Summary: When life gets rough, what then?
Meeting Challenges God’s Way
Hebrews 11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.
Last Sunday we met the people of God as they marched out of slavery toward the Promised Land. We observed that early on God led them into a situation with Egypt’s army behind them and the Red Sea in front of them. What a dilemma! They trusted God in the impossible situation and crossed over on dry land. Additionally they watched as the pursuing army was destroyed by the power of the Lord. This was an astounding turn of events. In a matter of hours they went from being chased and threatened to complete freedom.
With an experience like that, you would have thought their faith would be unshakeable, but it wasn’t. In a year or so, the Israelites stood at the borders of the Promised Land, having received the Law of God and readied for conquest. Then their faith faltered-- again! They sent 12 explorers into the land to bring back a report. The men came back with stories of abundant food and a pleasant land, but 10 of the men also exaggerated the strength of the Canaanite people.
Numbers 13:31-33 “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size . . . We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
In response to this report, the people rebelled against God and refused to enter the land of Canaan. God sentenced them to 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, saying that their children would be the ones to actually enter the Promised Land. Our text today brings us ahead to the end of that wandering with a new generation once again at the entrance to Canaan. Standing in the way was a walled city, a strong fortress that guarded the region. How would they conquer this fortress city?
READ Hebrews 11.30
By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.
The writer of Hebrews in his sermon on faith alludes to one of the most dramatic miracle stories in the Bible. It is an account that captures our imagination and it instructs us still today about the kind of faith necessary to live successfully for God. How this story effects your life depends largely on how you read it. If you rationalize away what happened and turn it into a legend or myth the power of the story is lost. IF you will, by faith, read it as an account of God’s power at work on behalf of His people, this story can become a foundation for your faith.
For the Believer, this strange story of an ancient battle becomes a model of living successfully for God in our own time. As we prepare to enter into the places that God has prepared and promised to us:
– places of holiness in our lives,
– places where peace conquers hatred,
– places where family life flourishes in a culture that degrades families,
– places where sin is defeated by righteousness . . . We will face fortresses like Jericho.
Blocking the road to holiness can be some huge sinful habit that resists all of our efforts to conquer it.
∙ The way to peace can be sealed off by a deep, unyielding hatred of someone who wronged us.
∙ Our family’s security in Christ can be threatened by old patterns of dysfunctions that seem to follow from one generation to the next.
∙ Our life’s hope to honor Jesus in our daily conduct can be held back by a huge stronghold of selfishness.
Whatever YOUR Jericho that keeps you from being the person of God in the place promised to you by God, this message is for you. It is a simple, yet profound challenge to faith.
The full account is found in Joshua 6. In your pew Bible you can find the story on page 160.
I encourage you to follow along in your Bible as I read the entire story . . .
Joshua 6:13 – 7: 20 READ
Principle # 1 - God’s strategy for battle is often strange, defying all conventional wisdom.
Joshua was an old, experienced leader. Certainly he and his advisers had spent countless hours working out a plan of conquest as they entered the land. But all of Joshua’s plans were set aside by an encounter with a messenger from the Lord. The capture of the city of Jericho was already declared by God. (See 6.2)