Salvation belongs to the Lord. The whole Bible is a story of deliverance. God delivers his people by miracles. When they came out of Egypt they sung “who is there like you O God” They were also destined by promises. He tells them “I will give you the land.” The slavish mentality needed to be broken. God opens the sea for them. He guided them with heavenly GPS, he made sure their shoes never run out. They were kept by the supernatural.
But God was not pleased with them because they had no faith in His promises. One time God was going to kill them all. Moses has to plead with God. But the generation that left Egypt did not get into the land. Moses had to deal with the red sea, Joshua with the Jordan. Then they hit Jericho. There was a fortified wall that would not shift. In some ways Jericho could represent challenges that people have in their lives today. It was standing between them and God’s promises. We can expect God to give us breakthroughs, and must make sure that when we reject prosperity preaching, we don’t also throw away faith for God to intervene.
All kind of things can be barriers in people’s lives: fears, sicknesses, guilt, bondage to sin. These things can all look as though they will never go away. Jericho said to the Israelites “I am here and I am not going away.” They couldn’t retreat. They couldn’t advance. Many people are like that. Stuck in a rut.
How does a Christian get out of unfilfillment? Jericho is not Cannan. How can a Christian break out of these traps? What can we learn from their breakthrough?
1. Acknowledge God afresh
Joshua sees a huge soldier. He wants to know who’s side this man is on. The answer is simply “no!” Most commentators believe this is a preincarnate appearance of Jesus. We must see Jesus, high, lifted up, all powerful.
He is sufficient for us! We must daily say, you are Lord of my life
2. Learn to walk by faith again
We don’t live by planing. There is a place for the pragmatics, but ultimately we must trust the one who called you. Bible tells us that the walls of Jericho came down by faith, not by outstanding hammers and drills. He wants us to diligently seek him. Not give up, not give in, not break down. Often unbelief masquerades as common sense. The only way to live by faith. The spies who said “don’t go, coz it is too scary” had the effect of killing faith.
Faith says “as for God his way is perfect, and his works are flawless.” Faith is stirred by remembering the God we serve. We must take God-infested, well prayed through, discussed with leaders, risks.
2. Obey the last command. “Obedience is better than sacrifice” Faith is demonstrated by works. If we just sit there, nothing happens. Joshua tells the people we are going to march around a wall. Doesn’t sound very sensible, but they follow him. They had to do it continually. They did it the way God said it, even though it didn’t look like it made a lot of sense. He told them not to talk. Which was probably just as well. If they had talked about it, would they have continued? To do it six days in a row, then on the seventh day they did it seven times. Often before a breakthrough happens you go through the toughest times. Then at the end they shouted, and the walls came down. It is really worth trusting this God.
This is how faith works. You acknowledge God, you start walking by faith, one step at a time, then you obey the last command. What God is looking for is the obedience. Will they do what I said in the way that I said it?