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Strongholds

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a sermon for dealing with the strongholds in our life

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Joshua 6:1–5 NKJV
Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”
2 cor 10
2 Corinthians 10:3–5 NKJV
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Strongholds

and how to tear them down!

In 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation was proclaimed in America. The word spread from Capitol Hill down into the valleys of Virginia, and the Carolina's, and evens into the plantations of Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama. The headlines read, ’Slavery Legally Abolished!’ However, the greater majority of slaves, in the South, went right on living as though there had been no emancipation. They went on living like they had never been set free. In fact, when one Alabama slave was asked what he thought of the Great Emancipator, whose proclamation had gone into effect, he replied "I don’t know nothing about Abraham Lincoln except they say he set us free. And, I don’t know nothing about that neither." How tragic. A war was being fought. A document had been signed. Slaves were legally set free.
Yet most continued to live out their years without knowing anything about it. They had chosen to remain slaves, though they were legally free. Even though emancipated, they kept serving the same master throughout their lives. Yet, so it is with many believers today. They have been set free, yet they have chosen to remain slaves to the same strongholds that have gripped them all of their life.
So today I want to minister in the area of strongholds!
When an invading conquered foreign territory, their top priority was to remove the power of strongholds. A failure to remove strongholds, would nullify any victory of land. Since an invader could not occupy every square mile of land, as soon as the army moved, the enemy in the stronghold could reoccupy conquered territory.
Many Christians who find salvation in Christ, struggle in their walk, because they fail to remove strongholds. They are constantly besieged over and over again, from the same area. This happens because, the enemy is still occupying a part of their life, and unless these strongholds are pulled down battle will continue to rage.
When conquers took territory, they would locate the strongholds. Secondly, they would gather intelligence on the stronghold. Before operations against the stronghold could begin, the conqueror needs to know the answers to specific questions.
· How is the stronghold supplied?
· How Large is the force withn its walls?
· How high and thick are its walls?
· What kind of weapons do they have?
· Are there any enemy reinforcements nearby?
(NKJV)
1 Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there.
2 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.”
�Once the commander understands the background of the Stronghold, he can begin preparations of the siege. The warfare against physical strongholds parallels in many ways the battle against spiritual strongholds.
For us to have a victorious Christian life, we need to wage war on our strongholds. If we fail to subdue the strongholds, we will constantly be subjected to strong enemy attacks. Therefore, there is a process to being successful in our walk, it does not automatically happen.
We need to decide to follow Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The process to pulling down strongholds is as follows.
· Identify the strongholds in your land/mind
· Develop a strategy to subdue the stronghold
· Lay siege to the stronghold
· Subdue the stronghold to the obedience of Christ
How do we identify strongholds? When we come to Christ, an amazing event happens, The Holy Spirit comes to dwell within our tent or body. Our body becomes the Temple of God, when we become saved as God literally takes residence in our body (, , ).
Now the Holy Spirit is called the Comforter, who teaches us (the saved) all things. Therefore, the Holy Spirit will reveal to us the areas in our life, where Satan has established strongholds.
In Romans, Paul tells us how the Holy Spirit intercedes with our spirit.
(NKJV)
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
(The Message)
26 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.
27 He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God.
Scripture, the Sword of the Spirit, along with the Holy Spirit will shine the light on the strongholds in our life. The first step is to make our life sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God. As we read scripture, where do you feel convicted by the Spirit?
Make a personal List of the area’s that you feel convicted by the Spirit. And to help you get started in the book of Galatians, Paul identifies two sets of fruit, (fruit) works of the flesh and fruit of the Spirit (). In addition to these two sets of fruits, Paul also lists areas of the flesh, which separate those who walk in the Spirit as opposed to the flesh.
As you read these lists of fruits, do you identify with any of them?
(NKJV)
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,
21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(The Message)
19 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness;
20 trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits;
21 the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.
(NKJV)
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
Make a personal and private list of the areas in your life that you are having problems getting control of in your life.
