The Blessing of Breaking Down the Walls of Jericho (Joshua 6:1-16) January 30, 2011
The second blessing that the Israelites had to experience in order to conquer Canaan was breaking down the walls of Jericho. The first blessing was splitting the Jordan River. Before the Jordan split and the walls of Jericho perished, the river and the city seemed like problems. If the Israelites looked at them with the eyes of unbelief, they would have fallen into worries like “It is a problem,” and “What should we do now?” But when the Israelites looked back after the miraculous works took place, those two events served as times in which they experienced How God fulfilled His Word and solved problems. That is why we are using the word “blessing” to describe those events. There is a difference between the two. The Jordan River was simply a physical and environmental problem. But the city of Jericho was different. The city walls were another physical environment like the Jordan, but the Israelites’ enemies who ruled over the city were camping behind those walls. A battle was an inevitable proceeding. What crosses your mind when you hear words like “enemies” and “battles” in the Bible? It is the spiritual battle (Eph.6:12). On the outside the problems in front of you may look as if they were just conflicts among people and problems caused by your circumstances, but there is this spiritual being and its forces in the background that appear as “obstacles” and “interlopers”, and sometimes “pre-occupiers”. If your problem is a simple circumstantial and environmental issue, all you have to do is not be deceived but wait holding firmly to God’s promise with your faith strong. But if your problem is spiritual, you must prepare to fight with the forces of Darkness behind your problem (1Pe.5:7-9). The walls of Jericho can be within your five fields: yourself, your interpersonal relationships, your family, your work or business, and your life in your region and, furthermore, in the United States. You may run into more spiritual problems that you did not have in Korea (Some people are full of incompetence, frustration, depression, and anger due to lingual barrier, cultural shock, and the fact that they are not able to utilize what they have. That is when the spirit of darkness, rage, and despair work. We call that spiritual problem.). I bless and hope that you may break down your walls of Jericho, spiritual problems as you hear this Word today and meditate upon it and pray throughout the week.
1. There is spiritual fact that you must clearly hold to first.
1) There are forces of Darkness that work though your conflicts, environments, and hardships but they can never overcome God and people within Him. That is the power of the Gospel.
a. God sent His son Jesus as the Christ to crush the head of the serpent. It was a promise God gave at the very moment the mankind was deceived by the serpent and lost hold of all blessings (Ge.3:15) and He fulfilled it (1Jn.3:8).
b. God resides within those who accepted that Christ and became children of God to reign in them and fight for them (This is Jehovah Nissi that the Israelites experienced in the desert, and God sent the commander of His army in last week’s message.).
2) In reality, the forces of Darkness are nervous and frightened. It even appears in verse one of today’s passage; “Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.” What are they afraid of? They are afraid of the time in which God’s people realize something important and start acting. Conversely, when you realize something important and start acting the forces of Darkness that are in your way will crumble. There are at least three things.
a. God has surely given you this land. He confirms it again in verse two. “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.” This is a promise of conquest and victory over all problems. Why does God have to give you this land? You must show God’s evidence, save people, and do what saves the world. That is the same reason God gave the land of Canaan to the Israelites (That is where Messiah came and the world missions began.). You must find the reason for your success and victory here.
b. You know that God Himself fights for you; this is the blessing of Immanuel. God is surely with you, guiding you, helping you, and working with the Holy Spirit.
c. All you have to do is believe and act boldly. God promised in 1Pe.5:9 and Jas.4:7, “Resist the devil, standing firm in the faith, and he will flee from you.” The Devil is afraid that you realize these three things and start putting things to action. If you just live without coming to this realization, the forces of Darkness will keep on attacking you and make you fail.
2. How are you going to fight and win? God told Joshua how very specifically.
1) Place armed men in the front (verse three). “March around the city once with all the armed men.” You must arm yourself and prepare to fight the spiritual battle. Your commander is Christ. You have no choice but win. We need soldiers to fight against the forces of Darkness that take way the blessings from your family and give you conflicts and problems. We need soldiers also within the church who quietly pray and fight for all believers, especially new members and those who are suffering. Those of you among church lay leaders, senior deaconesses, regional leaders, and teachers who know this spiritually mystery must serve as soldiers.
2) “Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark.” Blowing on the trumpets of rams’ horns is proclaiming victory in the name of Christ. The rams’ horns symbolize Christ and the trumpets symbolize victory. What comes after these trumpets? It is the Ark of the Covenant. It is the Word of God that contains God’s promise and evidence. You must hold onto Christ and God’s Word. “The reason the Son of God appeared on earth is to destroy the Devil’s work.” “God has given us this land.” “God will make us His witnesses to the ends of the earth.” “The forces of Darkness behind this problem must crumble.” The issue at stake here is whether or not the covenant of God’s Word is within you. That is why you must meditate upon the Word and organize it every Sunday evening.
3) March around the city with your mouth shut. This was a psychological strategy but it really was a time of prayer.
a. Until you “hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets and have the whole army give a loud shout,” (verse five) go into unconditional prayer. “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word” (verse ten) and go deeply into prayer. The Israelites did not pray for just one day. They prayed for seven days. If you pray that long you will start changing from the inside.
b. You need time to focus, especially a time of spiritual concentration. The Israelite probably had a lot to say when they were circling the city. But they stick to God’s promise and focused not to say a word. You must draw the picture of the walls of Jericho collapse and concentrate. It may seem as an unbreakable fortress now. It may seem as if nothing would change right away. But hold firmly to God’s promise and go into prayer and God.
c. What is the most important thing here? When you restore true faith in the promise and people of that faith come together, the Holy Spirit will work like fire. This is the blessing that the church must first and always enjoy. When individual faiths come together, great works within your family and church will take place.
The walls of Jericho had to collapse in order for the Israelites to go into Canaan. It is the same for us. We cannot stumble before our problems and fall into despair, but we must go forward towards the land of promise and the future of promise. God has undoubtedly prepared everything and He is willing to give; you cannot sit around and spend the rest of your life in misery. That is exactly what our enemy the Devil wants. I bless and hope that all of you may experience the blessing of the walls of Jericho in your five fields collapse this week.