Summary: Learn about how the world poses a threat like Jericho to victory in our Christian life and how God brings those walls down.
Setting the scene: Joshua the master military strategist presenting his plan for taking Jericho to the generals - by walking around it!
The first major milestone for living a victorious Christian life is to commit yourself to God’s plan in your life by crossing the Jordan with no possibility of return.
The second major hurdle we face is the world, which stands in our way like mighty Jericho. The world is so pervasive, so present, so powerful, and so promiscuous that it seems impossible to resist or overcome. What are the Jericho’s in your life? The world system, worldly attitudes and habits-anything that stands directly in your way of serving God.
Why bother overcoming the world in our lives? Three reasons:
1. It will choke you if you don’t kill it
Mark 4:18-19 They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
2. It is either or
Matt 6:24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
3. We are to be dead to it
Gal 6:14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world
So today I want to look at Joshua 6 in terms of the victory that God gave Israel and as a pattern for how God gives us victory over the world - a 12 Step Program to the Victorious Christian Life.
Verse 1 - 2
Now if you are Joshua, and you are standing by this mighty wall, it’s all shut up tight and seemingly impenetrable, and God says "See I’ve give the city to you," I think you are saying - "Uh huh, and exactly how is the city ours?"
But the verb "given" used indicates the battle has already been won.
The Israelites had not encountered a walled city before and were totally inadequate to the task. How often are we inadequate to the tasks God calls us to?
So then God doesn’t explain how He has "given them the city," He just goes on with the battle plan - and it’s a doozy.
Verse 3 - 5
The walking around Jericho might have really confused the people inside and put them off their game. Sometimes just sharing the love of Jesus really takes people "off guard" and opens them up for the Lord to draw them to Himself.
God uses trumpets to announce very important things, such as the rapture of the church and the judgments against the world. Trumpets were used to call Moses into God’s presence (Exodus 19), to declare the run up to the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23), and they were used to call to battle. In Numbers 10:
Numbers 10:8-9 And when you go to war in your land against the adversary who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the Lord your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies.
There in Numbers trumpets were also used to declare joy in the Lord over burnt offerings and festivals. "They shall be reminder for you before your God: I Am the Lord your God."
So hearing the trumpets was for Israel an audible reminder of who is God and that they belonged to Him, and for Jericho that judgment is coming.
Verses 6 - 14
The people in Jericho have got to be wondering what kind of strange army they are encountering. I suppose they might have even thought the Israelites were doing something magical or superstitious, though there is no indication of it. All they see are armed men, priests with horns, and the veiled Ark of the Covenant.
There is an instance where the Israelis mistook the Lord for superstition. In 1st Samuel 4 the Israelites thought that the superstitious power of the Ark would defeat the Philistines. It didn’t work, of course.
It’s not using God’s Ark for our purposes, but it’s God using the Ark for His. And God told them to take the Ark around Jericho - this was never repeated. In the same way we sometimes as Christians use the trappings of the church, thinking that they hold the answer. We go through rituals or say rote prayers without meaning or we do some thing that we have always done or just think that by going into a church that that’ll be enough. It’s not the presence of the Ark of God that mattered, it was the presence of the God of the Ark. So too it is God’s presence in your life, not some ritual or superstition that will make the difference in victory.