Summary: When we embrace idolatry of any kind we end up in the place described by Jonah in his prayer from the belly of the fish. JONAH 2:8 THEY THAT OBSERVE LYING VANITIES FORSAKE THE THEIR OWN MERCY.

Observing Lying Vanities, Forsaking the Mercy of God.

Pastor Daniel J. Little

The Landmark Church

126 Court St. Binghamton,

NY 13901

Here is the point I want make this morning; Idolatry is embracing any word or will over God’s. Even when we embrace our own word and will over God’s we become practicing idolaters by putting our selves in the place God said was only for Him. Result? In the words prayed by Jonah from the belly of the fish, we end up abandoning our source of mercy.


Joshua 6:1-11

Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. 2 And the Lord said to Joshua, "See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. 3 You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. 4 Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout [one voice], and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him." 6 So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, "Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord." 7 And he said to the people, "Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord."

8 And just as Joshua had commanded the people, the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord went forward, blowing the trumpets, with the ark of the covenant of the Lord following them. 9 The armed men were walking before the priests who were blowing the trumpets, and the rear guard was walking after the ark, while the trumpets blew continually. 10 But Joshua commanded the people, "You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout." 11 So he caused the ark of the Lord to circle the city, going about it once. And they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp. ESV

The rest of this story is that Joshua and the priests and the armies of Israel ALL did what God told them to do, and the impregnable walls of Jericho fell flat and the city was utterly destroyed.

But why the command in verse 10 to maintain complete silence? We could say “Because God said so,” but I think there was a very practical reason.

I think that once this very unorthodox plan was made known to everyone God wanted His word to be the last word spoken until the moment of obedience. He wanted obedience and faith to build up like electrons in a capacitor—building up to the moment they heard the command to “SHOUT”, and then see it all released in a surge of power that would literally knock the walls of Jericho flat.

(Capacitors are those little electronic gismos that store up a charge of electricity that is released in one sudden burst of power. In high school the guys in auto-mechanics class thought it was fun to touch the business end of a fully charged capacitor to some unsuspecting person and watch them jump from the sudden jolt of power.)

But let me offer another very practical reason for this order to silence. Here it is: God wanted them to DO THE WORD (do the plan) rather than talk it to death.

He wanted them to DO THE WORD not study it until they understood how the plan might possibly work.

He wanted them to BELIEVE and DO HIS WORD rather than reasoning among themselves to where they finally figured out why God’s Word would NOT WORK and abandon it.

I told you about a certain portion of Jonah’s prayer from the belly of the fish. Here it is…

Jonah 2:8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

Jonah is praying from first hand experience. He had walked away from the Word of the Lord and followed his own empty reasoning (lying vanity), and in doing so walked away from God—thus forsaking his own [source of] mercy.

He had chosen his own will and word over God’s and now he was experiencing God’s redemptive judgment in the belly of a fish while God adjusted his thinking.

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