The battle of Jericho from the book of Joshua in the Bible may seem like an odd place to learn how to trust God, but there is no better place to settle in. As we crack open the Bible and jump into Joshua 6, we find yet another instance of this as the Lord tells Joshua to lead his soldiers around the walls of Jericho. Have you ever noticed that when God tells us to do something or calls us to a place it doesn’t always make sense? But I have a surprise for you, it doesn’t have to make sense, and this is where our lesson in trust comes in.
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How The Battle Of Jericho Can Help You Trust God
The Bible is filled with these lessons in trust moments, from God telling Moses to strike a rock for water, to holding his staff over his head so the Israelites can claim the victory. Or even when Jesus tells Peter to throw his nets into the water in the heat of the day. It’s not uncommon to find God leading Biblical figures into situations, and places that to us don’t make sense. God often leads us to a place and then calls us to an action that looks ridiculous to the rest of the world.
What Happened At The Battle Of Jericho?
Many of us know of Joshua in the Bible, but what happened at the battle of Jericho? And why is it relevant to our lives? I’m so glad you asked! Joshua has long been one of my favorite bible characters, His faith, and leadership shine through the pages of the Old Testament to encourage and inspire us even today. [Dive deeper into the book of Joshua in our Joshua Bible Study Series].
We come upon Jericho as Joshua has taken over the leadership of Israel after Moses’s death in Chapter 1 and is leading them into the land the Lord had promised them. The Bible tells us that after the people of Israel had crossed the Jordan River into the promised land and are camped near Jericho that Joshua meets the commander of the Lord’s armies who tells him:
“See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” Joshua 6:2-5 NIV
Can you even imagine what Joshua had to be thinking leading up to the battle of Jericho when he heard this? He’d grown up seeing God do really big things, He’d watched what doubt and fear had done to the people of Israel and how it had derailed their arrival into the promised land. Do you think He was confident? Maybe he could look back at everything He’d seen God do and just believed, but maybe a little sliver of doubt pulled out his heart.
It sounds outlandish, impossible- how could walking around Jericho not once, not twice but every day for seven days do anything? And not only that but the priests carrying horns and the ark of the covenant are to go as well.
What Can We Learn From The Battle Of Jericho?
God’s ‘yes’ isn’t always easy or simple. He likes making us participate in that yes, getting our hands dirty and doing some leg work. He likes to teach us through the ‘yes’, He uses it to grow us and strengthen our faith. I think the most telling thing in this chapter about Joshua and the battle of Jericho, the one thing I’d like you to take away if nothing else is yes isn’t always what we expect it to look like.
Joshua calls together the priests and the army and tells them to advance. He doesn’t ask a bunch of people if they think it’s a good idea, he doesn’t ask for input or opinions. Doesn’t ask who wants to go with him, he stands on the knowledge of who God is, what He has done in the past, and acts.
What Is The Story Of The Battle Of Jericho In The Bible?
No, what if’s, no buts, no hesitation, no waiting for a good time. He puts the directions he’s been given into immediate precise action. The priests carry the ark of the covenant, and blow their horns, the army follows silently behind them. Day 1, they set out and make their way around the walls of the city.
We can only imagine the reaction of those inside the city- they were already frightened of the Israelite’s, they’d heard the stories of the Lord’s provision. The story of the Red Sea and countless other times have been passed around for the last 40 years. They are frightened, they’ve brought everyone inside the walls of their city, and shut the gates behind them. They can see the procession get closer and closer, with just the sound of the ram’s horns and the stamp of feet.
See power doesn’t have to shout, it can whisper. Dust curls into the sky as they draw nearer and nearer. This is it, the moment they’ve all been fearing- but the Israelite’s don’t attack they keep walking. The people inside the city watch. Waiting. Ears straining for the sound of battle. But nothing happens – only the sound of the horns and stamp of feet break the silence as the city holds its breath. Still nothing. And then it’s over and the Israelites are returning to their camp.
Keep Trusting God When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
Day two of the battle of Jericho, the same thing. I wonder how many days it took for the intimidation to start wearing off? You can almost hear them say, “ahh guys, don’t know if you missed it but the gate is back that way. You’ve only walked by it twice now…”. Day three… the Israelite’s are back at it, I wonder how many times around the walls of Jericho it took before the whispering started.