You may be also dealing with generational strongholds in your life. When you think about it we all know of people and families that we see certain strongholds of sins that can be traced back for generations!
Generational strongholds, are ways of thinking and blindness transferred from generation to generation. Only the power of Gospel, has the power to break these generational strongholds, which can dominate families.
Generational strongholds, are ways of thinking and blindness transferred from generation to generation. Only the power of Gospel, has the power to break these generational strongholds, which can dominate families.
A pastor attended a court hearing to protest the building of a tavern near his church and a public school. The lawyer for the tavern owners said to him, “I’m surprised to see you here today, Reverend. As a shepherd, shouldn’t you be out taking care of the sheep?”
The pastor replied, “Today I’m fighting the wolf!”
Too many Christians cultivate only a sentimental emphasis on “peace and goodwill” and ignore the spiritual battle against sin; and this means they’ve already lost the victory and are working for the enemy. We must never forget Paul’s warning about the savage wolves that are ready to destroy the flock ().
The Christian’s warfare is not against flesh and blood, but against enemies in the spiritual realm (); and the weapons we use are spiritual (). Satan and his demonic armies use people to oppose and attack the church of God; and if we don’t take our stand with Christ, we’ve already lost the battle. In the army of Jesus Christ there can be no neutrality. “He that is not with Me is against Me,” said Jesus; and He spoke those words in the context of spiritual warfare (). Since the Apostle Paul often used the military image to describe the Christian life, we dare not ignore the subject (; ; ; ).
Israel’s victory at Jericho illustrates three principles of spiritual conflict and victory applicable to our lives today, no matter what challenges we may be called to confront.
1. Before the challenge: remember that you fight from victory, not just for victory ()
The Christian soldier stands in a position of guaranteed victory because Jesus Christ has already defeated every spiritual enemy (). Jesus defeated Satan not only in the wilderness (), but also during His earthly ministry (12:22–29), on the cross (), and in His resurrection and ascension (). As He intercedes for His people in heaven, He helps us mature and accomplish His will (); and “if God be for us, who can be against us?” ()
Consider the factors involved in Joshua’s victory:
The fear of the Lord (). The land of Canaan was divided up among a number of “city states,” each ruled by a king (see 12:9–24). These cities were not large; Ai, which was smaller than Jericho (7:2–3), had about 12,000 people (8:25). Excavations at Jericho indicate that the city covered perhaps eight acres and was protected by two high parallel walls, which stood about fifteen feet apart and surrounded the city. It was the sight of cities like Jericho that convinced ten of the Jewish spies that Israel could never conquer the land ().
But the news of Israel’s exodus from Egypt and their recent victories east of the Jordan had already spread to Canaan and put the people in panic (; see ; ; ; ). “I will send My fear before you,” God had promised; “I will cause confusion among all the people to whom you come, and will make all your enemies turn their backs to you” (, NKJV).
It was said that Mary Queen of Scots feared John Knox’s prayers more than she feared an enemy army. But is society today afraid of what God’s people may do? Probably not, and it’s mainly because the church hasn’t done very much to display the power of God to a skeptical world. The church is no longer “terrible as an army with banners” (, ). In fact, the church is so much like the world that the world takes little notice of what we do. We imitate the world’s methods; we cater to the world’s appetites; we solicit the world’s approval; and we measure what we do according to the world’s standards. Is it any wonder that we don’t gain the world’s respect?
But not so with Joshua and Israel! They were a conquering people who made no compromise with the enemy but trusted God to give them the victory. Theirs was a march of triumph that put the fear of God into the hearts of the enemy.
The promise of the Lord (). It’s possible that the Lord spoke these words to Joshua when He confronted him at Jericho (5:13–15). The tense of the verb is important: “I have given Jericho into your hand” (6:2, NKJV, italics added). The victory had already been won! All Joshua and his people had to do was claim the promise and obey the Lord.
