Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” Joshua 6:1-5
Jericho. The first city in the Promised Land. The beginning of God’s blessings.
For forty years, the Israelites had wandered in the wilderness because of their lack of faith, because they had chosen to look at the giants in the land rather than trust that God was able. Now, it was time for battle, time to take possession of the land that God had promised. They were on the verge of the land flowing with milk and honey. The excitement had to be building, knowing that the time was near. They would soon experience God’s blessings after enduring a difficult time of testing and trials.
The people of Jericho sensed the trouble brewing. They closed the gates tightly and hunkered down. They knew that God was on the side of the Israelites.
Joshua was now in command. He was bold. He was courageous. He was a fierce warrior. And, He had faith. If you remember, he was one of only two spies that had been confident that God would give them the victory if they would trust Him and be obedient—forty years earlier. As opposed to looking at the giants of the land, he and Caleb kept their focus on God—the One who would deliver the Promised Land into their hands.
I can almost hear the conversation between God and Joshua:
“Joshua,” says God, “here’s the battle plan. I want you to march around the city.”
“Umm…,” says Joshua, “Could you say that again? I don’t think I quite understood you.”
“March around the city, Joshua,” God repeats.
“I don’t really think I’m understanding your command, God,” says Joshua. “Can you give me a little better description?”
“You heard me just fine, Josh. March around the city. Follow my directions. Trust me.”
“We are going to look completely foolish,” Joshua protests. “Don’t you think it would be better for us to charge the walls, to burn the city?”
“Joshua,” God says, “Trust me. I’ve got this. Just walk in obedience and leave the rest to me. I know what I’m doing.”
“Well, God,” Joshua begins, “I really can’t see what you’re doing here, but I will choose to trust you. You have been faithful to me all my life, and you have promised that this land is ours. I am terrified. I feel like a complete fool. But, you told me that you have already delivered this city into our hands. We will march around the city just as you say.”
So, Joshua led the people as they marched around the city. I’m sure they were filled with anxiety…and excitement…and fear…and faith…and doubts…and…
And guess what? God brought the walls down in response to their faith and their obedience—just as He had promised. It was the first victory in the Promised Land, and God has always been faithful to do exactly as He said He would.
Today, I am standing outside my Jericho. I am looking at the walls and gates, and they are closed up tight. They appear impenetrable. But, I have circled my Jericho in prayer for two years. I have clearly heard God’s voice telling me that victory is certain, that He has already delivered it into my hand. I feel like a fool believing that Jericho can be delivered into my hands, but I hear God calling to me to trust Him, that this is His battle not mine. I am choosing to believe Him, to trust Him, to walk by faith and not by sight. Although I can’t see His hand, I can’t understand the battle plan, I know that I can trust His heart.
Despite the pain and the fear and the anxiety, there’s also an amazing sense of excitement. You see, I prayed over a year ago that God would help my unbelief, that He would help me to take Him out of the neat little box I’ve kept Him in all my life. I’ve asked Him to do in me and through me bigger and better things than I could ever ask, dream, or imagine.
And God has heard and is answering those prayers.
He is answering those prayers through trials and tribulations where my faith is stretched and tested. He is answering those prayers by taking me into situations where I have no control, where only His intervention can bring about the desired results.
I feel certain that when God causes the walls of my Jericho to crumble, I will know that it was definitely something only God could do. He will receive ALL the glory! When I see His faithfulness to keep this promise, I will be ready to stare down the next city in my Promised Land, the next giant in my journey. I will be ready to see God pouring out His power and might in my life.
God has clearly told me that the time is near. I am circling in prayer and praise, proclaiming that God has already given me the victory.
I don’t know when. I don’t know how. But I do know WHO.
My God. My Promise Maker. My Promise Keeper. The One who finishes what He began.
Lord Jesus, I often feel foolish clinging to this promise you have made me. But, I have tested the spirit for over two years, and you continue to reassure me that the promise is from you. Therefore, I will cling to you, to your character, to your faithfulness. I will choose to walk by faith and not by sight. I will choose to continue marching around my Jericho in prayer and praise until you bring the walls down. I know that you are doing an amazing work in me so that you can do an amazing work through me—the very prayer I voiced at the beginning of this journey. I am terrified and yet excited. Give me enough faith to continue this journey and the strength to keep on marching until you bring the walls down!