True Faith - Trusting God enough to Obey God for as long as it takes.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
In order to experience the victory of Canaan, faith has to be intitiated.
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
Israel has finally crossed the Jordan. They have prepared themselves spiritually and they have, thus far, followed God’s orders to the letter. Now, they are ready to begin the conquest of the Promised Land. They are ready to claim for themselves the land that flowed with milk and honey
Some of you this morning may question the fact that we are preaching from a book that is old and that is all about battles and wars.
Let me remind you that we are living in days of battle and spiritual struggle.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
We need to know how to fight. We need to know that our God is able to give the victory. We need to know how to follow Him to that victory. Joshua teaches us those valuable lessons!
A Faith that Believes God:
A Faith that Believes God:
1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. 2 And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. 3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. 5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.
Jericho is known as the oldest city in the world, in Joshua’s day, it was surrounded by a system of two massive stone walls.
The outer wall was 6 ft. thick and about 20 ft. high.
The inner wall was about 12 ft. thick and was 30 ft. high.
Between the walls was a guarded walkway about 15 ft. wide.
Israel’s problem was that they had a city to conquer, but there were some extremely huge walls in the way.
These walls were a problem for the 1st generation.
28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.
Remember, Israel was desert dwellers for the last 40 years. They had no experience or skills against walled cities.
There were at least five ways to conquer a walled city in that day and time:
⇒ by scaling the wall using ladders or ramps
⇒ by digging tunnels underneath the walls
⇒ by using battering rams to break open the city gates or else to smash a hole in the walls of the city
⇒ by laying siege to the city until the people were starved into surrender
⇒ by using some means of deception such as a truce or ambush
From the human perspective, the situation for Israel seemed hopeless.
They were not skilled in modern warfare: they had never used ladders to scale the walls of the enemy nor battering rams to break open the city gates.
They had never built ramps nor moved ramps up to the city walls under the fire of arrows and other weapons.
The conquest of the enemy just seemed impossible.
As we go through life, we have obstacles that we face as well. Perhaps it is a lost loved one we would like to see the Lord touch and save, a lost community over which we are burdened, a ministry from the Lord that we feel inadequate about, family trouble that tears at our hearts and leaves us wondering what to do, financial trouble that stresses us to the limits of our patience and faith, a besetting sin that constantly crops us in our life, or any of other a million things!)
We must learn not to look upon our obstacles as dead-ends, but as opportunities for the Lord to work in our lives!
(Ill. The great Apostle Paul had such an obstacle—2 Cor. 12:7–10—This attitude is foreign to us this morning. Yet, we must come to realize that the power of God is best revealed in and through us when we are unable to handle life. God is more clearly visible when we are totally out of the picture! In a sense, that is what He did with Israel here. As we will see, He completely removed them from the equation! The victory at Jericho was all God!)
Joshua 6:2 (KJV 1900)
2 And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.
As Joshua stood looking at those walls around that great city, God had a word of comfort for their hearts!
Joshua 5:13–15 (KJV 1900)
13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
15 And the captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
Remember, the commander of the LORD’s army had just appeared to Joshua (5:13–15).
Joshua needed encouragement, and he needed to know how to attack the city. Therefore, the LORD had appeared to him and identified Himself as the commander of the LORD’s army.
Joshua was to know that victory was guaranteed by the LORD Himself (v.2).
No matter how impregnable or invincible the enemy seemed to be, victory was assured. In fact, God had already delivered Jericho into the hands of His people. The enemy would be conquered by God’s people.
Here, God promises Israel the victory before they ever attack Jericho! He lets them know about the conclusion before they ever enter into their battle!
3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. 5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
Israel’s partner was none other than God Himself! He was in absolute control of the battle, He was leading them, and He was the guarantee of their victory!
(Ill. The visit of the Captain of the Lord’s Host—Josh. 5:13–15. Remember that He came to tell Joshua that He did not come to take sides, He came to take over!)
As we face our walled cities and the obstacles of our lives, it is a blessing to know that we do not have to face them alone,
Matthew 28:20 (KJV 1900)
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Hebrews 13:5 (KJV 1900)
5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
No obstacle is insurmountable as long as we face it in the Lord!
The Captain of the Host tells Joshua how he will do it.
Joshua was to have all the soldiers march around the city once a day for six days.
He was to have seven priests march in front of the Ark, each carrying a trumpet made of rams’ horns (v.4).
On the seventh day, the army was to march seven times around the city with the trumpets blowing (v.4).
After marching around the city seven times on the seventh day, all the people were to give a loud shout when they heard a long blast from the trumpets (v.5). The walls of the city would then collapse.
When the walls of the city collapsed, the soldiers were to charge straight into the city and conquer the enemy (v.5).
Israel had a Word from God.
Israel had a Belief in God.
Militarily, this would seem to be a foolish strategy in the eyes of the world. Nevertheless, it was the strategy laid out by God for His people.