We’ve done this already and nothing happened. We look ridiculous. It’s hot, we’re tired, so when is God going to come through on His side of this. How long before the age-old question rose to the surface once again, sure He came through back there with Moses, He came through for our parents or grandparents but what about this time? Will He do it for us?
Day four of the battle of Jericho the same thing. Day five of the battle of Jericho dawns and by now it’s beginning to feel like a broken record. The people of Jericho have got to be confused because to them this looks ridiculous. This is the army they have feared, so much that they have retreated into the city and shut the gates tightly behind them, but all they’ve done is walk, and blow their horns.
The Battle Of Jericho: Don’t Stop Doing What God Has Told You To Do
Day six looks a whole lot like the last five of the battle of Jericho, but what they don’t know is God’s getting ready to move, each step around that city takes them closer, each blast of the horns ushers it a little closer, I wonder did they know in those inky hours of darkness before dawn on day seven? Did they sense the difference? Did the air hum with anticipation as the army rose and prepared.
The darkness on the horizon shifts as the final day of the battle of Jericho dawns, and the Israelite’s once again prepared to repeat what they have done for the last seven days. Could you feel the anticipation in the camp? That God was going to come through just like He’s promised so many times? Or feel the nervousness, that comes when we know He is going to come through, we just don’t know how. Did the townspeople go about their business as normal as Rahab gathered her family into the very thing that is about to fall in the battle of Jericho? I wonder did she explain the promise that she was clinging to?
You see Jericho never falls on the first round, only in the repetitive acts of faith that bring us back each day. It’s in the obedience, that the Israelite’s returned each time that the walls fell. It’s easy to do something once and then give up when the walls don’t immediately fall when our request isn’t instantly met, but the lesson in trusting God of this place is in the waiting. The lesson is in the following even when it doesn’t make sense and continuing when we’ve already done this and we don’t see a result. It’s in the pressing deeper, pushing harder, believing that even when we can’t see it, God is working and never giving up.
It’s in the faithful repetition of prayer in the weary hours of the morning when nothing seems to change, the struggle to keep doing what you’ve felt God lead you only to find it so much harder than you thought it would be. It’s in the showing up, again and again, and again, pouring yourself into empty cups. This, this is where our lesson in trust from the battle of Jericho comes from. Trusting God, when it doesn’t look like anything is happening. Trusting Him, and showing up when it doesn’t look like it will make a difference. Trusting our heavenly father’s plan even when it doesn’t make sense to us.
God likes to use what the world deems as ridiculous. He likes taking what we would say is out of place, like Rahab, and using it for His glory. Humble vessels, in the hands of a mighty God.
It Doesn’t Have To Make Sense: Trusting God With The Result
So often we want to throw our hands in the air and walk away after the first round when we don’t see a result. But so often it takes the repetive action of showing up time and time again. There are some Jericho’s, some strongholds in our lives that can only be won when we buckle down and keep walking.
It is here that our faith grows – I don’t see the way, but I’m still here. It doesn’t make sense, but I am not giving up. It’s not physically possible, but my God is master over the impossible. This is where He has called me and this is where I will stay. I may look weird. People may not get it- but my God has promised me this place and I am going to keep walking around this city until the walls of Jericho fall.
Day seven dawns over Jericho and the Israelite’s head out but this is the moment that it all comes together, what started six days ago is about to be finished. The priests blow their horns like every other day, but this time the army shouts. And God moves- the impossible happens- just like He promised, and the walls crumble.
Much like the battle of Jericho, the battles we fight aren’t always quick. Sometimes they take the day in day out kind of fighting that requires the faith to move past the disappointment of not seeing a change. To keep trusting God when it looks like nothing is happening. We get so caught up needing to understand, needing it to make sense of what is going on, what He is doing- when we just need to keep going. To keep obeying and keep walking around our Jericho until the walls crumble and fall.
This is where our trust grows deep and strong, in the everyday choice to keep believing and keep following even when we can’t see the result. Our personal battle of Jericho must be fought, daily, trusting God has already given this ground into our hands.
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