Victorious Christians are people who know the promises of God, because they spend time meditating on God’s Word (1:8); they believe the promises of God, because the Word of God generates faith in their hearts (); and they reckon on these promises and obey what God tells them to do. To “reckon” means to count as true in your life what God says about you in His Word.
“Be of good cheer,” Jesus told His disciples; “I have overcome the world” (). “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (). “Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (). Christ has conquered the world, the flesh, and the devil; and if we reckon on this truth, we can conquer through Him. It’s possible to believe a promise and still not reckon on it and obey the Lord. Believing a promise is like accepting a check, but reckoning is like endorsing the check and cashing it.
The instructions of the Lord (). “Joshua did not take the city merely by a clever, human military tactic,” wrote Francis A. Schaeffer. “The strategy was the Lord’s.”
No situation is too great for the Lord to handle, and no problem is too much for Him to solve. When He saw more than 5,000 hungry people before Him, Jesus asked Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” Then John adds, “But this He said to test him; for He Himself knew what He would do” (, NKJV). God always knows what He will do. Our responsibility is to wait for Him to tell us all that we need to know and then obey it.
At the close of the last chapter, I quoted J. Hudson Taylor’s words about three different ways to serve the Lord: (1) to make the best plans we can and hope they succeed; (2) to make our own plans and ask God to bless them; or (3) to ask God for His plans and then do what He tells us to do. Joshua received his orders from the Lord, and that’s why Israel succeeded.
God’s plan for the conquest of Jericho was seemingly foolish, but it worked. God’s wisdom is far above ours () and He delights in using people and plans that seem foolish to the world (). Whether it’s Joshua with trumpets, Gideon with torches and pitchers (), or David with his sling (), God delights in using weakness and seeming foolishness to defeat His enemies and glorify His name. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” ().
God’s instructions were that the armed men march around Jericho once a day for six days, followed by seven priests each blowing a trumpet. The priests carrying the ark of the Lord would come next, and the rear guard would complete the procession. The only noise permitted was the sound of the trumpets. On the seventh day the procession would march around the city seven times, the priests would give a long blast on the trumpets, and then the marchers would all shout. God would then cause the walls to fall down flat so that the soldiers could easily enter the city.
In this plan the emphasis is on the number seven: seven priests, seven trumpets, seven days of marching, and seven circuits of the city on the seventh day. The number seven is written clearly into the life of Israel:
The Sabbath celebrated on the seventh day of the week; seven weeks from Passover is Pentecost; the seventh year is the Sabbatical Year; and after forty-nine years (seven times seven) comes the Year of Jubilee. Three of Israel’s feasts fall in the seventh month: the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement (), and the Feast of Tabernacles. (For details about this remarkable calendar, see .)
In biblical numerology the number seven represents completeness or perfection. The Hebrew word translated “seven” (shevah) comes from a root that means “to be full, to be satisfied.” When God finished His work of creation, He rested on the seventh day and sanctified it (); and this helped give the number seven its sacred significance. The Jews noted that there were seven promises in God’s covenant with Abraham (12:1–3) and seven branches on the candlestick in the tabernacle (). Anything involving the number seven was especially sacred to them. It spoke of God’s ability to finish whatever He started.
The Jews used two different kinds of trumpets, those made of silver and those made of ram’s horns. The silver trumpets were used especially by the priests to signal the camp when something important was happening (). The ram’s horns were used primarily for celebrations. The common Hebrew word for “trumpet” is shofar; for “ram’s horn,” it is jobel, which is the root of the word jubilee. The “Year of Jubilee” was the fiftieth year after seven Sabbaticals, and was a special time of celebration in Israel (; ). The priests blew the ram’s horns to “proclaim liberty throughout all the land” (25:10).
The priests didn’t use the silver trumpets in this event because Israel was not declaring war on Jericho, for there was no war! The Jews were announcing the arrival of the “Year of Jubilee” for Israel in their new land. God’s people today can march in triumphal procession because of the victory of Jesus Christ over all the enemies of God (; ; ). We should be living like victors, not victims.