If the Israelites believed God’s Word, they would conquer the enemy; however, if they rejected God’s Word or refused to act upon it, they would lose the battle and be defeated by the enemy.
Jericho is a picture of the seemingly impregnable, invincible enemies that often confront us as we walk throughout life. As believers, we are seeking to lay hold of the promised land, the great inheritance God has promised us. But as we seek our inheritance, strong, powerful enemies confront us, enemies such as the world, the flesh, and the devil himself.
Remember that the victory has already been won by Jesus Christ.
The world, the flesh, and the devil have already been conquered by Him.
Note what Scripture says:
⇒ There is only one way to conquer the world: by believing God’s Word. When God tells us how to conquer the world, we must listen to what He says.
⇒ There is only one way to conquer the flesh: by believing God’s Word. When God tells us how to conquer the flesh, we must listen to what God says.
⇒ There is only one way to conquer the devil: by believing God’s Word. When God tells us how to conquer the devil, we must listen to what God says.
The victorious life—conquering the enemies that try to keep us out of the promised land—comes through faith, a faith that believes God’s Word.
Always remember this fact: the believer who conquers throughout life is the person who reads and studies God’s Holy Word.
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
It is that person who knows the promises of God. The promises of God live in his heart and life. And because the promises are living within him, he is able to cling to them, conquering all the enemies that attempt to destroy him.
Christ has conquered the world.
Christ has conquered the flesh.
Christ has conquered Satan.
Do you have a faith that Believes God?
Great, that leads us to the second thing.
How can a person conquer, be victorious throughout life?
How was victory over the enemy achieved? By faith, not just a believing faith but an obeying faith.
A Faith that Obeys God:
A Faith that Obeys God:
The commander Joshua had received his orders from the Commander in Chief, the LORD Himself. The strategy of attack was a most unusual strategy, a seemingly foolish strategy. It was not the strategy that would be taught by a military academy. It was not the strategy that would be pursued by the average military commander. By far, most commanders would consider the strategy to be irrational, even foolish.
Nevertheless, it was the strategy laid out by the Commander in Chief, the LORD Himself.
The only question was, would Joshua obey the command, and would the officers obey Joshua?
Faith in God’s Word was essential, and Joshua and the officers would prove their faith by what they did, prove their faith by obedience.
Joshua Obeyed God:
Joshua Obeyed God:
6 And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto 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 unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the Lord.
The Priests and Soldiers Obeyed Joshua:
The Priests and Soldiers Obeyed Joshua:
8 And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns passed on before the Lord, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them. 9 And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the rereward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets. 10 And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout. 11 So the ark of the Lord compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.
Faith without works is dead.
It is not enough to say, “I believe God,” and then live like we want. If we truly believe God, we obey God.
Our faith is put to work. We do exactly what God says. We keep His commandments.
Joshua and the Israelites had true faith; therefore, they obeyed God. They carried out the command of God and the conquest of Jericho. Consequently, God gave them victory over the enemy that was trying to keep them out of the promised land. So it is with us: if we have true faith, we obey God, and God gives us victory over the enemies that confront us throughout life.
Obedience is the clear evidence of faith. If people see us obeying God, they know that we truly believe in God. We can conquer and be victorious through life by faith, a faith that obeys God.
A Faith that Endures with God:
A Faith that Endures with God:
Joshua 6:12–13 (KJV 1900)
12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord.
13 And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rereward came after the ark of the Lord, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.
How can a person be victorious in life? By faith in God. By possessing a faith that is patient, that endures to the end.
How many battalions of soldiers were marching around Jericho is not stated. The army of the Israelites numbered over six hundred thousand (Nu. 26:51).
Most likely, all the battalions of soldiers were not needed. Whatever the case, division after division had already marched around the city on the first day. They had marched in total silence, not saying a single word. Only the trumpets blew as they marched. Once the march had ended, they had all returned to camp without launching a single assault against the city walls. Now, note what happened over the next six days:
Joshua 6:14–16 (KJV 1900)
14 And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days.
15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times.
16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city.
For six long days, the Israelites followed the same seemingly foolish strategy: they arose early and marched around the city in stone silence with only the trumpets blowing. They marched day after day, and then on the seventh day they circled the city seven times.
Think of the patience needed by soldiers under such orders: a patience that trusted their commander, a patience that would endure to the end without grumbling and murmuring.
So it is to be with us before the LORD and His commands: we are to believe the LORD and keep His Holy commandments, enduring to the end. We must never give up our faith. Victory will be ours if we will persevere, endure, obey God to the very end. No matter how great the struggle, no matter how large or strong the enemy, no matter how long the attack—if we will persevere, endure to the end, God will give us the victory. This is the strong exhortation and promise of Holy Scripture:
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Do you Believe God?
Are you Obeying God?
Are you Continuing with God?