Joshua 5:13 – 6:27 is titled “The Fall of Jericho.” It’s a fairly familiar story. All of Israel had just crossed the Jordan River to take Jericho, as God had instructed Joshua.
Many scholars believe that the commander of the Lord’s army, who Joshua speaks to at the beginning of this passage, is Jesus. I agree. Only Jesus could have provoked Joshua’s deferential reaction.
Joshua asks 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 plan did the commander of the Lord’s army reveal to Joshua? How did God 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 starve the people of Jericho by siege? Did He suggest any of the usual means of conquest? Nope.
The Lord instructed Joshua to have the Israelites march around the city once a day for six days, then march around seven times on the seventh day, 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. 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! Recent archaeological evidence shows that the walls of Jericho actually fell outward, evidence that God’s hand made them fall.
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, conflicts with worldly advice.
When we face being injured by another, the world says 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 to do whatever it takes to make more money and to retain what we have, even if that means being dishonest or conniving. The world teaches us to worry about money. Jesus says to seek first the Kingdom of God and all the things we need will be given to us. Matthew 6:19-34.
When we see a homeless person begging or injured by the side of the road, the world says 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 give up and give in to our sinful lifestyle. 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.
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.