Summary: “Without God man cannot. Without man God will not.” God is a user of means, and men are His major means, and the marching of men is one of those means. It is one of the ways we cooperate with God to make a difference.

We don’t sing Onward Christian Soldiers marching as to war very much

any more, for we seldom see the relevance of being soldiers of the cross

fighting the forces of darkness. Marching seems irrelevant also, for even in

the military world the real force is now in the air and on the sea. The

firepower of missiles and bombs makes marching to war less vital. But the

fact is, marching has been the key to effective warfare all through history.

George Washington won the war for Independence by much marching.

On one occasion when the British were strung out over 12 miles

Washington asked his war council what they should do. General Charles Lee

urged them to wait, but younger men urged him to attack. Washington took

the counsel of the younger men, and his Continental Army marched out of

Valley Forge onto the trail of the British. The pipers lit into Yankee Doodle,

and the sergeants called out marching orders. With precision the American

forces marched against a superior foe, and they dwell them such a blow that

the British never again underestimated their American opponents.

There was much marching yet to do, but Washington motivated his men

to never stop marching until they forced the British to surrender and leave

this land free and independent. If you study the history of warfare, you will

discover that many, if not most, of the great victories that have changed the

course of history were decided by the marching men. In our age the march

has been the key to victories in the civil rights battles. Martin Luther King

Jr. changed the history of our nation by means of marches.

In 1965 black people in Alabama could not register to vote. King led a

large group marching to the courthouse to register. He and 2 thousand other

blacks were put in jail. When a black man was shot and killed by a state

trooper, King called for a march to the state capital in Montgomery.

Governor Wallace forbid such a march, but King defied the order. The state

police attacked the marchers and sent 70 to the hospital. King did not back

down, but he ordered another march. This time 400 white ministers, priests

and rabbis from all over the United States joined the march. One of them

died in the march, and the nation was shocked. President Johnson and the

courts got involved, and congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Marching won for blacks the right to vote without being hampered, and that

victory has changed the whole complexion of government in the U. S. Ever

since that victory, marching has been a means by which the masses get their

message out to the world. If enough people care enough about an issue to

march it is a powerful witness for their perspective.

As we look at the march around Jericho that led to the opening victory in

Israel’s conquering of the Promise Land, we see that the march was basically

just that-a witness. The march did not have any military value, for it did not

take the marchers anywhere but around the city. It did not give Israel the

advantage of a surprise attack, for it was done in broad daylight with the

enemy watching. From a military viewpoint this was the most futile march in

the history of warfare. It may have been a great idea for a parade, but it was

worthless strategy for taking a walled city. The enemy, no doubt, had a good

many hearty laughs at Israel’s war games. It was more like entertainment as

they watched the march and listened to the trumpets. The daily parade had to

be the talk of the town, and everybody in Jericho had to have seen it at least

once. You can just imagine the mockery the citizens of Jericho hurled out at

the marchers.

It was probably very embarrassing for fighting men to march around the

city instead of building battering rams, catapults and ladders, which was the

normal preparation for taking a walled city. It was not that it was a hard

task to do, for Jericho was only about 9 acres of coverage, and so it took only

about 25 to 35 minutes to march around it. These people had been marching

for 40 years in the wilderness, and so a half hour a day for one more week

was a snap. But the question is, why could God want His people to march like

this when it was obvious to all that it had no effect on the situation? The

answer to that question is what makes the march for Jesus a relevant activity

for Christians in our day. Why does God want His people to march? First of

all because-

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