“The wall of the city shall fall down!” () was God’s promise, and His promises never fail (21:45; 23:14). God’s people don’t simply fight for victory but from victory, because the Lord has already won the battle. Reckon on His promises and obey what He tells you to do, and you shall have the victory.
2. During the challenge: Remember that you overcome the enemy by faith (, )
“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days” (). “And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (, NKJV).
Faith is not believing in spite of evidence, for the people of Israel had been given one demonstration after another proving that God’s Word and God’s power can be trusted. The Lord had opened the Red Sea, destroyed the Egyptian army, cared for His people in the wilderness, defeated great kings, given Israel their land, opened the Jordan River, and brought His people safely into the Promised Land. How could they do anything other than believe Him!
Joshua first shared the Lord’s plan with the priests. It was important that the ark of the Lord be in its proper place, for it represented the presence of the Lord with His people. When Israel crossed the river, the account mentions the ark sixteen times (); and here in 6:6–15, the ark is mentioned eight times. Israel could march and the priests blow trumpets until all of them dropped from weariness; but if the Lord wasn’t with them, there would be no victory. When we accept God’s plan, we invite God’s presence; and that guarantees victory. (See .)
Then Joshua instructed the soldiers. He probably didn’t enlist the entire army for this important event; for that would have involved far too many people. According to the military census of , there were over 600,000 men able to bear arms. Think of how long it would take that many men to march around the city walls! And when the walls fell down, Joshua certainly didn’t need hundreds of thousands of soldiers to rush in and overcome the people. The men would have been falling over one another!
Over 2 million people were in the nation of Israel, and marching all of them around the city of Jericho would have been time-consuming and dangerous. The people no doubt watched in silence from a distance and then participated in the great shout on the seventh day. It was a victory for Israel and Israel’s God, and not just for the priests and soldiers.
It’s important that leaders receive their orders from the Lord and that those who follow them obey their instructions. As with the crossing of the Jordan River, so also the conquest of Jericho was a miracle of faith. Joshua and his people listened to God’s orders, believed them, and obeyed; and God did the rest. When God’s people rebel against spiritual leadership, as Israel often did in the wilderness, it leads to discipline and defeat.
The activities of the week were a test of the Jewish people’s faith and patience. No doubt some of them were anxious to get on with the invasion so they could claim their inheritance and settle down to enjoy the rest God had promised them (). To some of them, it may have seemed a futile waste of time to devote an entire week to the taking of one city. Impatience was one of Israel’s besetting sins, and God was helping them learn patient obedience; for it’s through “faith and patience” that God’s people inherit what He has promised (). God is never in a hurry. He knows what He’s doing, and His timing is never off.
If the week’s schedule was a test of their patience, the divine command of silence was a test of their self-control. People who can’t control their tongues can’t control their bodies (), and what good are soldiers whose bodies are not disciplined? “Be still, and know that I am God” (). In the Christian life there’s “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (); and wise is the child of God who knows the difference. Our Lord is the perfect example of this (; ; ; ).
How did the people in the city of Jericho respond to this daily procession around the city? It’s likely that the march on the first day frightened them, for they probably expected the army to raise a siege against the city. But the Jews neither built ramps against the walls nor did they try to batter down the gates. When the marchers returned to camp after making only one circuit of the walls, the citizens must have felt greatly relieved. However, as the march was repeated day after day, tension must have grown in the city as the people wondered what would happen next. They knew that the God of Israel was a “great God of wonders,” whose power had defeated Egypt and the kings east of the Jordan. What would Jehovah now do to Jericho?
When the procession went around the walls seven times on the seventh day, the tension within the city must have increased to frightening proportions. Then came the blast of the trumpets and the victory shout of the people, and the walls fell down flat! All that the soldiers had to do was rush into the city and take over.
