Read Joshua 6. We tend to say that Israel marched around Jericho 7 times when in fact it was 13 times in all. One time a day for 6 days and on the 7th day, it was 7 times. What a battle plan! Led by the priests, not the soldiers. A ram’s horn was blown. The people shouted. The walls came down. Who would believe that? I would! It’s in the book.
Jericho was one of the oldest cities in Canaan. In some places the walls were 25 feet high and 20 feet thick. We’re not talking about a little brick wall coming down; it was a fortress. The people felt invincible when inside those walls. Israel attacked this city as their first conquest in Canaan. The word spread quickly of how God brought the city down. It made people fear God. We need that back in lives today. Remember our God is all powerful. They knew the God of Israel as a God over nature and over war but not as a fortress God. They didn’t realize he could bring down even that. God told Joshua that Jericho was already in his hand. We fight a defeated enemy too. Christ defeated Satan. Victory was won at Calvary. We will still fight battles but we have the assurance that the war has been won!
Why did the Lord give these kinds of instructions to Joshua? It made clear the fact that they were dependent on God and not their weapons. Look what God did. His method accelerated the terror. Marched one time a day for 6 days. Imagine how the people felt day by day wondering what was going on. It was a test of Israel’s faith and willingness to follow God. As strange as it sounded, it worked! A war counsel would have said we can’t do it. Some would say scale the walls. Siege them and wait them out. Do a surprise attack. Joshua sought no advice because THE Commander had already told him what to do. Verses 2-5 tell us. Jericho couldn’t be bypassed. It had to be taken. Do we have a strategy for taking our Canaan? How will Jesus Christ change the environment of this community?
This was a conquest that required Israel’s faith. A lack of faith brings fear. In our day we have enough sense to know that Covid is real, but we must trust–NOT tempt–the Lord. Jesus never rebuked the disciples for being poor or uneducated; he did rebuke them for their lack of faith. A lack of faith brings doubt. It brings failure. We are to walk by faith, not by sight. Walking by sight kept Israel out of the Promised Land 40 years earlier. They could have taken the land then, but due to a lack of faith they did not. Faith got Peter out of the boat and he walked on water. But sight made him doubt and begin to sink. Faith is not about what you and I can do; it’s about what God has already done.
This was a conquest that required Israel’s obedience. There was a plan to follow to bring about victory. God gave the plan to them. They implement it. It probably sounded strange. We must do God’s work God’s way. It requires obedience without question. We want that kind of obedience as parents from our children. God does too. He doesn’t need to explain himself to us.
This conquest required discipline. They were to circle the city and never utter a word. Thirteen times without speaking. The people watched thinking “what are they up to?” They were scared to death. They had heard about God’s working for Israel at the Red Sea, in other wars and what had just happened at the crossing of the Jordan River. There is very little discipline among people today. God help us to be disciplined in the work for God.
One thing impresses me above all. God’s grace is seen even in the midst of this judgment. Judgment came to the city of Jericho but grace was extended to Rahab and her family. Their lives were spared because of her faith. God’s judgment will fall one day. I am thankful for his grace on me. Faith in Jesus Christ brings deliverance. It takes repentance, a godly sorrow for sins. But a person will never be saved apart from faith in Jesus Christ. Faith enables us to do great things. God was powerful in the day of Jericho. Could he still be as powerful today? Sure. We need a stronger faith in the Almighty God.