John T. Willis

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Trouble in River City

Willson and Franklin Lacey wrote the story called The Music Man. The plot of this story is about a con man Harold Hill, who poses as boys' band organizer and leader and sells band instruments and uniforms to naive town people before running out of town with money. In River City, Iowa, prim Marian the librarian sees through Harold Hill, but when Hill helps her younger brother, Marian falls in love with Harold, and Harold falls in love with Marian. In 1957, Meredith Willson made this into a broadway show produced by Kermit Bloomgarden, which ultimately won five Tony Awards. This became a film in 1962, and a television remake in 2003.

In the story, Marcellus tells Harold that a new pool table was just delivered at River City's local billiard parlor, and Harold convinces River City parents of the "trouble" that will be caused by that new pool table. This leads to the song: "Ya Got Trouble"--Trouble in River City.

When I read this story and hear this song, I cannot help but think of the story of Achan at Jericho in Joshua 6-7. God commands Joshua and the Israelites to utterly destroy the Canaanites at Jericho [in keeping with God's command in Deuteronomy
7:1-5], and leave the spoil or booty on the ground because Yahweh won the victory and he alone receives the spoil In Joshua 6:18, God says:
"Keep away from the things devoted to destruction, so as not to covet and take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel an object of destruction, bringing TROUBLE upon you."

However, Achan, of the tribe of Judah, breaks faith in regard to the devoted things. He seizes a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels. God responds by punishing the Israelites by causing the people of Ai to defeat the Israelites. When Joshua is upset, Yahweh tells Joshua to cast lots to discover who sinned. The lots ultimately fall on Achan. (Joshua 7:10-21). Achan confesses his sin. Then God commands Joshua to take Achan and all his possessions, including the booty, into the Valley of Achor. Then Joshua said to Achan:
"Why did you bring TROUBLE on us? The Lord is bringing TROUBLE on you today."
Then all Israel stoned Achan to death and raised over him a heap of stones = a cairn.

Therefore, this place is called "the Valley of Achor." The Hebrew word achor means TROUBLE. This is the Valley of Trouble because Achan sinned against God and God punished Achan and his family. Human trouble brings divine trouble.

This is the way God works in human lives.

Share YOUR thoughts and ideas with other. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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