The Holy Spirit directed the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews to use this event as one of the “by faith” examples in . The fall of Jericho is an encouragement to God’s people to trust the Lord’s promises and obey His instructions, no matter how impossible the situation may appear to be. You and I may not capture a city as Joshua did, but in our everyday lives we face enemies and high walls that challenge us. The only way to grow in faith is to accept new challenges and trust God to give you victory. “Do not pray for easy lives,” said Phillips Brooks; “pray to be better men and women. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for power equal to your tasks.”
3. After the victory: Remember to obey God’s commands and give Him the glory (, )
Let me quote again Andrew Bonar’s wise counsel: “Let us be as watchful after the victory as before the battle.” Because one soldier didn’t heed this warning, Israel’s next challenge in Canaan turned out to be a humiliating defeat. Joshua gave the soldiers four instructions to obey after they had taken the city.
Devote the entire city to God (). This meant that everything was dedicated to the Lord—the people, the houses, the animals, and all the spoils of war—and He could do with it whatever He pleased. In this first victory in Canaan, Jericho was presented to God as “the firstfruits” of the victories to come. Ordinarily the soldiers shared the spoils of war (), but not at Jericho; for everything there belonged to the Lord and was put into His treasury (; ). It was this command that Achan disobeyed, and his disobedience later brought Israel defeat and disgrace and brought Achan and his family death.
Rescue Rahab and her family (, ). When the walls of the city fell down, it appears that the section of the wall that held Rahab’s house (2:15) didn’t fall down! It wasn’t necessary for the spies to look for a window with a red cord hanging from it (vv. 18–19), because the only house that was preserved was the house in which Rahab and her family waited. When the spies made their covenant with Rahab, they didn’t know exactly how God would give them the city.
God saved and protected Rahab because of her faith (); and because she led her family to trust in Jehovah, they were also saved. These Gentile believers were rescued from a fiery judgment because they trusted the God of Israel, for “salvation is of the Jews” (). They were “afar off” as far as the covenants were concerned (), but their faith brought them into the nation of Israel; for Rahab married Salmon and became an ancestress of King David and of the Messiah! ()
Rahab and her relatives were put “outside the camp” initially because they were unclean Gentiles, and “outside the camp” was the place designated for the unclean (; ; ). The men in the family would have to be circumcised in order to become “sons of the covenant,” and all of the family would have to submit to the Law of Moses. What grace that God spared Rahab and her loved ones, and what abundant grace that He chose her, an outcast Gentile, to be an ancestress of the Savior!
Like Jericho of old, our present world is under the judgment of God (; ); and His judgment will eventually fall. No matter what “walls” and “gates” this present evil world will try to hide behind, God’s wrath will eventually meet them. God has given this lost world plenty of evidence so that sinners can believe and be saved (; ). The tragedy is, lost sinners willingly reject the evidence and continue in their sins ().
Destroy the people (). It disturbs some people that God commanded every living thing in Jericho to be killed. Isn’t our God a God of mercy? After all, it’s one thing for the Jews to kill the enemy soldiers; but why kill women, children, and even animals?
To begin with, this commandment was not a new one. The Lord had given it to Moses years before. In the “divine law of war” found in , the Lord made a distinction between attacking cities that were far off (vv. 10–15) and cities in the land of Canaan where Israel would dwell (vv. 16–18). Before besieging a city afar off, the Jews were to give that city an offer of peace; and if the city surrendered, the Jews would spare the people and make them subjects. But the people in the cities in the land of Canaan were to be destroyed completely, and their cities burned.
Why? For one thing, the civilization in Canaan was unspeakably wicked; and God didn’t want His holy people contaminated by their neighbors (7:1–11).
We must never forget that God put Israel in the world to be the channel for His blessing (), which involves, among other things, the writing of the Scriptures and the coming of the Savior.
Read the Old Testament record, and you will see Satan doing everything he could to pollute the Jewish nation and thus prevent the birth of the Messiah. When the Jewish men married pagan women and began to worship pagan gods, it was a threat to the purposes God had for His chosen people (). God wanted a “holy seed” () so that His holy Son could come to be the Savior of the world.
