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Jericho

Victory Through Faith  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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God can provide victory through unconventional means. When I follow God, He will respond and tear down walls in my life.

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Jericho

Stepping Out In Faith

A Short Interview with the Gibbs (Missionaries to Malawi)

What led you to the country or community where you are serving?
What were some of your biggest challenges? What still are some of your biggest challenges?
Were you ever afraid? If so, how did you overcome that fear?
What advice do you have for someone who wants to pursue his or her God-given purpose?

The Challenge at Jericho

Last Lesson

You may recall the last lesson, where we talked about the SECOND parting of the waters, at the Jordan River.
We talked about the importance of walking in the Spirit. Joshua and the Israelites had to walk in the Spirit’s lead, and because they did, they saw a miracle!
They would have to do more than cross a river to experience victory, though.

Now, Jericho

The first challenge they faced across the water was the city of Jericho. No easy enemy!
Joshua 6:1 KJV 1900
1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.
Jericho was what we would call a “fortified” city.
Massive walls protected from invasion. When the gates were shut, no one could get through this place.
Getting over the wall would be too hard - people who were guarding would see you coming.
Tunneling underneath the city would take too long.
And after what they had just saw, they might have wondered if God was going to work another miracle like at the Jordan River. But this time, God gave Joshua an unusual battle plan…
Joshua 6:2–5 KJV 1900
2 And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. 3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. 5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
Now, for many times in the past, Israel simply had to sit back and watch as God did a miracle. The leader might have to demonstrate faith, but often not everyone.
This time, the people would have to obey. Victory was tied to obedience. And obedience probably wasn’t easy - it was a strange battle plan.

Odd Instructions

Maybe, at some time, you’ve been asked to follow a set of instructions without understanding the reasoning behind them.
Like your parents asking you to do something that didn’t make sense. And when you ask why, they replied, “Because I said so.”
No response is more frustrating than that one… but sometimes it’s what we need to hear.
If you become a parent one day, you’ll probably find out that some things are too difficult to explain to kids. And when that happens, you, too, will probably say, “Because I said so.”
Israel couldn’t have understood how God’s plan was supposed to work. If we’re just talking logically here, there’s no way that marching around a city will be enough to overthrow it!
HOW WOULD MARCHING HELP???
Scripture reminds us of something very important…
Isaiah 55:8–9 KJV 1900
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts.
We are not always going to understand what God asks of us. Sometimes it’s not even possible to understand. We are called to obey, though. And not just when we understand. At ALL times.
We have too choose to obey God even when we don’t understand his plan.
We don’t have to fully understand the plan to be fully submitted to God.
We have to be willing to submit to the leading of His Spirit, even when we are not convinced that His way makes sense.

The Israelites Followed God’s Plan to the Letter

Half-Obedience

Have you ever gotten in trouble for only paying attention to HALF of the instructions?
Maybe for homework, your teacher specifically told you not just to show your answers, but also to show your work. One time this happened to me and I didn’t show my work. I got a lower grade than expected!
Sometimes we knowingly don’t follow the rules completely.
The other night, we were playing Ticket to Ride at our house. Mike attempted to make a play on the board that wasn’t right out of obnoxiousness! If we hadn’t been watching closely, he would’ve gotten away with it!
A lot of times in Israel’s wanderings, they didn’t follow God’s instructions. Sometimes they were completely disobedient. Other times, they were partially (but not fully) obedient.
In God’s eyes, though, to be partially obedient is no better than being fully disobedient.
Thankfully, the Israelites Joshua led seemed to have learned from the mistakes of their ancestors. And they followed God’s plan to the letter.
First, they silently marched around the city one time for six days in a row. Just like God said.
Then, on the seventh day, they were to march around the city seven times, with priests holding trumpets, marching in front of them. And they would march silently until the trumpets were blown. And when the trumpets blew, they would shout with a really loud shout. And they did exactly that.
Joshua 6:12–16 KJV 1900
12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rereward came after the ark of the Lord, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets. 14 And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days. 15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times. 16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city.
Joshua 6:20 KJV 1900
20 So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
Sometimes we read through a Bible story we’ve heard plenty of times without putting ourselves in the shoes of the people who experienced it.
Consider the point of view of Israel, marching the first time.
Consider the point of view of the people in Jericho.
For an Israelite, on the second and third day, you might have started wondering what God was doing.
Maybe the people in Jericho started becoming bolder as time went on.
Israel may have become tired.
But because Israel obeyed FULLY, not partially, God didn’t offer a partial victory. God gave Israel a total victory over Jericho!

Application

Now, Israel faced a literal wall at Jericho. But… we face spiritual walls at times. And these walls are designed to keep us from reaching the victory God wants for us.
Maybe your wall is a difficult home life.
Maybe your wall is when you struggle in school.
Maybe your wall is when you are bullied or experience peer pressure.
Maybe your wall is people who discourage your spiritual growth.
Maybe your wall is a mental, physical, or emotional struggle.
But whatever our wall is, we all have a common solution! I love this scripture…
2 Corinthians 10:3–5 KJV 1900
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
So we have to accept that we are no more able to tear down the walls of the enemy in our own life than Israel was able to tear down Jericho’s walls on their own.
As Paul showed in 2 Corinthians, when we obey Jesus, He will respond by tearing down the walls in our lives.

Conclusion

Battle Plan

On a whiteboard, posterboard, or handout, list the following five-step battle plan.
Jude 20–23 NKJV
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
The Battle Plan:
Build yourself up in the most holy faith.
Pray in the Spirit.
Keep yourself in love with and in relationship with God.
Have mercy on those who doubt. Save others.
Hate the sin in your life.
Hand out paper and pens. Encourage students to select an item of the battle plan they feel they need to concentrate on the most and write it down on their paper.
Instruct students to list three things they can do this week to strengthen that area of their walk with Jesus.
Ask for a few volunteers to share their conclusions with the class if they are comfortable doing so.
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