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. Joshua 6:1
The Israelites had spent 40 years wandering in the desert. Now, it was time to possess the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. God had parted the Jordan River so they could cross into the land.
And now they were face to face with the walls of Jericho, walls that were tall, shut tight, impenetrable. Walls that stood between them and the future, the beautiful place God had promised them.
How would the walls come down? What would it take to break through? How would they ever possess Jericho with the walls shut tightly to keep out the Israelites?
We all know the answer: God commanded the Israelites to march around Jericho for seven days. Then, as they marched in obedience, God fulfilled His promise and brought the walls down.
God brought the walls down.
They crashed. Crumbled. The impenetrable fortress was no more. No explanation for why the walls crumbled. But the inhabitants were now vulnerable to the invasion. Jericho now belonged to the Israelites.
I am beginning to realize I know something about walls.
The only problem is that I am inside the walls. I’m not standing outside, marching around the Promised Land in obedience.
I am safely tucked inside my walls. Impenetrable walls. Walls that protect me from outsiders, from anyone seeking to invade my territory. Walls that are thick, like those of Jericho. Reinforced. Multiple-layers of walls. A fortress, carefully constructed to protect my heart.
I didn’t even realize I had built these walls around my heart.
Until someone started trying to break them down. Until someone started marching around the walls. Until someone began the arduous process of penetrating those walls.
But walls don’t crumble easily. It doesn’t matter how many roses he sends. It doesn’t matter how many times he mows my yard. It doesn’t matter how many honey-dos he completes around my house. It doesn’t matter how many words of affirmation he showers on me.
I find myself locked inside the walls. Hiding. Fearful of what lurks outside.
Can I just say that dating after divorce is…challenging?
I find myself every single day examining my heart, my life. How do I move forward? What do I need to do to bring the walls down? How do I trust someone after my trust has been shattered by the one who claimed to love me?
As I recognize the walls surrounding my heart and my life, I cry out to God. More than anything, I am asking for His direction, for His will to be done. I am surrendering, daily, to His desires more than mine.
And as I examined the story of Jericho, I found some interesting tidbits on bringing down walls.
When Joshua was first appointed to lead the Israelites, God gave him some instructions that I think will be helpful to all of us.
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9
Be strong and very courageous. The first command God gave Joshua was to be strong and courageous. It’s hard. Our lives have shattered, been in shambles. Moving forward into the future is a frightening thought. But if we are going to possess the Promised Land God is preparing for us, we must be bold and courageous.
Where do we get our strength? From God. He has promised us a future filled with hope and prosperity. He has promised to make beauty from our ashes. He has promised us redemption and resurrection. We must cling to God, to His faithfulness, to His promises, and believe He will make a way. That’s where our strength comes from.
Be careful to obey all the instructions. God has given us an instruction manual, one that is readily available in the United States. Grab your Bible daily. Make God’s Word part of your daily life. Seek His face, His will, in the pages of Scripture. Find out what He is instructing you to do.
You will find so much wisdom, so much knowledge in the pages of the Bible. Instructions like, “Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow I will do great and mighty things among you” (Joshua 3:5). Commands to love and forgive. Reminders to fear not. And the beautiful promises of God’s provisions.
We are blessed in 2016 to have the Bible at our fingertips. There are some great Bible apps for our smart phones. If you have tried one, look at YouVersion or BibleGateway.
Make it a point to read and obey God’s Word. Study it. Meditate on it. And then you will be successful.
Remember the Lord Your God is with you wherever you go. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing, you cannot escape God’s presence. Even if you are holed up inside your walls, God is there, walking with you, strengthening you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
You can allow the walls to crumble because God will be by your side. You can crack the door and peek outside at the beauty of God’s creation and trust that He will walk with you. No matter where you go, He will be your constant companion, preparing your way. You can trust Him.
And maybe you aren’t the one locked inside the walls. Maybe you are the one marching around Jericho, wondering if you are wasting your time, wondering if you will ever get inside those walls to possess the Promised Land.
Maybe you’ve marched silently around the walls one day. Two days. Three days. There’s no indication anything has changed. Four days. Five days. Six days. The walls are still standing, solid, secure. Day seven dawns bright and clear, and you begin marching yet again. Around you go once, twice, three times. Exhaustion has set in. Frustration. The belief that the walls will never come down. Four times. Five times. Six times. You are on the verge of giving up, throwing in the towel. This whole attempt at bringing down the walls is futile. You will never see them fall.
On the seventh time around, you are instructed to yell. You give a half-hearted cry, wondering what good it will actually do. These walls are impenetrable. But, with your cry, you hear something. You see a brick fall and some cracks developing in the walls. You yell with a little more gusto, wondering if somehow these walls really could come down. More bricks fall. More cracks develop. Now your hope is building. You give it all you have! You yell with all of your heart, all of your strength. The walls crumble. Not one brick left on top of another.
You now know God has seen your heart, your desire for obedience. You know He—and He alone—has given you the Promised Land. Walk in and possess it. It is yours!
I don’t know if you are locked inside the walls, or walking around someone else’s walls. But I do know that if we are following God, He will make those walls crumble. Don’t lose heart. Be strong and courageous, my friends! Your God is with you, wherever you go!