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And the Walls Fell Down Flat

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And the Walls Fell Down Flat


Joshua 6:1-20


Americans are having problems sleeping well. A poll released last year by the National Sleep Foundation showed that 74 percent of respondents suffered symptoms of a sleep disorder a few nights a week or more. The number was up significantly from 62 percent in 1999. Those symptoms include difficulty falling asleep, waking up a lot during the night, waking up too early and not being able to go back to sleep, and waking up unrefreshed. The problem is that we have more to worry about nowadays. Most of us are experiencing various levels of stress due to problems in life. This chapter in Joshua tells us what to do with those stubborn problems that are like a city “securely shut up.”

Joshua and the children of Israel had finished their forty-year trek in the wilderness, had crossed the Jordan River, and were ready to sweep into the long-awaited Promised Land. But they faced a great obstacle, the city of Jericho. It was an unsolvable problem—vast, powerful, directly in their path, and undefeatable. Do you have any problems like that? For the Israelites, the Lord’s solution was strange. He told them to march around the city one time a day for six days, then to march around the city seven times on the seventh day. Afterward they were to blow the trumpets, to shout with a great shout, and the walls would fall down flat—and that’s what happened. What is the lesson for us? When we face an unsolvable problem, one like a city securely shut up, we must realize that God alone can solve it. But He expects us to encompass the problem as He directs:

Encircle the Problem with Prayer. How often in the Bible did the Lord’s people, facing an unsolvable problem, encompass it with prayer, beseeching the Lord to do what no human power was capable to of. There are examples of encircling a problem with prayer throughout the Bible: Abraham’s servant praying for a bride for Isaac in Genesis 24; the Israelites praying for deliverance at the Red Sea in Exodus 14; Hezekiah facing the invasion of Assyria in 2 Kings 19; the church praying for Peter’s deliverance in Acts 12.

In The Kneeling Christian, the anonymous author gives this advice to those burdened for loved ones who, despite our pleading, are tightly “shut up” against the Lord: “They may not listen to us when we plead with them, but they cannot hold out if we pray for them. . . . Tell God, and then trust God.”


Encircle the Problem with Praise. On the seventh day, Joshua said, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city!” The ability to praise the Lord in the midst of impossibility is a powerful secret. Satan can’t abide the presence of godly praise and worship.

Encircle the Problem with Faith. What an act of faith for Joshua and the Israelites! They had no organized army, no weapons, nothing but sheer obedience to an odd command while going against a powerful enemy. Hebrews 11:30 says, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.” When we have those unsolvable problems, we encompass them by prayer and praise, then we continue walking around them by faith until the walls fall and the Lord sends His deliverance.

Joy Ridderhof, born in 1903, started an organization called Gospel Recordings, Inc. to record the gospel for every language group on earth. It is now approaching 5,000 languages, and millions around the world have heard of Christ through GR recordings. But it wasn’t easy. Joy, a single career woman, faced loneliness, sickness, dangerous travels, foreign intrigue, and financial crises at every step. One year, Gospel Recordings badly needed more room at its Los Angeles base. Joy and her staff prayed about it for months, and suddenly a large site became available. It seemed ideal, and the board authorized a $6,000 deposit. The property cost ten times that much, but Joy refused to publicly appeal for funds. She was in Wheaton, Illinois, as the deadline approached. If $60,000 didn’t materialize within a week, the property would be lost along with the $6,000 deposit. Only half the amount was on hand, and Joy’s staff called her in crisis. Her laconic instructions were to claim Joshua 3:5 and to “follow the Jericho pattern for the remaining seven days. And cable the branch offices to join us.” No other explanation was given, but none was needed. The staff understood. Cables flew around the world: BUILDING DEADLINE OCTOBER NINTH FOLLOW JERICHO PATTERN NEXT SEVEN DAYS JOSHUA 3:5. The walls of Jericho had fallen after the Israelites had circled them for seven days. In the same way, the staff of Gospel Recordings encircled the problem with prayer, two hours a day for seven days. The walls fell. In an overseas call from London, a British GR staffer announced an unexpected legacy had just arrived for the ministry, and it was exactly enough to complete the building’s purchase. The home staff burst into the Doxology, and Joy Ridderhof continued her speaking tour through Illinois with a new story of God’s faithfulness.


Encompass the Problem with Perseverance. Notice that the successful result was not achieved in a day or two. It took day after day of encompassing the city. The Israelites must have grown weary, but they didn’t give up. It may take time for the Lord to break through and achieve the victory in your situation, but don’t give up!


Conclusion: If you’re worried about a particular problem today, one that is “securely shut up,” one that is robbing you of sound sleep at night, try the Jericho pattern. Encircle the situation with prayer, praise, faith, and perseverance. Don’t give up, and in due time the walls will fall down flat.

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