I can remember being a kid in Catholic school and singing the “Battle of Jericho”. I loved the fast-paced tempo, and the chorus was my favorite: “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho; Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, and the walls came tumbling down!” Looking back, I can vividly recall not really believing that the events of Jericho were possible, and to some degree, my young self was right. Joshua and the Israelites were not humanly capable of directly causing the walls of Jericho to tumble down by themselves and through their own strength and/or actions. However, what my young self was not accounting for is what we read in verses 2 and 16 of today’s passage.
In verse 2 the LORD says to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors”. It’s really important to remember that this verse comes before the Lord’s instructions of what Joshua and the Israelites are to do for the next seven days, and before they will successfully capture Jericho. The Lord knows Joshua’s heart and the hearts of the Israelites thus, He assures Joshua of His reward for their obedience and His favor through the soon to be deliverance of Jericho to them.
In verse 16 we see that on “the seventh time around, as the priests sounded the long blast on their horns, Joshua commanded the people, ‘Shout! For the Lord has given you the town!’”. I love how Joshua’s confident and obedient faith in the Lord is exhibited here in his instructions that directly align with the words the Lord spoke to him in verse 2. Joshua tells the Lord’s people to shout for Him because He has “given” you the town, and this is just before the walls will come tumbling down and they will concur Jericho. I wonder if some of the Israelites were thinking like I did when I was young and in Catholic school? Even though they had experienced the Lord’s power at the Jordan River and partook in His blessings in the desert; they still had doubts during those events. Now, they find themselves up against these strong warriors, and here Joshua was instructing them to shout after they have walked around 7 times, for days, and blowing horns.
Friends, we are no different than the Israelites. How many times do we find ourselves in situations where our minds are not capable to understand how we will conquer an obstacle? Well, “we” are not capable of conquering any obstacle, only God can do that for us. We forget that God has already “given” us the tools to know that no walls are never too high, because He knows what we will face before we even face it. What we need to be focused on is Him, not any obstacle, only HIM and our faith, trust, and obedience to Him in the midst of the obstacles.
Joshua 6:1-21 (NLT)
The Fall of Jericho
1 Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in. 2 But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors. 3 You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days. 4 Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. 5 When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town.”
6 So Joshua called together the priests and said, “Take up the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, and assign seven priests to walk in front of it, each carrying a ram’s horn.” 7 Then he gave orders to the people: “March around the town, and the armed men will lead the way in front of the Ark of the Lord.”
8 After Joshua spoke to the people, the seven priests with the rams’ horns started marching in the presence of the Lord, blowing the horns as they marched. And the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant followed behind them. 9 Some of the armed men marched in front of the priests with the horns and some behind the Ark, with the priests continually blowing the horns. 10 “Do not shout; do not even talk,” Joshua commanded. “Not a single word from any of you until I tell you to shout. Then shout!” 11 So the Ark of the Lord was carried around the town once that day, and then everyone returned to spend the night in the camp.
12 Joshua got up early the next morning, and the priests again carried the Ark of the Lord. 13 The seven priests with the rams’ horns marched in front of the Ark of the Lord, blowing their horns. Again the armed men marched both in front of the priests with the horns and behind the Ark of the Lord. All this time the priests were blowing their horns. 14 On the second day they again marched around the town once and returned to the camp. They followed this pattern for six days.
15 On the seventh day the Israelites got up at dawn and marched around the town as they had done before. But this time they went around the town seven times. 16 The seventh time around, as the priests sounded the long blast on their horns, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the town! 17 Jericho and everything in it must be completely destroyed[a] as an offering to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and the others in her house will be spared, for she protected our spies.
18 “Do not take any of the things set apart for destruction, or you yourselves will be completely destroyed, and you will bring trouble on the camp of Israel. 19 Everything made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron is sacred to the Lord and must be brought into his treasury.”
20 When the people heard the sound of the rams’ horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it. 21 They completely destroyed everything in it with their swords—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep, goats, and donkeys.
Prayer: Jesus, we LOVE You! Help our unbelief, strengthen us to have faith like Joshua, and allow us to trust that no walls are too high for You. We submit our human minds to You today, and ask that You allow the work of Your Holy Spirit to guide our every thought, speak every word spoken, and perform every action taken. We ask all of this in Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.
Written by: Jennifer Auer, Pastor Mary Haley’s Assistant