Posted by: everynation | April 21, 2010

The Walls of Jericho

by Jim Laffoon

Now Jericho was tightly shut up 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 ram’s 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 trumpet blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.”          Joshua 6:1-5
The walls were massive, far beyond anything Joshua could have comprehended. If this weren’t enough, then there was that implausible plan. The plan was so crazy only God Himself could have conceived it.

Joshua had been instructed by God to march around the walls of Jericho every day for six days.  Furthermore, he and his army had to march in absolute silence as they carefully followed the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant.  On the seventh day they were to march around the walls seven times.  At the end of the seventh time, the priests were to blow the trumpets in expectation that God Himself would destroy the city’s walls.

On the first day’s march, everything went well.  Although they remained silent, the Israelite army was filled with faith and anticipation.

Every time the citizens of Jericho yelled vile imprecations at them, they simply looked up and smiled smugly in reply.  By the fifth and sixth day, however, things were not going quite as well; no matter how hard they looked, the army could not see any cracks in the walls.

Surely, they thought to themselves, if God was really working, there would at least be a small sign of His handiwork!

If this wasn’t enough, some of the bolder Hebrews in the army had even taken to jumping up and down and tromping on the ground as hard as they could in order to “help” the Lord knock the walls down.  By the seventh day, there was a pall over the whole army.  The more they had marched, the more emboldened their enemies had become.

The air was filled with the curses of their enemies, and the whole army reeked with the smell of the garbage which had been thrown at them.

Yet despite their unbelief, God was still at work; it was as if the very armies of heaven had encircled Jericho.  As the Hebrew children finished their seventh march on the seventh day and blew the trumpets, the walls imploded under the earthquake power of God.

Some witnesses said it was if the walls disintegrated.

One moment they were there; the next they were gone. The city’s inhabitants and defenders were so shaken by this cataclysmic event they had lost almost all the will to fight.  Yes, God had kept His promises, for Jericho–the impregnable fortress guarding the gateway to the Promised Land for centuries–had been destroyed.

What lessons can we learn from this miraculous story of God’s intervention?  First of all, even as God reduced Jericho to rubble, He will destroy every obstacle keeping you out of your “promised land.”

Like Joshua, it is critical that we embrace His plan, not ours, for the demolition of these barriers.

Second, God’s plan to destroy Jericho involved seven days of seemingly “pointless” marching by the nation of Israel.  “Seven” in the Bible is the number of fullness and completion.

Many times I have discovered it takes patience–over what can seem like a long period of time–for God to totally destroy the walls we are facing.  James tells us “…perseverance must finish its work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4).

This principle of patience is important; I have learned impatience is the number one reason people do not see their strongholds destroyed.  I cannot count the number of people whom I have watched give in to frustration and impatience by quitting right before God would have intervened.

Third, even as there was no natural evidence the walls were going to be reduced to rubble, so it will be in our lives.  Without the eyes of faith, we will not be able to see the progress taking place in the invisible realm.

The perception of this progress is critical because it gives us the motivation we need to continue in the process.

Fourth, the longer the Israelite army marched, the harder it was for them to continue marching.  If my own experience is any guide, I am sure that by the seventh day things were almost unbearable for Israel.  Whether it was their enemies’ growing boldness, or Israel’s weakening faith, things had reached a breaking point.

It will be no different for you; right before your breakthrough, you will always undergo a period where everything in you wants to break down and quit.

Do you see it yet?  Many of the major strongholds you are facing will not fall simply or quickly.  You will only take these strongholds–like ancient fortresses–by siege warfare.  Spiritually speaking, siege warfare is the process by which the walls of the enemy are shattered, slowly but surely, through the power of the Word of God and prayer.

May God give you the faith you need to see every barrier shattered and every stronghold reduced as you follow Him day by day.

Jim Laffoon is part of the international leadership team of Every Nation and also serves on the pastoral staff of King’s Park International Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.  He is the author of Our Daily Blog. Jim and his wife, Cathy, have four children and live in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

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