Every now and again I read a really disturbing sentence in a book, such as for example in Redpath’s ‘Victorious Christian Living’ I came across a comment that if you have never sat down and led someone to the Lord, you really have to question your own walk with God. I am happy to allow that comment to convict me, rather than condemn me! I think anything that we hear God can use to change us, if we are yielded to Him. And if we are confident that the victory is ours!
Joshua 6 tells the story of the fall of Jericho. I’ve been thinking about this account, as I’ve read the Redpath book. A number of things have occurred to me that I hadn’t seen before. One thing that was promised to Joshua himself at the start of the book is that ‘no man will be able to stand before you’. This is likened to Moses. Those who are anointed of God, who are living out God’s purpose, are people to be feared, to be respected, to be honoured. BUT they have to bow the knee to the Commander of the Lord’s armies! (read the end of Joshua 5).
The people walk around Jericho in silence (apart from the rams’ horns blowing) thirteen times. The inhabitants of Jericho must have been in fear. They had heard that the Jordan had rolled back as the Ark of the Covenant had been carried into it in full flood! They had probably got wind of the victories that the Israelites had achieved in the wilderness. We know from Joshua 2 that Rahab reported that all the inhabitants of the land were in fear of the children of Israel. What struck me is that Israel was present at the place of their greatest challenge, and spent a lot of time there. They didn’t hide away scheming. They were out in the open.
On the sixth day, they had to get up early in order to walk around the city six times. What must the residents of Jericho have been thinking? A combination of scepticism, jeering, doubt, fear, ignorance. They simply could not SEE what was going to be achieved. They had not come across the Creator of heaven and earth before. They did not know that the Maker of all things fought for Israel. Just like he fights for us. And the Israelites had to act. They had to SHOUT. And on that shout, the walls fell down, and every man went straight forward.
When we are part of the kingdom of God, we are on the offensive. That is what the book of Joshua teaches us. We see it in Ephesians 6 as well: “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” When God puts a Jericho in front of you, don’t just assume that you can conquer it in your own might. But, equally, don’t run away from it. Israel went round and round it – they interceded and ‘took thirteen big long looks at the enemy’. They knew that they needed God. They understood that they couldn’t do it on their own.
On God’s instruction, shout! When something happens, go straight forward and He will give you the city. As Redpath says:
‘…the tremendous Jerichos which stand in the way of the people of God as a whole. There is the Jericho of sin. There is the Jericho of indifference. There is the Jericho of materialism. There is the Jericho of paganism. Worse than that, there is the Jericho within the church of disloyal Christians, of unconsecrated lives, of people who have become so used to sinners going to hell that they don’t care. Surrounding the Church of God today and within her walls stand endless Jerichos which seem to be utterly unconquerable….The answer to your Jerichos is on your knees – nowhere else. That is not inactivity or passivity; it is linking yourself in your weakness and your helplessness with the omnipotent power of God.’
Jericho was a mighty city. It was a formidable obstacle in the way of Israel taking the land. But it fell. Another thing I noticed that I hadn’t remembered before is in verse 26 – Joshua gives a terrible warning: “Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho: he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.”
When a victory in God has been won, there is a curse on the individual who would raise once again the stronghold of oppression. When a child of God has been released from their bondage, from the prison that the world and that others have put them in, there is a terrible condemnation on anyone, including that child of God!, who would once again raise a Jericho and say that the caseis hopeless. Walk in your destiny as victors! Obey the Commander of the Lord’s armies, and see the walls tumble down.
And move on, and continue in obedience, not looking back.