Summary: One of the things Israel would learn from this experience was that God's work must be done in God's way by God's people.
GAINING THE VICTORY
Scripture: Joshua 6:1 - 8:29
Time: 1400 B.C.
I. RECEIVING GOD'S PLAN (Joshua 6:1-5)
A. The Promises of God (vv. 1,2)
The promises of God, though often delayed beyond the time that our impatient spirits would fix for their accomplishment, are always fulfilled in their season.
B. The Strategy of God (vv. 3,4)
His strategy involved marching around the city armed men and priests dressed in white tunics, blowing rams' horns, followed by the Ark of the Covenant and the rear guard.
It would take two or three hours to encircle the city seven times on the last day.
One of the things Israel would learn from this experience was that God's work must be done in God's way by God's people.
C. The Responsibility of Man (vv. 5)
The promises of God are not designed to promote inactivity on our part. They are given to encourage and to assure us that if our labors conform to the divine standard, they will not be in vain.
Joshua was taught at Jericho that he was not free to follow his own devices, but was to adhere strictly to the plan God had given him, following those instructions to the letter if Jericho were to fall before Israel.
II. ACTING IN OBEDIENCE
A. The People Are Instructed (vv.6-9)
What a strange spectacle it must have been for the inhabitants of Jericho to see the Israelites encircle the great fortifications of the city daily in absolute silence! The only sound that reached the walls was the sound of the trumpets blown by the priests.
Hold your peace and let the Lord fight.
To the Israelites, Jericho still remained the same when they came back to their tents night after night.
* The greatest difficulty in the Christian life is to get to the place where one is prepared to admit that the whole thing is too big for him, and that the power of the enemy is too great for him, and if his Jericho is to fall, then, somehow, God must bring it about. So long as we think we can do it alone, the omnipotent resources of God in Jesus Christ our risen Lord cannot help us. When we reach the place that we surrender all to Him, He brings spiritual power and victory and blessing into our lives. He turns what appears to us an utter failure into a total triumph.
The Israelites were nomadic people who had been reared in the desert. They did not have the munitions of war needed for assaulting a fortified city, nor the skill and experience to use them if they had had them. Nothing but a direct interference of the Almighty could in a week's time give a city like Jericho, thoroughly on its guard and prepared, to besiegers situated as were Joshua and the Israelites.
The trumpets were borne by priests, and were seven in number. The processions around Jericho were to be made in seven days, and seven times on the seventh day. Thus stress was lain on the sacred number seven, which was an emblem more especially of the work of God. The Ark of the Covenant, also, the seat of His special presence, was carried around the city. All these particulars were calculated to set forth symbolically, and in a manner sure to arrest the attention of the people, the fact that their triumph was wholly due to the might of the Lord, and to that covenant which made their cause His.
B. The City is Compassed (vv. 10 -14)
The people of God were to march around the city of Jericho in silence. That silence spoke volumes, for it testified to the Israelites' faith in God.
There is nothing so impressive as silence. Nature has great silence. The mountains, the seas, and the forests, the night skies are often silent as they testify of God's greatness just by their presence. He is, therefore, we are.
The silence of the Israelites was a silence of expectation. Having crossed the Jordan River by a miracle, they silently expected another miracle from God. Perhaps that faith is greatest that waits in silence upon God, believing that He will work.
What happened after the people of God compassed the city with the Ark of the Lord? Did the walls come tumbling down? No! The Israelites returned to the camp and lodged there. Had their marching been in vain? The walls were still standing; nothing had happened. Wrong! Much had happened. Something of supreme importance had been accomplished. God had been honored and glorified. By the implicit obedience of Joshua, of the priests, and of the people, God had been honored. Nothing honors God so much as our obedience. The most lavish offering is unacceptable to God unless it is made by one whose will is subject to His.