When the Walls Came Tumbling Down (Part 4)
By Sophia Prinsloo
with Barbara Wilmerton Haas
Text Version | Afrikaans
A Bible Story About Joshua
(Continued from Part 3)
Coming home after a bad day at school, Brian opened his bedroom door and the scene that he beheld, pushed right on his angry button with full force. "How could she do that?" He shut the door a little louder than usual, threw his schoolbag on his desk and knelt in the middle of the floor, next to his broken, model airplane. It looked like it had made a crash landing and there could only be one guilty person in the house — his little sister.
While still kneeling, Brian threw his arms into the air and cried out, "Lord, I had such a bad day at school and now this! You know how many hours I've put into building this airplane to perfection and just look at it now! How dare she come in here and break my things! Even as little as she is, I feel like kicking her. I am so angry now I can't help it!"
Toning down a bit, Brian continued, "But, Lord, I do want to obey You and be a good follower of Christ. Your Word says we have to forgive 70 times 7, but it's pretty difficult right now, so will you please help me do it and also take away this anger? I don't know how to deal with it."
Brian's prayer was answered — suddenly he did not feel so angry anymore. The next moment there was a gentle knock on the door. A pair of guilty eyes glanced at him and then at the floor. "I'm sorry, Brian. I broke your airplane. Please forgive me," she whimpered. "How can I make it up to you?"
After such a heartfelt apology, Brian couldn't begin to look angry, even if he tried so, instead, he tenderly replied, "Thank you for saying sorry, little sister. I forgive you! Don't worry. Let's go, get some ice cream, and I'll tell you a story about Joshua and the walls of Jericho."
Walking hand-in-hand down the stairs, Brian silently prayed, "Thank You, Lord Jesus, for shattering my walls of anger and animosity towards my little sister and helping me to set her free from guilt. Please bless both of us with your peace."
After crossing the Jordan River, the Israelites camped at Gilgal, near the city of Jericho. When the residents of Jericho heard that the Jordan River had dried up for Israel to cross over into the Promised Land, they were struck with fear and panic. Families and friends living in the fields around Jericho anxiously rushed towards the city. They hoped that its strong, high walls would be enough to protect them from the children of Israel and their God.
"CLOSE all the gates and keep them SHUT! Make sure nobody can come in or out starting today!" the king ordered in defense. He went on to explain, "I DON'T want any disguised Israelites coming into our city again, let alone a whole, hostile army." Everyone was on high alert, staying inside the city walls, almost like the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
Safely inside her home, which had been built between the 6-foot wide, 26-foot high, double walls of Jericho, Rahab, the whore, gathered her entire family together. She clung to the Israelite spies' promise to protect her and all the family members she could squeeze inside her home. She took the scarlet thread from its hiding place, remembering how she had used it to help the spies escape down the city wall. It was time to hang it down from her window again, this time as a signal to the Israelite army, so they could easily know which family to rescue from destruction. No one in the city questioned what she was doing it, because all the residents were hiding inside the city. Not one person noticed the blood red rope hanging from her windowsill. It was the sacred sign of her covenant with the children of Israel, the symbol of God's protection.
In the meantime, Joshua went to size up Jericho from a distance. He was looking for weaknesses or breaches in the high, impenetrable walls of the small 7-acre, but well-fortified city. Quietly, he was waiting on the Lord for instructions when suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he was jolted by a reflection of light on something shiny. Joshua swiftly grabbed his sword, making sure he would be ready for anything. Cautiously walking toward the shining object, he soon realized that it was a Man with a drawn, two-edged sword. Bravely, Joshua approached the Man and said, "Sir, are you for us or for our enemies?"
The Man replied, "Neither. I have come as the Commander-in-Chief of the Lord's Army."
Joshua was stunned when he heard the man's reply and abruptly recognized that this was no ordinary man, but God Himself. A godly fear came over Joshua. He fell flat on his face, lying on the ground, in worship and answered, "I am your servant. It is I that is on your side, my Lord. What are your commands to your servant?"
The Commander-in-Chief of the Lord's army said to Joshua, "Take off the shoes on your feet, for the place where you stand is holy." With great reverence, Joshua immediately obeyed.
