In San Diego for ten days hanging out with my newest grandson born March 14. Doesn’t get much better. Walked off the plane on Tuesday, got into the car with my daughter, son-in-law, and their TWO boys and off we went to the zoo. What else do you do in San Diego? (There’s some back story to all of this, but really, that’s what we did! . . . Straight from the airport to the zoo).
When we were done (we as in the adults and the baby . . . not necessarily the two year old) we thought rather than walk back to the exit we’d use the sky tram which was nearby. But when we got to the sky tram and saw the long line waiting to board it, we went to plan B. We turned around and walked back. Better that than waiting in line.
Honestly, I don’t like waiting in line. Call me impatient, but whether it’s at the zoo waiting to ride back to the exit, or at Costco waiting to buy my groceries, or at the DMV waiting to get some paperwork done, it’s the last thing I want to do, stand in line. In fact, it takes a conscious effort on my part to chill out, settle in, and deal with this part of real life.
This morning I’m reading in Joshua and I’m envisioning another line and how much I wouldn’t want to be in that line either.
Less than $30,000. That’s what I figure was the current day value of the “devoted things” that went missing after Jericho was razed. Less than $30,000 that took the wind out Israel’s sail after the victory at Jericho and led to their defeat at Ai. Less than $30,000 that cost about 36 men their lives. Less than $30,000 that caused Joshua to walk into the midst of the tribe of Judah and tell the 76,000+ men of Judah to line up.
I’m guessing everybody knew why they were getting in line. They had heard what the LORD had commanded Joshua. They knew the plan.
“Get up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow; for thus says the LORD, God of Israel, “There are devoted things in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you.” In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by your tribes. And the tribe that the LORD takes by lot shall come near by clans. And the clan that the LORD takes shall come near by households. And the household that the LORD takes shall come near man by man. And he who is taken with the devoted things shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he has done an outrageous thing in Israel.'”
(Joshua 7:13-15 ESV)
What was it to stand in that line? To wait as one of the three clans of Judah (or maybe five, not sure how to read Numbers 26:19-15) was chosen . And then to still be in line when your family line is chosen. And then to come before Joshua, man by man, until the lot finds you out and you’re standing alone. And all for less than $30,000.
Can’t help but think that I deserve to be standing in such a line one day. That my transgression and rebellion before a holy God deserves to be exposed and judged. That just as God knew where the forbidden treasure was hidden in the camp of Israel, He also knows all my hidden sin–past, present, and future–and would be justified to demand an accounting for it.
But for me there’s no line. Because Jesus stood in the line in my place. He invited the lot of judgment to fall upon Him so that it would not have to fall upon me. He bore the wrath of God for my sin so that I wouldn’t have to. And He gave His life up as a ransom for my rebellion so that I would not have to pay a debt I could never pay.
No line for me because Jesus took my place. No price to be paid because Jesus paid it all. No wrath to fear because His perfect love casts out fear.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 8:1 ESV)
No standing in line because I’m resting in a finished work. Jesus’s work of atonement on the cross.
No waiting in line in dread. Instead, waiting with eager anticipation for the day when I am in His presence, beholding Him face to face, praising the Lamb who gave Himself for me.
No line for me.
By His grace. For His glory.