This morning I was reading a few chapters in the book of Joshua, an amazing story of how God literally collapsed the walls of Jericho for the Israelites’ taking. The element that I like most about this book so far is how everything was done by faith. Instead of relying upon brute force and military campaigns to ambush the city, God had a different plan. It was quite unconventional, if you ask me.
“So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, ‘Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.’ And he ordered the people, ‘Advance! March around the city, with the armed guard going ahead of the ark of the Lord.'” (Joshua 6:6-7)
Now let’s go back to the first time we ever heard of or read how the fall of Jericho came about. Let’s pretend that we’ve never heard this story before. What would be your first thought after reading these verses, not knowing what’s going to happen next? You’re probably expecting the Israelites to go busting through the walls any minute now, swords in hand, right?
“But Joshua had commanded the people, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!'” (Joshua 6:10)
Now it sounds like the Israelites are planning a sneak attack. Also, some of you might have caught the word day in that verse. Those of you who did might be expecting an advance over the course of several days. After all, Jericho isn’t just some small town.
“So he had the ark of the Lord carried around the city, circling it once. Then the people returned to camp and spent the night there.”
I’ll admit, I probably would shake my head if I was watching the Israelites march around the city then head back to camp. If this were to happen today, it’d be made the laughing stock on Youtube.
“Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the Lord and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets kept sounding. So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.” (Joshua 6:12-14)
Still no action? What were the Israelites planning on doing? Coaxing them to surrender the city by flaunting their pretty ark?
“On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, ‘Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!’… When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city.” (Joshua 6:15-16, 20)
This is the part that is simply amazing. The walls just collapsed. How could this have happened?
“Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!”
The Israelites didn’t use fancy weapons or skilled military tactics to collapse Jericho’s walls. God literally did it for them!
I’ve heard this story countless times, but until today, I didn’t fully realize how remarkable it really was. Some of us just need to occasionally read the Bible as if we’ve never read it before. When we do this, we allow ourselves to be captivated once again and really soak in what’s being said.
“He puts his people in positions where they are desperate for His power, then He shows His provision in ways that display His greatness.” (Radical by David Platt)
The Israelites were about to capture a city and claim it as their own. Yet God wanted to display His greatness in such a way that the Israelites couldn’t possibly believe they could do this apart from God. By faith, the city walls collapsed.
Over and over again, we read about people who did unbelievable things by the power of God. Just in Hebrews 11 alone, often called the Hall of Fame, there’s a dozen of people listed who were worthy of being noted as faithful in the eyes of God.
If you don’t see how any of this relates to your life at this very moment, think again!
Everything you read in the Bible is God’s Word. God does not say things that don’t have meaning. He doesn’t say things that don’t matter. The Word of God is forever impacting the world and shaping those who believe. When God speaks, EVERYONE should listen. What, then, do you think the story of the fall of Jericho is saying to us?
The book of Joshua serves as a reminder of what happens when people put their faith in God. Just like in the Hall of Fame, nobody achieved anything great apart from God. Something that a lot of people don’t realize is that those who were commended for their faith were far from perfect. Rahab was a prostitute. Sarah laughed at God. Moses was a murderer. God takes ordinary people and uses them for His glory, not because they’re perfect or because they meet certain criteria, but because they have faith in God!
When we stop doubting our abilities and trust that God can use us in ways we might not even be able to imagine, remarkable things will happen! Look at all these people we read about! We have God on our side! “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!”