3 Lessons From the Walls of Jericho

5 Mins read

In Joshua chapter 6, we read a beautiful story that recounts another example of God’s glorious provision for His people. At the end of Deuteronomy, Moses died. That left Israel looking for someone to replace him and finish their conquest into the Promised Land that they were assured when God brought them out of Egypt. God appointed Joshua as the new leader over Israel, and he was tasked with finishing the mission that Moses started nearly four decades earlier.

However, Joshua’s appointment into a leadership position didn’t happen on the cusp of Canaan. There were still cities that had to be conquered and battles that had to be fought before Israel could inherit the promise that God had given their ancestors.

One of those remaining obstacles was the City of Jericho. Archeological discoveries have taught us that these walls stood somewhere around 13 feet in height and were around 4 feet thick. In addition to the wall itself, there were multiple 28-foot-tall watchtowers on the inside of the walls, designed to ensure that no intruders found their way in. According to historians, Jericho’s structure is the first in history to be built solely for military purposes. Obviously, Joshua and the Israelites had never seen anything like it. However, their faith in God allowed them to obtain victory over an enemy who was unlike anything they had ever seen before.

While this event happened thousands of years ago, there are still plenty of lessons that we can learn from Joshua and Israel’s march around the walls of Jericho.

Walking by Faith Not by Sight
Joshua 6:2 (ESV)

And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.”

How was Joshua supposed to see victory when the only things in front of him were 13-foot-high walls? But that’s exactly what God told him to do. “See, I have Jericho into your hand.” In 2 Corinthians 5:7, Paul told the Church at Corinth that we “walk by faith, not by sight.” There is perhaps no better example of that principle than God telling Joshua to see something that seemed impossible.

The concept of walking by faith instead of walking by sight is difficult. As humans, we have a natural inclination to trust our own instincts, our own decisions and to put stock in what we can see in front of us. However, that’s not how God operates. Sometimes we have to see things through a spiritual lens that aren’t necessarily apparent to our natural bodies.

When we can’t see how things are going to work out, it’s easy for doubt, fear and anxiety to creep in. However, in the same way that God told Joshua to see something that wasn’t obvious to the natural mind, He instructs us to continue walking according to our trust in Him instead of what we can see.

His Ways Aren’t Our Ways
Joshua 6:3 (ESV)

You shall march around this city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days.

In the following verses, God explained to Joshua that the seventh day of the conquest would be different. Instead of making one lap around the city of Jericho, they would make seven laps. Historians indicate that a single lap around the fortified city would take around one hour, so the seventh day was going to be long, tiring and even stressful due to the watchtowers that sat inside the walls. God was also adamant that on the seventh day, the first six laps around the city were to be made in complete silence. On the seventh lap, the priests were instructed to blast the trumpets while the rest of the people shouted.

In Isaiah 55:8-9, God told the prophet Isaiah that His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not like our thoughts. The strategy that God provided Joshua for overthrowing the fortified city of Jericho certainly defied all basic military logic. In order to overthrow a city surrounded by a block wall, wouldn’t you need something that could break it down? To get past the guards who resided in the towers overlooking the walls, wouldn’t you need to use weaponry to get them out of the way?

If Joshua was going to do this his way, that would certainly be part of the equation. Undoubtedly, if the man who saw Moses and the armies of Israel win battles against armies over the course of the last 40 years was going to devise the plan, there would be some use of weaponry. However, God’s ways weren’t Joshua’s ways.

The story of Joshua and the Israelites surrounding Jericho without raising a weapon is a good reminder that God’s ways are superior to our own. When we’re faced with seemingly impossible situations, we shouldn’t get so caught up on our own methods of handling it that we forget to entrust it to Him.

The Power of Praise
Joshua 6:20 (ESV)

So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city.

The trumpets in the Old Testament were always blown when people were being ushered into a time of praise. The shout of the people who were making their seventh lap around the walls of Jericho was a shout of praise. But did you notice the sequence of events? The blast of the trumpets and the shout of praise happened before the walls of the city fell flat.

We have no issues with praising God after the obstacle before us falls. When we’re faced with something that seems impossible, we often hold our praise until we’re sure that God responds the way that we need Him to.

However, God told Joshua and the Israelites to blow the trumpets and to shout before they saw the victory. In fact, their obedience to God, their faith in His ability to destroy the walls and their willingness to praise Him in advance were the keys to the destruction of Jericho.

If you’re facing an obstacle in your life that seems impossible, remember these three keys to Joshua’s defeat of Jericho and apply them to your own life. Obedience, faith and praise can tear down the walls that are towering over you too.

A Closing Prayer:

God, you know the obstacles that I’m facing. You’re fully aware of how it seems like the walls are towering over me and I don’t see anyway through. Lord, I need Your direction. Tell me the best way to handle this situation. Help me to be obedient to Your plan for what I’m facing. Give me the strength to forget about my own ideas of how to handle it and focus on Your plan. Finally, God, I praise You in advance. I know that You are with me, and You are for me. In Christ’s name, Amen.

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