUA proclaimed, Today, salvation came to this household, since Zacchaeus too is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:1-10). Zacchaeus’ wall came down when he admitted his sinful condition to the Lord. Salvation came to him and to his family as a result.
(Isaiah 58; Psalm 139:23-24; I John 1:9; Psalm 32:1-5; 51:2-12)
At the end of forty days and forty nights fast, YAHSHUA was hungry. The devil then came to tempt Him by suggesting, “If You are the Son of God, command the stones to be made bread.” Satan found YAHSHUA physically weak (hungry) but His Spirit was and would never be weak. YAHSHUA replied, It has been written, man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:2b -4). Here the Lord expressed that man is not only flesh and blood, but also spirit and soul. When the physical body is in need of cleansing through a fast, the spirit and soul are also benefited. Fasting should be done not only for physical purposes but also for the spiritual. Here is the kind of fast chosen by the Lord from Isaiah 58: Is not this the fast that I have chosen; to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hunger and bring the homeless poor into your house – when you see the naked, that you cover him and that you hide not yourself from your own flesh and blood? Then these promises: Then shall your light break forth like the morning, and your healing shall spring forth speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard; then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, Here I am. If you take away from your midst yokes of oppression, the finger pointed in scorn, and every form of false, harsh, unjust and wicked speaking, and if you pour out that with which you sustain your own life for the hunger and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in darkness and your obscurity and gloom become like the noonday. And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and in dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.
(Mark 11: 13-15; Matt. 21:18-22)
A week before His death, YAHSHUA rode on a young colt as the
ultimate expression of His kingship or messiahship. The people, in return,
cried out with voices of happiness, they spread their garments on the road, and
others [scattered a layer of] leafy branches, and those who went before and
those who followed cried out, Hosanna! Praised and blessed is He Who comes in
the name of the Lord; Praised and blessed in the name of the Lord is the coming
kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest (Mark 11: 7-9)! What was
going on here? Had the people accepted Him as their Messiah? Of course, not.
The people wanted Him to overthrow the Romans and become their physical king.
They were not interested in the spiritual aspect of His Messiahship. That week
was very important for YAHSHUA. In a few days, His ministry as all knew it,
would come to an end. He entered Jerusalem riding on a colt fulfilling
Zachariah’s prophecy of long ago: Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout,
daughter Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you righteous and victorious, lowly
and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zach. 9: 9-10).
Slowly, He rode to Jerusalem, the city that kills their prophets, and soon, He
too, was going to face His death at their demand. He was their rejected and
condemned King, riding on to face His death in His city- Jerusalem, the city of
the great King. A lot was happening at that time while He was fulfilling the
last things before His death without the people around Him knowing or