Walls 

Joshua 6:3
“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.”

As Joshua stood overlooking Jericho, wondering how to defeat such a mighty foe, I am sure none of his plans included marching his soldiers around the walls while playing music and eventually shouting at the top of their lungs. I imagine he used his extensive battle experience to carefully discern the weaknesses in Jericho’s wall, while studying the lay out of the land to see where the high points were, or how they might build a siege mound against the city. The pragmatic mind of a seasoned soldier would have a lot to say about how to conquer a well-defended city, but in this case, God had an entirely different approach in mind. If victory was to come, Joshua and all Israel, for that matter, had to understand that the ways of God are different than the ways of man.

Have you realized that? Have you come to grips with the reality that God often does things in surprisingly different ways than we do? The reasons for this are manifold, but include the fact that God always does things in a way that He receives the Glory, and we learn that He is trustworthy.

Paul put it this way,

“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.”  1 Corinthians 1:27-29

When the walls of Jericho lay flattened and the enemies of Israel defeated, the people would be forced to look up to God and celebrate His faithfulness, rather than to boast in their own strength or ingenuity. God desires to do the same thing in our lives. He wants to accomplish His will His way, so that when it is accomplished, He is glorified and we are able to trust Him for whatever obstacles are ahead.

God will not always do things the way we think He should, but He will always be faithful, and if we walk in obedience we will always find the victory He intends for us.

Pastor Jim

 

Breakdown 

Galatians 2:18
“For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.”

Many different metaphors are used in the Bible to describe what happens when a person receives Jesus Christ. We are born again, adopted, redeemed, forgiven, made alive, and much more. Each of these is designed to reveal different aspects of salvation. Being born again speaks of our new lease on life, being forgiven asserts that nothing from our past will ever be held against us, and being made alive points out the fact that salvation is a supernatural work of God, which cannot take place without the Holy Spirit.

There is another very important aspect of Salvation that Paul alludes to in this verse. When we believe in Christ, we are set free from the sin that once held us captive. Like Israel, under the Egyptian yoke, we were held captive by sin until Christ set us free. What our resolve could never accomplish, Christ did through the cross. The moment we believed, there was a freeing from many of the sins that gripped and held us captive. Paul now warns of the danger of becoming bound again to the very sins we escaped.

Galatians 2:18 “For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.”

One of the great mistakes many Christians make, is to think they can outgrow the temptation of sin. We only need to scan the pages of Scripture to find that great, godly, and mature men, fell into sin when they built again that which had been destroyed. Let’s be careful not to open doors in our lives that should be closed up tight, or to walk down paths that will cause us to fall.

Pastor Jim

 

Victory

Joshua 5:14
“So He said, ‘No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?’”

Jericho is one of the greatest military victories of all time. A group of relatively untempered wanderers, enters into a new land, defeats the most secure city in the area with loud shouts and ram’s horns. Never, in the history of warfare, have their tactics been repeated. No training camps have ever been set up, teaching soldiers how to play musical instruments, and expose themselves to their enemies day after day. That being said, there are spiritual principles that led to Israel’s success. These same principles will lead us to success in our walk with the Lord, and service for His Kingdom. Back in chapter five, three things guaranteed their victory.

First, upon entering the land, God required the men to be circumcised (Joshua 5:2). Circumcision is an operation on a very sensitive part of the body, with the purpose of removing the flesh. Circumcision was considered to be the sign of Israel’s covenant with the Lord. In the New Testament, the word ‘flesh’ is used to speak of our sinful desires. Before any real victory can be accomplished for the Lord, we must allow Him to cut away the flesh. Those things in our lives that are not pleasing to the Lord must go if we are going to live in victory.

Second, once they healed from their operation, they celebrated the Passover (Joshua 5:10). It was a reminder of God’s deliverance from Epypt, and points forward to the work of Christ on the cross. While celebrating, God stopped the manna that He had provided for the past forty years (5:12). Though I am sure the people had grown quite tired of manna, they had also grown accustomed to it. Every day they went outside their tents and their provision was there for the taking. Now, as they are about to embark on a military campaign, God stops their food source. Simply put, in order to be victorious they must learn to rely upon the Lord.

Finally, the wounds from the operation have healed, the manna ceased, Joshua begins to survey Jericho. As he stands back, observing the city, trying to determine the best approach, he encounters a Man with a sword drawn (Joshua 5:13). It is obvious from the text, this is more than a man; it is in fact, the Angel of the Lord, or Christ Himself. Joshua approaches, and asks the question all of us might have asked, “are you for us or against us.” The Lord’s answer is quite striking. He declares “No!” Jesus is making it clear, He is not there to help make Joshua a better Joshua, He is there to be Master and Commander. The secret to success in our walk with the Lord, comes down to allowing Jesus to have His rightful place as King of our lives. As long as we are fighting with Him for control or authority, we will find our Christian life frustrating and unsuccessful. It is high time we surrender all.

Pastor Jim