Hitting the Wall

” . . .the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city.” Joshua 6:20b

Have you ever hit a wall in your life? A better question might be how many walls have you hit? How many obstacles have you had to face? Lots of things could be walls for us: a broken home is a wall. Religion, with its rules and legalism is a wall and can hinder us from experiencing a real relationship with God. We can hit financial walls, rebellious teenager walls, hateful co-worker walls, broken down car walls and more.

Walls appear in our lives when obedience and faith are not optional. They help us define our lives. How we respond to the walls we face reveals our degree of faith. Our degree of faith in God will determine our ability to knock down walls.

The walls here are not walls we can walk around or climb over. They appear as Grand Canyon walls that ascend straight up and miles long. Hundreds of feet in the air. Flat. Slick. We must face them and knock them down to conquer them.

When the Israelites marched around the wall of Jericho every brick fell, every home collapsed, except at Rahab’s house. We read the culmination of Rahab’s faith and obedience in Hebrews 11:30-31. “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the Harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.”

How many times do you think Rahab checked that scarlet rope hanging from her window? She probably made sure all the knots were secure and even tied more knots. But because Rahab was faithful and obedient to do what the spies told her to do, she and her family was spared. She saw past the obstacle to the blessing she received for her obedience. How loud and long to you think Rahab sang and shouted when the Israelites came to rescue her and her family for her faith and obedience? What I love about Rahab’s story is that God continued to bless Rahab. She and her family left with the Jews after Jericho’s walls fell and Rahab eventually found herself in the lineage of Jesus.

Sometimes God uses the most unusual instructions to accomplish His purposes. Who would have thought that God would choose a prostitute to aid His people in Jericho’s conquest? Who would have thought it reasonable to destroy a city by walking around it seven times? But Joshua instructed the people and they simply obeyed. They did not ask questions. They did not grumble, in fact, they marched around Jericho in peace and in silence.

But their biggest challenge was not the walls of Jericho. Their biggest challenge was their faith. We all have our Jerichos. As we look at the insurmountable walls in our lives we will find our instructions from God. We will discover how to live our lives. And the choices we make standing and staring at our walls will determine the direction of our lives.

As Joshua was standing at the Jericho walls pondering the impending battle, at that critical moment, for Joshua and for the Jews, Jesus showed up. When Joshua spoke to him he asked, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” Jesus answered, “No. Rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.” 5:14. To help us put this moment in perspective it helps to know what a host is. In Revelation 5:11 John describes a host. “. . .and the number of them was myriads of myriads and thousand of thousands. In other words, Jesus came to conquer Jericho with a whole bunch of help from his angels. All Joshua and his people had to do was follow God’s instructions in obedience. Jesus and His host of angels would do the rest.

That goes for us as well when we face a wall that appears insurmountable, if we live by faith, at just the right time, Jesus shows up. When Jesus appears, or speaks to us through the Holy Spirit all we need to do is follow the Lord as He reveals Himself.

In verse 6:2 Jesus tells Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hands, with its king and the valiant warriors.” Faith says that, even though Jericho’s seemingly insurmountable walls loom ahead of them. Jericho’s walls are shut up. Jericho is closed for business. The challenge is still there. But Jesus says, “Look, it’s a done deal. Jericho belongs to you!” Jesus is urging Joshua and his people to look past the obstacle to the blessing they will receive for their faith and obedience. Their faith, not Jericho, is still the wall they are facing.

Jesus gives them four instructions to follow to take Jericho. He instructed them to march in silence v6:10. Sometimes it’s in our quietness and our stillness that God speaks to us most clearly. He instructs them to be patient and wait upon the Lord. That’s why Jesus instructed them to march for seven days, the number of completion, so they would completely trust that Jesus and His host would destroy the wall. Jesus instructed them to believe by faith that Jesus is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do. If we act in faith, and trust God to show up, how can we fail? We will witness the walls of our lives cave in before us. That’s why He gave them these instructions.

If we always act in obedience to his commands we will experience what others miss altogether. Then we can watch God fulfill what he says He will do.

Are you facing a wall in your life now? Do you see it as an insurmountable obstacle? Does it appear that it will always be blocking your way? Or are you waiting for God to show up just at the right moment to knock down your walls? The answer to those questions hinge entirely on your degree of faith.