"It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead."Joshua 6:5(NASB)
Soon after their supernatural redemption from Egypt on Passover night, the Israelites were to enter the Promised Land. However, rumours of giants, fear of the enemies, a lack of trust in God's promise to deliver the land into their hands, and a very short memory, caused a whole generation of redeemed Israelites to die in the desert. With murmuring mouths and unbelieving hearts, they wandered in the wilderness for forty years, without receiving all that had been promised to them through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
After forty years of aimless wanderings, Joshua finally led the people of Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. The first city to be conquered was the great fortress of Jericho with its enormous parapets and towering walls. The Commander of the Lord's army Himself instructed Joshua to be strong and very courageous and promised him a great victory, but the battle-plan was far from conventional!
No traditional weapons were to be employed. They were not to storm the city with battering rams and sharpened steel swords. The battle they were to face was not to be fought with conventional weapons of warfare. Rather, the entire congregation was to follow God's instructions if they were to win the victory. They were to listen to the Lord, trust His Word, and obey His instructions, so that their faith might grow when victory was complete.
Rather than attack the enemy with some well-thought-out battle plan, the entire company was to march around the walls of Jericho following seven priests who were to carry seven ram’s horn trumpets in front of the Ark of the Covenant. They were to circle the city once each day - for six days. But on the seventh day, they were to march around the city seven times with the priests blowing the trumpets, and the Ark was to lead this curious, unconventional procession.
Joshua had been told that if he carried out the Lord's instructions the walls of the city would fall down flat... and Joshua believed God and carried out the instructions he had received earlier from the Commander of the Lord's army. The unusual drama was completed when the priests gave their long, loud blast on a ram's horn and the entire company gave a deafening SHOUT. We read that, "the wall of the city fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city."
The incredible lesson that we are to learn from the battle of Jericho is that the battle is not ours. The battle belongs to the LORD. He sometimes uses conventional means to carry out His will in our lives, but often the Lord fulfils His objective in the most unusual and unorthodox manner - we are simply to trust His Word and obey His commands. God played His part in the siege of Jericho and the walls fell down flat. But the people were to carry out their role. And we read that after they did as God had commanded, "the wall of the city fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city." They were able to capture the city and completely destroy everything in the city with the sword.
Our job is to both trust God and follow His instructions. Our role is to believe in Him and do only those things that we hear from Him. Our task is to stand on His promises and exhibit faith - even when we don't understand what He is going to do. We are to listen to His voice and to trust in the Lord in every circumstance of life, even when the difficulties we face seem to tower over us like the walls of Jericho - and then we are to act on our God-given instructions that are found in the Word of God.
We are to trust His Word, even when His 'battle plan' does not coincide with our own puny perception or limited expectation. We are not to lean on our own understanding but to trust Him implicitly. We are to hold fast to His promised Word and obey His voice. This honours the Lord in the face of our enemies. It acknowledges His authority, it builds up our own faith, and deepens our personal relationship in our God and Saviour Who died for us and rose again - to demonstrate His great love towards us all.
Heavenly Father, what a wonderful display of faith we see in this historical account of Joshua's victory over Jericho. I pray that I may trust in You with all my heart and not lean on my own imaginations. I pray that I may follow Your leading and guidance and do only those things that I hear from You - even when things look dark and difficult. Thank You that You are a God Who can be trusted, and thank You that every battle I face will not depend on my strength or ingenuity, but the battle is Yours and rests entirely on You and Your precious promises to me... Your blood-bought child. Thank You in Jesus' name, AMEN.