Joshua 6:1-2 (NIV)
"Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No
one went out and no one came in. Then the Lord said to Joshua,
'See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and
its fighting men.'"
I have small children, ages 8, 6, and 5. They love to listen to Bible stories on tape as we travel in our van. Every now and then, however, some of these tapes contain small errors. They teach the children something that does not truly agree with what the Scriptures say, or leave out details that are important to fully understanding the story's meaning. We were listening to a story about Joshua and the battle of Jericho, and one of my children was talking about how the Israelites made the wall fall down by shouting. It wasn't clear from the tape what caused the wall to fall down, so I stopped the tape to explain to my children the truth. What surprised me was how difficult it was to
convince them that it was not the force of the shout and the sound of the trumpets that knocked down the wall! They'd heard the story over and over, and were sure that because the Israelites marched and shouted the wall "came a tumblin' down". It made me wonder: Do other people believe that? Was this one of those miracles in the Scriptures that could be explained away by logic? What is God wanting me to learn from this situation?
I thought a little history about Jericho and the wall would give me a better idea of what the Israelites were up against and what was at stake. I found out that the city of Jericho was one of the oldest cities in the world. It's walls were fortified, and in some places 25 feet high and 20
feet thick! It was a symbol of power and strength to the Canaanites, and they thought it to be invincible. If the Israelites could defeat Jericho, it would put the rest of the people and kingdoms in that area into fear and confusion and make the conquering of the remainder of the land easier. This was also the Israelites first battle in the Promised Land, and would set the tone for the rest of their campaign. They had defeated King Sihon of the Amorites and king Og of Bashan before crossing the Jordan, and another victory would keep the momentum going for the taking of Canaan.
I also took a look at some of the various ideas about what made the wall fall. One proposal guessed that there was a structural flaw in the wall. The vibrations created by the marching and the shouts of the people caused a breech in the wall large enough for Israel's army to march through. One "scholar" speculated that if 40,000 soldiers (see Joshua 4:13 and 6:3) marched in unison around a structure the size of the wall of Jericho that they could literally shake the walls loose enough for a
shout and blasting trumpets to cause the wall to cave in. There's only one problem with explanations like these - where does faith and obedience come in? Where is the power of God? All throughout Scripture God performs the miraculous on the basis of the faith and obedience of His people. You just can't explain away the wonder working power of our Almighty God!
So, after all the research, I came to my original conclusion. GOD MADE THE WALL FALL! It was the faith of the Israelites, and their obedience to God's unique instructions, that were the catalyst for God to release His power and knock down the wall. Their marching and shouting had no physical effect on the wall. God simply did as He promised in Josh. 6:2 - delivered Jericho into the Israelites hands!
I think what God showed me is that I often waste too much time thinking about my circumstances and lose sight of the fact that God is in control. HE has the all the resources that HE needs to bring what HE wants to pass! What He requires of us is that we have faith and believe He has our best interests in mind. The Israelites wasted 39 years in the desert because they were terrified of their enemy!
If you read the account of the twelve spies sent into Canaan (Numbers 13-14) you find that two of them, Joshua and Caleb, came back with a glowing report of the land's richness. They believed that the Israelites should go immediately in and take the land. The other ten agreed with
them about the how good the land was, but they saw that giants were living in the land and were scared of them. They didn't think the people of Israel could defeat that enemy, and they were right! But God had told them to go in and take the land. It was a command. If God commands something, He can and will bring in any miracle needed to bring it to pass! The people forgot what God had promised - that He had already given them the land - and chose to rebel and believe the negative report. They didn't have the faith to simply obey God's command and were then forced to wander in the desert. Of the Israelites who were adults when they left Egypt, only two made it to the promised land - Joshua and Caleb. This week God showed me many ways in which I am simply afraid and not trusting Him, where I am not trusting in the promises He made. He led me to read Habakkuk 2:4, "...but the righteous will live by his faith".
One more thing God showed me - He sustains those who are faithful. Not even Moses was allowed to enter into Canaan, because He broke faith with God at Meribah Kadesh. Joshua and Caleb believed God when the majority were against them, and God honored that faith. Caleb became the leader of his tribe, Judah, and at age 85 led his people in conquest of the most difficult area of the country to defeat, the mountainous region around Salem, later known as Jerusalem. Joshua became Moses' successor, and led the Israelites in the conquest of Canaan. All because they had faith when no one else did, and continually walked by faith as the Scriptures teach us to do.
Is their a "wall" in your life? A "giant"? Don't give up! Don't despair! Oh saints of God, don't be afraid!! If we are faithful to God, if we walk in His will, if we remain obedient, then our enemies have about as much chance of standing against us as the wall of Jericho did against the Israelites! Let God have control of the situation and control of you, and He'll meet your need more than you could ask or imagine. And when it happens, remember that God used your obedience in faith to release His power and blessing. Don't get trapped in what you think you know, or be fearful of what you think might happen - stand on the truth of God's Word! Don't listen to what the world says, or the traditions of man or the church! We hear them over and over and, like my children, sometime begin to believe something that does not agree with the truth of the Scriptures. Learn to put everything up against the truth of God's Word, and get rid of anything that doesn't measure up. Let God's truth hold captive your every thought. Let Him sustain you. Let His Word and the Holy Spirit guide you, and watch as the "walls" in your life turn into victories, trophies of grace and faith!
Singing for the Audience of One.......Tom Hacker