Summary: TRUSTING THE LORD HELPS PEOPLE OVERCOME OBSTACLES. Here are two sets of consideration about the correlation between people, walls, and faith.
November 27,1994 --PM
UP WITH FAITH, DOWN WITH WALLS
INTRO: Jericho was a city which had been promised to Israel by God Himself. Joshua¡¦s job was to take the city, but a large, imposing wall hindered progress. So many would face the wall and believe it impossible to conquer. For this very attitude Joshua¡¦s contemporaries (with the exception of Caleb), died in the unforgiving and unconquered wilderness. Their faith never braved enemies nor overcame obstacles in order to conquer territory for the Lord and the blessings He promised them. See Numbers 13:26-14:10, 28-38.
Rahab was a woman who lived in that city. Chuck Swindoll claims that she was a Jewess who came to live there because she had married an Egyptian ambassador who eventually took up residence in Jericho in the course of duty. While there he died and left her there with no way to fend for herself. She turned to prostitution presumably to make a living. I can¡¦t find where Dr. Swindoll gains this information, and I hesitate to challenge such a noteworthy man, but reading the Bible causes me to question this story for two reasons: one, Rahab¡¦s family had to be with her in her house when the walls fell for their own safety -- this leads me to believe that they and she were residents of the city by nationality; two, she speaks throughout the text of the fear ¡§we¡¨ felt when ¡§we¡¨ knew ¡§you¡¨ were coming -- her use of the first person leads me to conclude that she was part of the city by nationality; and three, she and her family were put outside the camp of Israel when the were rescued from the siege -- this leads me to conclude that they were not part of the nation of Israel and were viewed as unclean, unconverted Gentiles. I am not saying that there are no satisfactory answers to these objections, but until I discover them I must first believe the Bible. I think Charles Swindoll would concur with that. See (24) #19-32 and Joshua 2:1-21.
In any case she was a woman in need of help. It was her house the spies entered that day when they scouted the city. Her occupation made her a woman of ill-repute and an unlikely candidate to demonstrate faith. She was in the city of destruction. She had her own walls. She needed help. See Joshua 6:1-25.
PROP: TRUSTING THE LORD HELPS PEOPLE OVERCOME OBSTACLES
Here are two sets of consideration about the correlation between people, walls, and faith.
AN OBSTACLE TO OVERCOME: THE WALL (V30)
Look first at the wall. It was shut up against the people of Israel (Josh. 6:1). An individual recently mentioned the tendency of people in a certain community to be quicker to build walls than bridges. We do that don¡¦t we. Rather than resort to the lord as our fortress, we wish to erect one of our own. Walls are not bad in their proper place, but they tell us something about the people who build them when they are shut up against the people and plan of God. Here are some things a wall can mean sometimes:
Ownership -- a wall marks what belongs to a city. Its presence says, ¡§This is ours!¡¨
Boundaries -- A wall shows how far a city extends, where it begins and ends.
Security -- A wall imparts a sense of protection.
Terror -- A wall sometimes hints of the fear behind its construction. It also serves to inspire fear in potential threats.
Arrogance -- A wall, well-constructed, can be a source of pride for the inhabitants.
Capability -- A wall indicates power -- to erect it and contained within it.
Limitation -- A wall restricts movement of enemies and inhabitants.
Error -- A wall can be built when there is no need. It can grow from and lead to mistaken notions.
Each of these reasons for a wall of any kind can become an obstacle to faith. That is what the structure around Jericho spelled for the people of God.
I. The Results of Properly Placed Faith:
A. When faith (trust in God) is properly placed (in God), the wall, whether physical or of attitude, falls down.
B. When the faith of Joshua was properly placed, Joshua and his people had the Lord¡¦s presence. We see this from a little incident in Joshua 5:13-15. An armed stranger was before Joshua and declared himself to be the Captain of the Lord¡¦s Host. He was not ¡§for¡¨ Joshua, or under his command, nor was he for the enemy, or on his side. He was for the Lord¡¦s host, or their commander. With properly placed faith, the Lord was on the side of the nation of Israel. His armies fought their battles.
II. The Way Faith was Demonstrated: