Laying Siege to the Enemy Part 2

Preparing to Leave the Desert  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Last we we talked about laying siege to the enemy and we learned that God has a two part battle strategy for laying siege to the city. The first part is to lead with peace, but if the enemy refuses that peace, then we are to move to the second part of God’s strategy, and that is to step back, shake the dust off our feet and let God go to work. But that doesn’t mean our task is done. Now begins the process of taking the city and that starts with.
Gathering Intelligence
Remembering the Word of God.
Obeying the Authority of God.
The three articles in the ark of the covenant were to go before the children of Isra’el when they entered into battle, and so they must go before us when we enter into battle.
This week we continue by looking at the first battle of the Promised Land, and see how it applies to how we fight our battles in the promised land to which God is bringing us.

Circumcised Again

So the siege of Jericho actually begins a bit before the actual battle happens, you see God has to prepare the people to go to war, so he has a little unfinished business to attend to.
Joshua 5:1–3 TLV
Now it came about when all the Amorite kings beyond the Jordan westward and all the Canaanite kings by the sea heard how Adonai had dried up the waters of the Jordan before Bnei-Yisrael until they had crossed, their heart melted, nor was there any spirit in them anymore, because of Bnei-Yisrael. At that time Adonai said to Joshua, “Make yourself flint knives and circumcise again Bnei-Yisrael a second time.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised Bnei-Yisrael at Gibeath-ha-araloth.
Now, this is a super curious passage of scripture that I’m super glad God din’t leave it at that because this would have been downright confusing.
Joshua 5:4–8 TLV
Now this is the reason why Joshua circumcised: all the people that came out of Egypt who were males—all the men of war—had died in the wilderness along the way after they came out of Egypt. Though all the people that came out were circumcised, none of the people who were born in the wilderness along the way as they came out of Egypt had been circumcised. For Bnei-Yisrael walked 40 years in the wilderness, until all the nation’s men of war who came out of Egypt died out, because they had not listened to the voice of Adonai. To them Adonai had sworn that He would never let them see the land which Adonai had sworn to their fathers that He would give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. But He raised up their children in their place. Joshua circumcised them, for they were uncircumcised, since they had not been circumcised along the way. Now it came to pass after they had finished circumcising the entire nation, they remained in their places in the camp until they recovered.
I’m glad that scripture clarifies here what was going on, and it goes on to tell us that God gave them a period of recovery.

Why Circumcision?

Why was it so important that the Children of God be circumcised. I’ve heard it likened to the removing of the flesh, in other words the cutting off of sin, but when we consider that circumcision was not required of gentile believers, we know that can’t be it. But perhaps the fact that it isn’t required of gentile believers can give us a clue as to what it is. You see, circumcision was a way of identifying the people of God from the rest of the heathen nations. So it was important for all of these new Jews who had not yet identified themselves with God, to take the time they needed to cut their flesh and make themselves subject to God. It had nothing to do with sin, rather it had to do with a reminder that they owed their very existence as a people to God. You see, the Abraham was told that circumcision was the sign of the covenant of Yehovah, that would result in the birth of Isaac. Therefore they understood that Isaac’s miraculous birth came about because of that covenant. And the sign of the covenant was circumcision. So in this case, not only were the men supposed to undergo circumcision, but they were to stop to recover - they were given time to think about what circumcision meant. They were to think about the fact that they owed their entire existence to God. But what does that mean to us as believers today? Well sometimes when we enter into the promised land, we come across a painful situation that causes us to stop. It may make us reel. But what God is doing, is trying to capture our attention so that we take a pause and consider him. What exactly does he want us to consider. Well let’s read what it says in Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 30:5–6 TLV
Adonai your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, and you will possess it; and He will do you good and multiply you more than your fathers. Also Adonai your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants—to love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live.

It’s All About Loving God

We identify with God by loving God. Not just loving him, but loving him with all our heart and with all our soul, look what it says next - in order that you may live.
Church this is glorious key to living a victorious Christian life.
The consequence of not having a circumcised heart is tragic indeed.
Jeremiah 9:24–25 TLV
“Days are soon coming,” declares Adonai, “when I will punish all who are circumcised and yet uncircumcised— Egypt, Judah, Edom and Ammon’s children and Moab, and all that have cut the corners of their hair—that dwell in the wilderness. For all the nations are uncircumcised but all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.

Consider What it Means to Identify with Him

And so , God commanded this and then in the time they spent recovering from the procedure, they sat. Saints, there will be times when we go to take the city, whether that means the salvation of a loved one, or it means storming the gates of hell to tear down some oppressive system of the enemy, there will come a time when God says, “if you want to identify with me, you must set yourself apart. You can’t look like the rest of the world, and he will ask us to cut away certain aspects of our behavior, of our personality that look too much like the world because he wants us to be distinct. He wants us to remember the miracle that we are. Our very being here is about what Jesus did for us. Scripture tells us that if we are to identify with him, we must take up our cross.
Matthew 16:24 TLV
Then Yeshua said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.
Remember, identifying with God means loving him, and what did Jesus say was the sign that we loved him?
John 14:15 TLV
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

Is Your Perspective Right?

So the children of Israel have taken care of the business of correctly identifying with Yehovah, that should do it right? They’ve recovered from that trauma, we should be ready to go right? Well not quite yet.

Realize that it’s Not About You

So many times, when we go to pray for a loved one, or about another situation, we go to God and remind him of the promises he made to us, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all, I mean, after all, this is the promised land, right? And while we do contend for the promises, it is all about his will being done.
Joshua 5:13–15 TLV
Now it came to pass when Joshua was near Jericho that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there was a man standing in front of him with his sword drawn in his hand. Joshua approached him and said to him: “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” “Neither,” he said. “Rather, I have now come as commander of Adonai’s army.” Then Joshua fell on his face to the ground and worshipped. Then he asked him, “What is my lord saying to his servant?” Then the commander of Adonai’s army replied to Joshua, “Take your sandal off of your foot, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

God is Not on Our Side.

You see, like the Children of Israel, we often see the battle in terms of us versus the enemy, and wonder if God’s on our side. But that’s not the question we should be asking. What we should be trying to find out is, are we on God’s side? And if so, will we be ready in an instant to prostrate ourselves in the presence of the army of the Lord and worship him? By the way, does anybody care to tell me who that may be? I mean, some people claim it’s an angel, but that can’t be can it? When do angels allow humans to worship them? Want more proof? Look at the manner of greeting that this commander used, does it sound familiar?
Exodus 3:4–5 TLV
When Adonai saw that he turned to look, He called to him out of the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” So he answered, “Hineni.” Then He said, “Come no closer. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
The Hebrew word Hineni means “hear I am”, but who is it that is saying this? One of the things that I like about this version of the Bible, is that Jack Hayford’s team made it a little easier to tell when the divine name of God is being used - almost. Most of the time we see the name Adonai, we can assume that they are using the tetragrammaton (the Hebrew letters Yud Hey Vov Hey) when the proper vowels are added back in, it is pronounced Yehovah. But this brings up a curious problem.
Exodus 33:20 TLV
But He also said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live.”
So then how could this be? Well consider the very words of Jesus.
John 14:7 TLV
If you have come to know Me, you will know My Father also. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”
So now I ask you again, who is this standing before Joshua? So then, this tells us whose battle this is.
So what does this mean to us? Well, if we’re going to have success we need to align ourselves with His will and His purposes and we need be willing to follow directions. It’s not about if God is on our side, it’s about are we on God’s side!

Follow God’s Instructions Explicitly

Joshua and the Caleb were the only two people left alive that had experienced war, and now God was asking them to take a major fortified city. It was said that the walls of Jericho were so thick that they would hold chariot races on them. We know they were thick enough to contain entire houses, because we read earlier that Rahab the prostitute who aided the Hebrew spies, lived in a house that was in the wall. And it was this apparently impregnable fortress that God was calling them to face as their first challenge.

Don’t Faint at the Seeming Impossibility of the Battle

Saints, when God calls us to siege the city, it may seem overwhelming, it may seem like there is no way that we have the ability to take down this wall. The children of Israel did not have siege weapons, there were no siege machines or catapults to take down the walls, they didn’t have any ballistae to with which to breach these amazing walls, and yet this is where God was calling them, but the battle plan makes no sense at all. What exactly is the battle plan.

Shut Up

I’m sure there’s a more polite way to say it, but “shut up” gives us a sense of urgency. If we are going to siege the city we need to shut up. We are not there to engage the enemy in conversation, we are not there to talk our loved ones into giving their hearts to the Lord. We are there to win a battle, not an argument. We are there to win souls to Jesus, not to win the admiration of how well reasoned our argument was for or against this political system, or that. You see church, if we are going to take this nation back for God, if we are going to win our loved ones to Jesus, we need to do this exactly according to his instructions and more often than not it is to shut up. And we are to keep doing this until it is time to take the city. Up until then we circle the city - with prayer, we circle the situation! Keep our peace until...


God has such a flair for the dramatic. I mean that was a pretty good bit of theater that happened at the Red Sea. Washing away the armies of Pharaoh was brilliant drama. And here again, God rolls back his sleeves and shows the splendor of his glory by giving a master class. The number seven is the number of perfection. God created the entire world in six days, and on the seventh he rested. The nation of Israel marched around Jericho for six days and on the seventh God brought the walls down. God will bring down the walls of the city, but he will not do so until his perfect timing is fulfilled. But when it is, He will give us the victory. When God brings the walls down, we are to shout with the voice of triumph for he has given us the city.

Putting it All Together

You might be saying, “but pastor, I thought you were going to give us a great strategy for winning our loved ones to Jesus or for taking on these big challenges in my life.” And the thing is, there are no canned answers. There are no magical three step formulas to achieving that success. Only God can accomplish these things, we are along for the ride. But what you and I must do is put ourselves in a position to make sure that we align ourselves with him.
We must be circumcised once again -we must identify with Him by loving Him.
Don’t expect God to be on your side - be on his.
Finally, follow God’s instructions to the letter
Don’t faint at the impossible task in front of you- just have faith.
Don’t do things by the power of your own will or persuasion, keep quiet and follow His instructions.
Shout when He has given you the victory, make known your praise and thankfulness.
I know that many Jerichos will be coming our way in the months and years to come, and I want to be sure that we are ready to face them and claim the victory together. Will you pray with me?
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