The Gospel Observer (August 2, 2015)


1) Encounters at Jericho (Mark Mayberry)
2) Preparing for the Storm (Greg Gwin)
3) News & Notes
palm trees 3

Encounters at Jericho
by Mark Mayberry


Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary offers the following description of Jericho: It is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. Situated in the wide plain of the Jordan Valley (Deut. 34:1, 3) at the foot of the ascent to the Judean mountains, Jericho lies about 8 miles northwest of the site where the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea, some 5 miles west of the Jordan.

Since it is approximately 800 feet below sea level, Jericho has a climate that is tropical and at times is very hot. Only a few inches of rainfall are recorded at Jericho each year; but the city is a wonderful oasis, known as “the city of palm trees” (Deut. 34:3) or “the city of palms” (Judg. 3:13). Jericho flourishes with date palms, banana trees, balsams, sycamores, and henna (Song 1:14; Luke 19:4).

There have been three different Jerichos throughout its long history. Old Testament Jericho is identified with the mound of Tell esSultan, a little more than a mile from the village of er-Riha. This village is modern Jericho, located about 17 miles northeast of Jerusalem. New Testament Jericho is identified with the mounds of Tulul Abu el-‘Alayiq, about a mile west of modern Jericho and south of Old Testament Jericho.

By far the most imposing site of the three is Old Testament Jericho, a pear-shaped mound about 400 yards long, north to south, 200 yards wide at the north end, and some 70 yards high. It has been the site of numerous archaeological diggings and is a favorite stop for Holy Land tourists [Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, s.v. “Jericho”].

Old Testament

The city of Jericho, first mentioned in connection with the conquest of Canaan, symbolizes divine judgment and mercy (Num. 33:50-56; Josh. 6:1-5; Heb. 11:30).

The Faith of Rahab

The faith of Rahab was evident when she protected the spies and pledged her loyalty to the God of Israel (Josh. 2:1-24; 6:17, 22-25). Accordingly, she is praised in the New Testament as an example of obedient faith (Heb. 11:30-31; James 2:24-26).

The Faith of Israel

The faith of Israel was evident as, in obedience to the Lord’s commandment, they marched around the city once a day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day (Josh. 6:2-21; Heb. 11:30-31).

The Failure of Achan

The failure of Achan occurred when, in disobedience to God’s command, he took of the spoils of Jericho, i.e., items that had been placed under ban and should have been given into the treasury of the Lord (Josh. 6:17-19; 7:1). As a result, he brought defeat to the army of Israel (Josh. 7:2-15) and destruction upon his own house (Josh. 7:16-26).

The Folly of Hiel

After the destruction of Jericho, Joshua made all Israel take an oath, saying, “Cursed before the Lord is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates” (Josh. 6:26- 27). Centuries later, in the dark days of Ahab’s reign, Hiel the Bethelite rebuilt Jericho, laying its foundations with the loss of his firstborn, and setting up its gates with the loss of his youngest son (1 Kings 16:29-34).

New Testament

The Baptism of Jesus

The baptism of Jesus likely occurred in the vicinity of Jericho (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34).

The Temptation of Jesus

Afterwards, our Lord was tempted by the devil in the nearby wilderness of Judea (Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13).

The Ministry of Jesus

Herein, we focus upon Jesus’ encounters at Jericho: first, in healing the blind man/men, next, in teaching on the necessity of brotherly love, and finally, in converting a most unlikely prospect.

Giving Sight to the Blind: The Lord’s mercy and might were manifested in the healing of the blind man/men at Jericho (Matt. 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43). The blind repeatedly cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him. Such miraculous power demonstrated that Jesus was from above (Matt. 11:2-6; John 10:19-21).

Teaching Neighborly Responsibility: In the parable of the Good Samaritan, occurring on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, Jesus makes practical application to the second greatest commandment: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:25-37; cf. Deut. 6:4-9; Lev. 19:18). The New Testament repeatedly emphasizes this important principle (Matt. 5:43-48; 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34; Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 5:13-15; James 2:8-9).

Seeking and Saving the Lost: The conversion of Zaccheus, chief tax collector in the district, affirms the universality of the gospel, and the necessity of our bearing fruit in keeping with repentance (Luke 19:1-10; cf. 3:7-9; 13:22-30; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).


