For the third time within four verses, God says to Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua knew what was up ahead. He’d seen the giants, knew about the land’s inhabitants, and realized what was at stake. He was bringing a rag-tag crew of desert wanderers into a situation that was no match for them. He must have thought about how and when and with what and all the possibilites in this humanly impossible scenario. How in the world……?
His only hope was to cling to these words from God and acknowledge His presence. For as many times as He says, “Be strong and courageous,” God also says, “I will be with you.” (see v. 5 as well) The strength and courage doesn’t have to come from within ourselves, because God is with us. Phil. 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ, because He gives me strength.” Joshua succeeded because he walked in God’s strength, not in his own.
The walls of Jericho didn’t fall down because of Joshua’s or the Israelites’ strength. They did what God told them to do – they walked, they blew horns, they gave a shout. all according to God’s instructions. Joshua 6:16 “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!” It may have seemed like a strange way to conquer a city, but God’s ways are not ours. He chooses to use our obedience and praise to accomplish His will.
For 6 days, the people walked in silence while the priests sounded the trumpets. As I read “while the trumpets kept sounding,” I wondered, what music did they play? Was it an inspiring march, or annoying blasts, or plaintive, eerie sounds? Or was it worshipful music, full of praise to the Lord for bringing them this far?
What “Jericho” is God asking you to walk around, and around, and around? Are you walking in obedience, patience, persistence, all the while listening to “the trumpets sounding” ? We probably all have walls that keep us from our promised lands, walls that seem impossible to penetrate on our own. What I’m going to take with me from these verses is the courage to keep walking, to keep praying and to keep on praising. Don’t be terrified; don’t be discouraged. Joshua 6:21 says, “They devoted the city to the Lord.” It’s His battle. He is with us wherever we go, and if we fight it His way, the victory is ours!