On Sunday, our pastor gave a great sermon based on Joshua 5:13 – 6:5, and I wanted to share a little bit of what he said, with my own thoughts and where it led me woven in. This section of scripture is titled “The Fall of Jericho.” You can read the whole passage by clicking on the link above.
Our pastor pointed out that many scholars believe that the commander of the Lord’s army whom Joshua speaks to is Jesus, and I tend to agree with this. If this were not the case, I don’t think Joshua’s reaction to Him would have been quite as deferential.
Joshua asks this man, standing alone with His sword drawn, if He is for the Israelites or for their enemies. The man responds, “Neither.” Joshua 5:14. He is not “for” anyone. He is the commander of God’s heavenly host. The real question is whether Joshua and the Israelites are on His side.
How often to we ask God whether He is for us or for our enemies? Or worse yet, assume He is on our side? But God is not on anyone’s side, not even the Israelites’. Rather, He calls His people to be on His side. He calls us to seek His will and follow His plan.
So what was the plan that this commander of the Lord’s army revealed to Joshua? How did the Lord plan for the Israelites to defeat Jericho? Did He tell Joshua to gather battering rams and catapults to attack the city? Did He recommend that they try to starve the people of Jericho out of the city by siege? Did He suggest any of the usual means of conquest? No.
What the Lord told Joshua to do was this: March around the city once a day for six days, then march around seven times on the seventh day, then blow trumpets, and shout. Can you imagine following such a strategy? March, blow trumpets, and shout? That’s it?
Joshua then commanded the Israelites to follow this strategy, and God caused the walls of Jericho to fall. Even though the strategy may not have made any sense to Joshua, he followed it to the letter and it worked perfectly. Israel was triumphant!
As we face our own Jerichos in life, Jesus comes to us with a strategy – I think I’m going to start calling it the Jericho strategy – for how to be triumphant. His strategy, as revealed in His Word, is not to take the usual worldly actions that we might think we need to.
When we face being injured by another, the world says the way to triumph is to seek vengeance and to make that person pay. Jesus’ Jericho strategy is to forgive and let Him heal the wounds. Matthew 8:21-35. He even says that we should love and pray for the enemy who has injured us. Matthew 5:43-45.
When we face financial issues, the world says we must do whatever it takes to make more money and to retain what we have, even if that means being dishonest or doing things we wouldn’t otherwise do. The world teaches us to worry about such things. Jesus says to seek first the Kingdom of God and all the things you need will be given to you. Matthew 6:19-34.
When we see a homeless person begging or injured by the side of the road, the world says just keep moving and take care of yourself. They probably got themselves into that situation and they might try to rip you off. Jesus says to stop and help, to treat them as your neighbor. Luke 10:25-37.
When we have done so many bad things we think there is no hope for redemption, the world says to just give up and give in to continuing with our sinful life. Jesus say it’s never too late to come to Him and turn your life around. John 8:1-11.
No matter what Jericho you face, Jesus has a strategy for being triumphant in your situation. Somewhere in His Word is the strategy you need to show that you are on His side. And when you are on His side, and stick with His Jericho strategy — no matter how crazy it seems — the walls will come down. So the next time the walls of Jericho seem impenetrable, go to His Word and humbly ask, “What do you want your servant to do?” Joshua 5:14. He’ll give you a strategy to make the walls come tumbling down.