The story – like Jericho
Your story – and mine – might not have literal walls like Jericho, but we face our own walls.1 After wandering in the wilderness for thirty years, the Children of Israel were ready to take their Promised Land. First, there was the obstacle of the city of Jericho – and those walls. God led them through with specific instructions.
They obeyed and followed God around those walls and into that city. Because of their obedience, they conquered. We can do the same when we face our own walls like Jericho.
Studies show that “The retaining wall was . . .12–15 feet high. On top of that was a mudbrick wall six feet thick and about 20–26 feet high. At the crest of the embankment was a similar mudbrick wall whose base was roughly 46 feet above the ground level outside the retaining wall.”2
These walls were built to protect the city and its inhabitants. It was too large and vast a wall for any army, at least so it was thought.
The people had to show up. God told them to walk around those walls every day for six days. Walking around those walls helped them realize the immensity of the battle.
On those six days when the people marched around those walls of Jericho, they saw the immensity of the wall and the seeming impossibility of its defeat. They knew they were outnumbered. Don’t think they didn’t realize that when they marched around those walls.
Marching around those walls provided three things. It made them actually see those walls. Walking around those walls made them realize that God was going to have to do this, because they could not. It also gave the people of Jericho a chance to see them. You know those people inside the walls wondered what was going to happen, for they had heard about their God and the Red Sea from forty years before!
As they walked, the Israelites had a choice. They could believe God or let their fear factor discredit their past. Click To TweetNever mind that God parted the waters of the Red Sea. Never mind that He provided quail and manna and water in the wilderness. Did it matter that He restored them from snake bites and made it possible for them to conquer other cities and towns? They had to choose not to allow their current experience make them become a victim of their circumstances. Click To Tweet
The people had to shut up. Instead of voicing their concerns or complaints, they marched around those walls each day for six days, not saying a word. They had to shut up and walk. This gave them time to repeat the promises of God to themselves.
How vast are His promises! They had plenty of time to recount those promises. Walking gave them opportunity to remember His track record with them and their families for the last forty years.
Walking around those walls helped them realize His faithfulness. When God shut their mouths, He gave them opportunity to think and remember His promises and His faithfulness!
On the seventh day, they marched around the city seven times. At the end of the last time around those walls of the city, the people were to shout.
God didn’t have them wait until the walls came down to shout. No, He told them to shout before the walls came down. At the end of the last march around the city, the people shouted. It was then, and only then, that the walls came down.
Shout His praises! Shout about His mercies! Proclaim the truth of His promises. Tell it on the housetops. Tell it everywhere! Do it before the walls come down because He is victorious.
Marching around your walls
What God accomplished with His people was a miracle. He wants to do the same for us. This means that we show up when it’s time to hear the doctor’s verdict. We show up at events we’d rather avoid when we know God wants us to be there. We show up at church when we don’t feel like it, and we show up in our giving and helping when we’re tired or frustrated or think there is no hope.
We also shut up when it’s not a time to be speaking. Instead, we listen to what God wants to tell us, and we obey what He says we must do. We shut up instead of running interference. We shut up when we’d rather share gossip or repeat rumors or make judgments without hearing both sides of a matter.
We shout our praise to God even before the walls come down. We declare His goodness and we keep telling others about His faithfulness even when we don’t know the outcome or whether the radiation is working or the lab levels are getting better. We continue to shout because He is worthy of our praise.
Even when things don’t go our way, when we experience grief and loss, even then we must shout His praises, because He is God. He is good, and He is worthy.
He gives power to the faint, and to those who have no might, He increases strength. When we have no might, when we are in the middle of despair, He gives strength and hope. He gives peace. That is why we shout.
1 These points are taken from a sermon Dave preached a few weeks ago. He willing gives me permission to use the notes I took for this post.