“God is perpetually at war with sin,” said G. Campbell Morgan. “That is the whole explanation of the extermination of the Canaanites.” Because the Jews didn’t fully obey this commandment in later years, it led to national defilement and divine chastening (). The Book of Judges would not be in the Bible if the nation of Israel had remained true to the Lord (Jud. 2:11–23).
There is a second consideration: The people in the land had been given plenty of opportunity to repent and turn to the Lord, just as Rahab and her family had done. God patiently endured the evil of the Canaanites from the time of Abraham () to the time of Moses, a period of over 400 years. (See .) From the Exodus to the crossing of the Jordan was another 40 years in Israel’s history, and the Canaanites knew what was going on! (See .) Every wonder that God performed and every victory that God gave His people was a witness to the people of the land, but they preferred to go on in their sins and reject the mercy of God. Never think of the Canaanites as helpless ignorant people who knew nothing about the true God. They were willfully sinning against a flood of light.
We should also keep in mind that these historical events were written “for our learning” () as we seek to live for Christ today. In the destruction of Jericho and its population God is telling us that He will tolerate no compromise with sin in the lives of His people. To quote Campbell Morgan again: “Thank God that He will not make peace with sin in my heart! I bless His name for the thunder of His authority, and for the profound conviction that He is fierce and furious in His anger against sin, wherever it manifests itself.”
When I was a child in Sunday School, the superintendent often chose the song “Whiter Than Snow” for us to sing in general assembly. While we sang “Break down every idol/Cast out every foe,” I confess that I didn’t understand at the time what I was singing; but now I understand. The Lord will not share my life if there are rival gods in my heart. He will not permit me to compromise with the enemy. When you grasp this truth, you also better understand His admonition in .
Burn the city (). “Thy God is a consuming fire” was spoken by Moses in long before it was quoted by the Holy Spirit in . Moses was warning the Jewish people against idolatry and the danger of following the religious practices of the people in Canaan. Moses added a phrase that isn’t quoted in Hebrews but is still important for us to know: “even a jealous God.” God is jealous over His people and will not permit them to divide their love and service between Him and the false gods of the world (; ). We cannot serve two masters.
Jericho was a wicked city, and sin is only fuel for the holy wrath of God. Jesus compared hell to a furnace of fire (), fire that is eternal (25:41, 46); and John compared it to a lake of fire (; , ). John the Baptist described God’s judgment as “unquenchable fire” (). The burning of Jericho, like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (), is a picture of the judgment of God that will fall on all who reject the truth.
Even after he had burned the city, Joshua put a curse on Jericho. This would warn any of the Jews or Rahab’s descendants who might be tempted to rebuild what God had destroyed. The curse was later fulfilled in the days of evil King Ahab ().
As He promised, God was with Joshua (, ); and God magnified Joshua’s name in the land (v. 17; 3:7; 4:14). God’s servants must never magnify themselves; and if the Lord magnifies them, they must be careful to give Him the glory. It’s when we are strong that we get overconfident and forget to trust the Lord ().[1]
Cutting off Suppy routes!
When an army decided to destroy a stronghold, one of the first things needed to do was to isolate the stronghold. This was done by cutting off supply routes to the stronghold, one method used by the Romans was to construct wall around the stronghold. This way they could be sure no one slipped in or out without their knowing. The goal was two fold, one, cause the stronghold to surrender by cutting off supplies of food and weapons. Two, prevent any one from leaving to provide intelligence to allies, who might try to come to rescue the stronghold. The Romans were masters at conquest, they understood the need to subdue enemy strongholds. They spent two years, taking the Jewish stronghold of Masada, 15,000 men working to take down a stronghold of 1000-men, women and children.
We can learn a principle from Roman siege craft if they understood the value in blockading strongholds, we should follow their example. How can we blockade our strongholds? One way is to cutoff the supply line, which feeds our stronghold. For example, if alcohol is the stronghold, if you are serious about taking the stronghold, you need to destroy your supply. You need to cut off those who would reinforce your supply, such as friends who want to take you drinking.
