Summary: Many times we quit JUST before God is going to work. We give up too soon and we miss out on reaching our goals in life. Moses missed promised land because he became impatient and angry. We must learn to stay the course.
“Let the Walls Fall Down”
Joshua 5:13-6:5; 12-15, 20, 22-23 & 27
If you have studied any of the history of World War I, you may know that Alvin York was one of our most decorated soldiers. He was also a very unlikely candidate to fight in this battle. Because of his Christian faith he felt that he could never kill another individual, even in war. So when he was drafted, York went home on a ten-day leave to study the Scriptures. Finally in a crisis of faith, God showed York that he could obey the Lord and defend his country at the same time. He wrote these words... As I prayed there alone I knew God was there. God understood I didn’t want to be a fighter or killing man... God took pity on me and gave me the assurance I needed. Without realizing it Sgt. York was following a practice that has worked for centuries:
Before you can win a battle in public, you must first when it in your mind.
Joshua faced an even greater battle. For cities to be properly protected in these days it was necessary to build a large wall completely around the city to protect the people. So the city of Jericho was a walled city. These walls are actually the oldest walls to be ever found by archaeologists.
Now bear with me and let me give you some facts about this walls surrounding Jericho. One of my preaching professors in seminary told us your job as a preacher is to serve a meal to the people-give them spiritual food-and he said by the way that only what you cook the whole meal. Such I try not to give you every detail of what I study each week but I do want to describe this wall. Look at this slide with me.
Mound of Jericho-surrounded by large embankment.
Stonewall at its base. About 12-15 feet high.
On top of that of mudbrick wall, 6 foot sick and about 20-26 feet high.
At the crest, another mudbrick wall, because of the mound this was 46 feet high.
On the inside the enemy was well armed. Remember when the spies were sent to scout out this land 10 of the 12 came back and said these men are Giants and we seem like grasshoppers. Their size combined with the size of this wall made it seem impossible for them to ever get through. As great as the wall was and as great as these physical Giants were, it was not Joshua’s real problem. His real problem was the invisible war he had to fight in his own heart. And it is the same way for all of you.
The apostle Paul tells us that our struggle is not with flesh and blood but against evil rulers and authorities, against mighty powers in this dark world and against evil spirits and heavenly places. We cannot see the enemy. He is invisible. And in this invisible war, like Joshua, we have to get a handle on several things.
Joshua had to overcome the challenges of the past. Before this, Israel had refused to follow him and Caleb into the Promised Land. He had to wait 40 years to go in because of the failure of Moses. Our failures, mistakes; our sins in the past can cripple us if we fail to deal with it.
The apostle Paul faced this on many levels. He writes in the book of Philippians and gives us three guidelines for dealing with past failures. Philippians 3:12-13.
(1) Verse 12. No one escapes failure. We simply are not perfect.
(2) Verse 13. We must learn to leave the past where it is. In the past.
(3) Verse 13. Focus on things you can do something about. Don’t waste your energy on things you cannot control.
Joshua would have to learn how to fight this battle the Lord’s way instead of his own. If you and I were getting ready for battle against this kind of enemy and we were living in that day, what would you do? I would want every sort, every piece of armor I could put my hands on, every weapon available; every piece of protection I could find. The Bible says there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death Proverbs 14:12. God’s way is not always our way. Here were the instructions God gave to Joshua. Versus 3-5. So this was basically the plan: March around the city once a day for seven days. Make a lot of noise. Wait for the walls to fall down.
One thing we quickly notice here is the prominence given to the Ark of the Covenant when they marched around the city. The message is clear. This battle belongs to the Lord, not the Israelites. What do you think they were thinking as they were marching around the walls? I have already shown you how massive they were; the gates were secured in their thinking, what can we do-oh let’s play our trumpets. And every time they circled the camp they probably became more and more convinced that this plan just might not work.