Then the Lord told him, "I have already given Jericho, its king and all his mighty warriors into your hand, and this is the way to conquer them. Your armed men must march around the city of Jericho in silence. Following them, must be seven priests, blowing trumpets of ram's horns. The priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant must march right behind them. The rest of the men must serve as the rear guard. This whole procession must march around the city once a day for six days and, on the seventh day, they must march around the city seven times. On the seventh day, after the seventh march, the priests must blow one L-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-NG blast and all the people must start shouting. When they shout, the walls of the city will fall down, and each man must climb over the wall in front of him and destroy Jericho and its people."
When Joshua returned to the camp, he was met with several excited men wanting his attention. "JOSHUA! Joshua, we've put our heads together and come up with ways to conquer Jericho! Elon wants us to build a catapult and hurl gigantic stones at the wall. Jahleel says we must ram the city gates with a rammer, and Serah wants us to torch the city by shooting flaming arrows into it."
Joshua smiled and then, with the authority given to him by God, told them, "Men, the Lord has already given me HIS plan, and He has assured me of victory. Maybe one day God will use your ingenuity too but, today, we have to obey and trust in the Lord and in HIS way to conquer Jericho and NOT lean on our own plans or skills."
Then he proceeded to gather everyone and gave them the Lord's instructions. They stood in awe, listening attentively to Joshua as he commanded the armed men, the priests and the men who would serve as rear guard to get ready and march towards Jericho in silence. They all quickly fell in line and Joshua commanded, "Forward! March!"
When they reached the city, they stopped at a safe distance, out of reach of the enemies' harm. All the men were quiet as a mouse, not allowed to say anything good or bad. That was a good thing because negative words of unbelief had no chance to spread among them.
At the agreed upon signal, the priests began to sound their trumpets and the march around the city got underway. Armed men walked in front with their weapons clearly on display. Then came seven priests who sounded their trumpets heartily in unison. The priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant followed behind them. All the priests were clothed in their splendid, priestly apparel. The men serving as the rear guard marched behind them all. No one uttered a word.
The thundering sound of trumpets filled the air, echoing a warning of impending destruction, bouncing off nearby hills. The earsplitting sound pierced the hearts of the residents of Jericho. Scrambling for their weapons without delay, they shouted an alarm: "The Israelites are coming! Get ready!" Shouts could be heard throughout Jericho and after the initial shock, an eery silence fell upon them all as they watched and waited in dread for the Israelites' attack. The King of Jericho ordered the priests to double up on sacrifices to their idols, hoping their idols would protect them from the Israelites. To their surprise, no attack took take place, and when the Israelite procession completed their circle around the city, they retreated and did not come back that whole day.
The people in Jericho laughed nervously. "See, Jericho's walls are too high and too strong for them! Watch out! They may be back, but ROUND 1 is ours!"
The second day the Israelites marched around the city, the people in Jericho reasoned, "Their God is probably a NATURE god and not a FORTRESS god. The sacrifices to our idols must be working. ROUND 2 is ours too!"
The third day the Israelites marched around the city, the people in Jericho said proudly, "Maybe they only want to scare us and think we'll surrender just like that. Well, we have a surprise for them because we can wait them out! ROUND 3 to Jericho!"
The fourth day the Israelites marched around the city, the people in Jericho mocked, "These Israelites are crazy, a peculiar people! Can't they understand anything? They can do nothing against us. ROUND 4 to Jericho!"
The fifth day the Israelites marched around the city, the people in Jericho scoffed, "Maybe they are just buying time for reinforcements or even a supernatural heavenly host to arrive before they attack. Guess what, it seems nobody is coming to help them! ROUND 5 to Jericho!"
The sixth day the Israelites marched around the city, the people in Jericho confidently reasoned, "It seems our idols are mightier than their God. Our city is not the main, pagan worship center in Canaan for nothing. ROUND 6 is ours too!"
The people in Jericho believed that they won the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth rounds and were sure they would win all other rounds as well, but they were in for a rude awakening. Rahab stood alone, not agreeing with them. She heard all the lies of the foolishly, self-confidant Canaanite people, but she stood firm in her faith, knowing the God of Israel would conquer Jericho and that He would save her and her family from destruction.