Recognizing that whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, let us learn from these examples, emulating the faith of Israel and Rahab, avoiding the failure of Achan and the folly of Hiel (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11).

May we also benefit from Jesus’ encounters at Jericho. Recognizing His mercy and might, let us be thankful that He gives sight to the blind (Rev. 3:17-22). Making proper application of His parable of the Good Samaritan, let us “Go and do the same” (Rom. 13:9-10). Following the example of Zaccheus, let us likewise be converted; following the example of our Lord, let us also endeavor to seek and save the lost (Acts 3:19-26).

— Via Truth Magazine, November 24, 2013

Preparing for the Storm
by Greg Gwin

We’ve seen it many times: the report on the news tells of a big storm approaching.  Predictions are made of wide spread damage and devastation.  Images of people boarding up their homes and evacuating threatened areas flash across the screen.  But, did you notice? The sun is usually shining brightly while all of this is taking place. The skies are wonderfully blue. Why all the fuss? The answer is simple, of course. You can’t wait until the storm hits to make your preparations. So, while the storm is yet hours, even days away; the necessary precautions are being taken.

There’s an important spiritual lesson to be learned from this. Life is a constant cycle of periods of relative calm followed by often violent storms. It is essential that we prepare for these turbulent times, even when it appears for the moment that all is well. If we wait for the storm to hit, it will be too late!  Jeremiah said, “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?” (12:5). His point is an obvious one. If you can’t stand firm when the going is easy, you’ll never make it when the going gets tough.

Our strength for living comes to us through the Bible. It provides the “power” for our salvation (Rom 1:16), and gives us hope which is a sure “anchor of the soul” even in the raging tempest of life (Heb. 6:19). The question is: are you using it, learning it, so that you can endure the coming storms? Think!

— Via The Beacon, July 7, 2015


News & News

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Jesse Franklin Bailey, Jr., who passed away July 25 at the age of 75 and had been living in Blackshear, Georgia.  Let those of us who are Christians be praying for all the family and friends.
Let us also remember the following in our prayers:

Rex Hadley was taken to the VA Hospital (8/6) due to pains in his arm.  They performed an EKG and then sent him to Shands for a heart catheterization (8/7).  He has had bypass surgery before.  It was seen that one of these bypasses on the front of his heart was blocked.  But they will first try to treat it with medicine for the next couple weeks; and before he returns home, they will be doing a sonogram to check for a possible stone that has been giving him additional pain.

Brittany Crosby Royals, who recently had surgery for a broken hip, has been progressing well.

One of  Judy Daugherty’s test results for her pea-size tumor came back negative, and we are still waiting to hear the result on the other.  She had a PET scan, as well as a spinal tap.  She is also now doing better in getting around, though it does require using a walker.

Jewell Wilson,  who is now back in the home of her daughter (Joyce Rittenhouse) and son-in-law (Doyle), had a difficult night last night (8/7), which required a hospice worker coming to their home as 1:30 AM.

Eleanor Roberts has been suffering from Alzheimer’s and also not able to do the work around the house as she once did.  So her husband Henry has been doing that for her, but it has been difficult for him being in his 80s with pain in his back and feet. It is their son, Dexter, whom we have also been mentioning, who has been undergoing treatments for cancer.

Pat Joyner will soon be having surgery for breast cancer.

Michelle Rittenhouse, who began taking treatment a few weeks ago for fibromyalgia and has also recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, had been in the hospital for a few days recently.  Her blood pressure and pulse had been high and her heart had been functioning irregularly, so tests were run.  Though it showed that her heart was fine, and she was released, yet she is still having some pain in the chest area.

Other shut-ins: Mary Vandevander and  Sue Wooten

Others to remember in prayer: Ronnie Crews, Benny Medlock, Sunny Nichols, Jean Beach, Raylee Metts, Lexi Crawford, Steve Vesta, Betty Miles, Buddy Gornto, Dolly Downs Moody, Colleen Henson, Donell Wells, and Kelsey Williams

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ
(John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ
(Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized
in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21)     
6) Continue in the faith
; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

Tebeau Street
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services:
9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
7 PM (Bible class)
Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
(Gospel Observer website)
(audio sermons)


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