If pornography is a stronghold, the same principles apply, cut off the supply routes, control what gets to the stronghold to supply it. Serious action needs to be taken, to pull down strongholds. Without serious action, strongholds will remain a constant presence in the believer’s life. Get rid of the cable television, the internet, the subscriptions and the friends who would supply the stronghold.
This same principle goes for all strongholds; ask what is supplying the stronghold? You know what feeds it? The goal is to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
(NKJV)
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
(The Message)
4 The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture.
5 We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.
What is the stronghold in my life?
2. How is this stronghold supplied?
3. Do people in my life supply this stronghold?
4.What in my environment is feeding and supplying the stronghold?
5. Am I serious about pulling down the stronghold?
6. Am I willing to make myself accountable to Christian friends?
After cutting off supplies to the stronghold, the Romans will build the assault camp, the place where the soldiers would camp out, so they can keep an eye on the stronghold. In the same way, we need to surround ourselves with people, who can help us assault the stronghold. Again, if we are serious we need to seek out people who can help us tear down the walls, people with experience.
Waging war on the stronghold
The weapons of our warfare, the Sword of the Spirit and Prayer, with this double-edged sword, we have the ability to tear down any stronghold. We need to learn to take God at His Word, the weapon of our warfare is more powerful then anything the world can ever offer.
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
To apply this double edged sword in combat, after we have identified the target stronghold. Learn what scripture has to say about particular issue.
The stronghold of pride as example
Let us take pride for example, over 40 versus in scripture mention pride. Start out by finding the verses in God’s word, which deal with pride. List them, learn what they are referring to? A Bible Concordance, Strong’s Concordance for example, dictionary or software can help you locate versus.
Under pride, I would list several verses including the ones below. I would mediate on these verses; I would then begin to pray these verses so they apply to me.
19 I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze.
9 The Lord of hosts has purposed it, To bring to dishonor the pride of all glory, To bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth.
3 The pride of your heart has deceived you, You who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Whose habitation is high; You who say in your heart, 'Who will bring me down to the ground?'
16 For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world.
After praying on these verses, memorizing them, I would begin to wage war on the stronghold. One way is to the exact opposite of your flesh. Volunteer in a homeless shelter, do something humble refrain from exalting yourself, this only feeds the flesh. Daniel’s gave advice to Nebuchadnezzar on how he was to overcome the stronghold of pride; I would use Daniel’s advice to the king.
27 Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity."
Praying the Word of God
We can take the Word of God and pray what it says into our life. Lets take ,
19 I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze.
We can take this verse and personalize a prayer, as the Spirit groans with our pride. We might come before the throne of God and say;
Lord I know you hate Pride, your Word says you will break the pride of power, and you will make the heavens like iron and the earth like bronze, please Lord....Take my pride from me, humble my heart...let me learn to rejoice in your power and not mine own...
When we pray, we literally enter Heaven, we enter the throne room of God. When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain in the Temple was ripped from top to bottom, signifying the separation between man and God was eliminated because of the blood of Christ.
14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Fasting and Prayer
Along with prayer, we have an additional tool called fasting. Fasting adds power to our prayer, it helps us focus and demonstrates to us, how sincere we are about getting rid of our stronghold. Jesus clearly says, some issues require both prayers along with fasting. Referring to the demon possessed boy, who the disciples could not deliver. Jesus said, “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting”().
13 But as for me, when they were sick, My clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; And my prayer would return to my own heart.
3 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.
37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
In Summary the process of pulling down strongholds is
1. Identify the stronghold
2. Gather intelligence about the stronghold
3. Sever and blockade the supply lines to the stronghold
4. Establish a base camp of friends (warriors)
5. Wage war against the stronghold
a. Scripture
b. Scripture memory
c. Pray God’s word
d Pray and fast

Call to Discipleship:

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