The Israelites patiently obeyed God's instructions the first 6 days and again persevered on the 7th day...
...going around the 1st time, in OBEDIENCE to the Lord's commands
...going around the 2nd time, having FAITH in the power of the Lord
...going around the 3rd time, TRUSTING the Lord would be faithful to his Word
...going around the 4th time, their souls RESTING in the Lord's promises
...going around the 5th time, KNOWING the Lord was with them
...going around the 6th time, being ASSURED of victory in the Name of the Lord
...going around the 7th time, being FAITHFUL until the very last round.
"H-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-T!" At the end of the 7th round on the 7th day, the priests blew one L-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-NG trumpet sound on their ram's horns! At that instant, the soldiers of Israel raised a loud battle cry and, as quick as lightning, they ran towards the city wall, each man from where he was standing. The walls of Jericho began rumbling and shaking. Its residents became paralyzed with fear. They were thrown to the ground with the violent shaking of the ground. As the walls fell down in their place, the agile Israelite soldiers skipped over the rubble and killed every person — man, woman and child — as well as all the animals — donkeys, cattle, sheep, goats — and everything in sight.
There was only one place where the wall didn't collapse. Can you guess where that was? Yes, it was the place on the wall where Rahab's home was. Joshua ordered the two young spies who had made the promise to Rahab: "Go and fulfill your promise to Rahab, and rescue her and all her relatives. Make arrangements for them to live outside our camp at Gilgal." They did exactly as he commanded. Rahab was overjoyed that not only she, but also her entire family was saved. She determined in her heart never to serve an idol again but to serve only the Lord God of Israel from then on.
Joshua commanded all the men, "Don't take any loot! Destroy everything! Otherwise, disaster will come upon us all. Bring all the gold, silver, bronze and iron utensils to the tabernacle where they will be dedicated to the Lord and placed in his treasury. Everything of this first victory belongs to Him."
Then Joshua burned the city of Jericho with fire and declared a terrible curse upon the man who would try to rebuild it, saying that when the foundations would be laid, the builder's oldest son would die, and when the gates were set up, his youngest son would die. This curse was fulfilled centuries later in the time of the Kings of Israel.
Their supernatural victory over Jericho, in the most unusual way, made it clear to the people of Israel that the Lord was with Joshua. The report about Joshua spread to the surrounding areas and he became famous throughout the land. It was a MIRACULOUS victory for Israel. As they persevered in obedience, God made enemy walls collapse and brought glory to his Name!
Obey the Lord. Keep on obeying Him closely and He will give you victory.
1. Whom did Joshua meet when he was sizing up Jericho?
2. How many days did the Israelites have to circle Jericho?
3. How many times did they have to go around Jericho on the last day?
4. How did God reward their persistent obedience?
5. Did God honor the spies' promise to Rahab? How?
6. What kind of sinful "walls" can be in your heart?
7. Do you think God can help you break down those "walls" as well?
A VERSE TO LEARN
"But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing" (2 Thessalonians 3:13).
AN ALTERNATIVE VERSE TO LEARN
"(for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 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" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
"He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls" (Proverbs 25:28).
Just as the walls of Jericho were there to protect the city, we put up "walls" of our own to protect ourselves. Sometimes we want to protect ourselves in sinful ways. For example, we fight with each other, we're jealous, we lie, we get angry. Can you think of more sinful ways we try to protect ourselves, more "walls" we build around ourselves?
[After discussion:] God doesn't want us to protect ourselves in sinful ways. He wants us to protect ourselves by building walls of faith in Him and in what Jesus did for us on the cross, just as Rahab had faith that God would save her and her family. Her faith was rewarded because only her part of the wall did not fall in and she and all her family were saved. God also wants us to be persistently obedient to his Word so we can have strength to gain victory over all our sins.
Let's take a moment in prayer to ask the Lord to forgive us for using sinful ways to try and protect ourselves. Let's call upon the Holy Spirit to give us the power to overcome every kind of sinful way and help us to always be obedient to his Word.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You've already given
us victory through the blood of Jesus. Help us be
obedient to your Word and keep on being obedient
until our last round on earth. If there be any
"walls" of sin in us, please forgive us and give us
the power we need to break them down. We thank You
and love You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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