Including the Children

The battle of Jericho has been immortalized in the Judeo-Christian conscience as the epic moment when “the walls came tumblin’ down.”

So why don’t we remember the dramatic battle after Jericho?  It is known as the battle of Ai.

Ai was a city further into the Promised Land from Jericho.  Joshua tried sending a small force against it, but got pressed back and lost some men in the chaos.  So he regrouped and sent in the whole army – all 30,000 of them.  He planned a good-ole ambush assault, planting a division north of the city while another division played the bait on the east side of the city.  When the armies of Ai came out, they ALL came towards the bait division to the East.  By then, the ambushing division took the empty city and the people of Ai were trapped in between Joshua’s army divisions, and every single one of them perished.

While that is a dramatic story after the drama of Jericho, what really caught my attention was what Joshua did after the victory at Ai as an act of worship to God.  He “read all the words of the law… the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them” (Josh 8:34-35).

In other words, the children were included in the act of worship that was the reading of the law.  They were not relegated to a babysitting service while the adults did “their thing.”  I believe that if we include the children whenever possible, we will see them grow and shine like never before.


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Jesse Joyner travels nationwide performing a comedy juggling act for family and kids events. He is also working towards his PhD in Educational Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL). He enjoys playing the piano, bird watching, and old houses. He lives in Richmond, VA with his wife, Sarah, and their daughter, Kezzie.

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