WHEN THE LORD IS IN THE BATTLE
Battles have been fought throughout history. Some battles become long forgotten, and some remain in the annals of history. The Battle of Jericho is one of the most significant battles ever fought – not because of the bravery of those who took part, but because of the divine and supernatural power of God which won the battle.
At stake was God’s reputation to save his people and carry out his promises. We’re going to take a look at that battle to help us understand how the Lord’s victories affect the battles that we face on this earth against a corrupt and perverse generation, amongst who we shine as lights in the world.
Using Moses as the leader, God had guided the Israelites out of Egypt to the border of the Promised Land. Moses’ successor, Joshua, led them across the Jordan River, and there stood the first obstacle, the fortress of Jericho.
JERICHO WAS A FORTRESS OF EVIL
From a practical standpoint, Jericho’s fortress blocked the highway from the Jordan River into the interior of the land. If Israel was going to conquer any of the territory in which God wanted them to live, they would first have to get past Jericho. So, what was God going to do about the situation? He was going to erase the city.
But why were the people of Jericho considered to be God’s enemies? If you could peer into their places of worship you’d know. Their temples weren’t chapels but brothels. There was injustice and child sacrifice. Life was cheap and perversion had become part of their religious rituals. The inhabitants of Jericho were so corrupt they were a stink in God’s nostrils.
All the accursed idols and artifacts would be destroyed. All the inhabitants would be slaughtered, except Rehab the prostitute, who had accepted the Lord. All the silver and gold and all the bronze and iron would go into the treasury. None of the plunder would go into Israelite coffers. None of the people were to become Israelite servants. None of the animals would increase Israelite flocks and herds. Everything connected with Jericho was reserved for the LORD, either designated for destruction or dedicated to his service.
Any Israelite who pocketed a few bracelets or rings from dead Jericho-ites was not just violating God’s command to keep hands off. That person was detracting from God’s victory by claiming he had a right to plunder as if he had done the fighting and deserved credit for winning the battle. God wanted to make it clear that it was He who fought the battle of Jericho.
GIVE GOD THE GLORY
This Biblical record serves as a reminder to all that it is God who fights the battle. Without Him, we can do nothing. With Him, we can to all things through Christ who strengthens us. God will not tolerate anyone or anything which robs him of full credit for his victories and makes Him slide over to share his throne with someone or something else.
Jericho was a town with massive walls, but the whole city was probably not much more than the size of small town today. The Israelites had six hundred thousand soldiers. We would expect Joshua to organize a camp for his soldiers, train them in battle strategy, assemble weaponry, and then lay siege to Jericho, cutting of its water supply, waiting to starve out the inhabitants. But God himself gave Joshua battle plans to march around the city once a day for six days. Then on the seventh day, they were to march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing rams’ horn trumpets. Finally there would be a long blast from the rams’ horns, the people would shout and the wall of the city would collapse.
City walls thirty feet thick don’t just crumble from trumpet blasts and a shout. God was teaching the Israelites an important lesson. He promised that those walls would fall by His doing. At the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city.
GOD WANTS US TO BE PART OF HIS VICTORY
The Israelites gave God glory when they witnessed Jericho’s ruin. Surely the other inhabitants of the land must have shivered in their boots when they heard of Jericho’s collapse. How could their man-made gods hold up before this God who miraculously crushed cities? We give glory to the Lord when we stand in awe of his almighty power. But giving glory to the Lord means more than awe. It includes trusting His promises and relying on Him – regardless of the situation.
Did the Israelites bring down the walls of Jericho? No. The Lord did. We need to step back. Let God do his work. You and I didn’t make the earth. We didn’t send our son as a Substitute for all. We didn’t battle Satan from the wilderness to Calvary. Our Saviour God did. Even if our world collapses around us and everything seems to be going wrong, we still have the victory that really counts – life with him in heaven.
But although the Lord fought the battle, he was generous enough to allow the Israelites to be part of his victory. It was they who had to march around the city for six days. On the seventh day, it was they who had to blow the horns and shout. It was they who had to carry the spoils of war to the treasury. God wants us to take action, and not just wait for him to do it all. If Joshua had taken the attitude of many Christians today, he would have organised a day of prayer by the Jordan river for God to destroy Jericho on his own. But he sought the Lord, knew his voice and stepped up when the Lord showed him what to do.
JERICHO-TYPE EVIL NEEDS OPPOSITION TODAY
This story is not just about what we can take and apply to our own life, but what we can take and apply to the battlefield of the world we live in. Christianity is under attack, Christian morals and values are under attack in the society in which we live. Today it is acceptable in the eyes of the world to live a life of sin, contrary to the word of God, and it is becoming less and less acceptable to live a life of righteousness, standing firmly on the Word, speaking out against sin and injustice wherever we see it. Society is building its own walls to protect its Godless values.
We can’t fight a battle against this in our own strength, through our own wisdom and understanding. We must rely on the Lord, and follow as He leads. We must trust that He has everything in hand, and that no matter what He tells us we must do it because He knows what He is doing. It might seem like what the Lord tells us to do won’t work, we might think we have a better idea.
HELP BUILD HIS KINGDOM
Maybe the Israelites wondered why the Lord told them to march around the city, thinking that it couldn’t possibly make the walls fall down. Maybe they thought that they should assault the city themselves. But in the end, they trusted God. They did the small, simple thing that God told them to do and saw the Lord do the miraculous, defeating an enemy that was not humanly possible to defeat.
Pray today that the Lord gives you wisdom and strength, seek His will for your life, and ask Him what you can do to further His cause, to help build His kingdom and to stand up for righteousness.
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