God Pleasing Faith, By Faith, Jericho Tumbles, Lesson 18, Hebrews 11:30
We now move into a passage in our Hebrews 11 study where we find Moses to be no longer with the children of Israel for God has taken him home.
Deut. 34:7 tells us: And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.
But even though he was of such strength his job for God as Israelís deliverer was finished.
Moses was called by God to do the most difficult job that ever has been done, for by faith he led millions through a great and terrible wilderness.
One of his first tasks was to send spies into Canaan to explore the land and give report of the forces the Israelites were to face.
Glowing reports came back to Moses of the fruitfulness of the land, this report proven by a cluster of grapes so large that it had to be carried by two men at each end of a pole.
But the majority of the spies returned downhearted for they judged with their eyes the natives of the land too powerful, described as giant like, with the Israelites as grasshoppers in comparison.
But this report came from eyes which could only see the giants, and God, because of their lack of faith punished them with 40 years of wilderness wandering, 40 years until all those above 20 years old died and were taken from the victory, with the exception of the faithful spies, Joshua and Caleb who believed God.
Moses is described in the Bible as the meekest of men and his patience while traversing the wilderness was continually tested by the murmurings, and complaints of the people.
But even though meek, his patience was tested too far and he sinned against the Lord in the matter of striking a rock twice instead of speaking to the rock as he was told by God.
We learn from this event of the precision of God and the absolute need to obey him explicitly for Moses in anger disobeyed the Lord and was therefore not permitted to enter the Promised Land and that privilege was given to his second in command, Joshua the faithful spy.
So the 40 years passed and the time to enter the Promised Land came and Moses knew that his mission was complete and God would call him home.
We read of this in:
Deut. 34:1-9, And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, 2 And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, 3 And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. 4 And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. 5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. 6 And he (God) buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. 7 And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. 8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended. 9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.
So Moses is gone from the scene but faith continues its march toward the city of God and leads to conquer a place in the Promised Land across the River Jordan.
In Hebrews 11:30 we are told, By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
By faith means believing God and doing something about it.
Joshua was now the captain of the host which had crossed the River Jordan to face the formidable walls of the city of Jericho.
But Joshua looked at those walls with eyes of faith and his eyes saw God who appeared to him in human form as the captain of the Lordís army bringing with him the plan for Joshua to take Jericho.
But before strategy could be discussed Joshua removed his shoes for the place whereon he stood was holy for Joshua, like Moses before him, was in the presence of God.
And God, like no general who ever lived provided to Joshua a strategy like none ever given before, for Joshua was told to compass the city with his forces, led by seven priests with ramís horns and the Ark of the Covenant, once each day for seven days and seven times around the city on the seventh day.
Joshua, the Lord said, after walking around the city seven times you give the signal to the priests to blow the ramís horns and the people to shout in unison and the walls of the city will fall down flat allowing the soldiers to quickly march into the city and take Jericho.
Before we move further in this study we must remember that God is giving us lessons in the physical realm that apply to us in the spiritual realm.
The children of Israel had just come through the wilderness to face entrance into a land of Promise.
But there are battles to face.
God is showing us that when we exit the wilderness of sin and are born again into the family of God we are entering our Promised Land as newborns of Christ.
As it was with Joshua battles will come and battles won when we listen and obey the Lord.
God promises no Promised Land of ease on this earth but a Promised Land of battles but where there are battles there are victories.
Joshua and his forces would have sung this song for it sounds like it was written for them:
On every hand the foe we find
Faith is the victory, we know,
Oh, how that message needs not only to be sung but to be lived!
Now one of the habits that we practice in life is when solving problems we usually solve the problem at hand and take little thought of secondary problems surrounding what we are bothered about.
With this thought it is easy to imagine if left unto themselves Joshua and his generals would have devised a strategy much more in keeping with accepted military theory.
Voices would be heard promoting a direct attack using large and powerful battering rams and catapults, while others would opt to starve the population out by simply waiting out the opposing forces.
Perhaps others would simply call for surrender and tribute money be paid demonstrated by the display of their power that surrender would be in their best interest.
But no one in a thousand years would have brought Godís plan to Joshua for he would face the ridicule and shame of all who heard such a foolish sounding plan.
But as we plainly know from Godís word, His ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts.
Keeping this in mind you can always count on God to take every last thing into consideration whenever he commands anything to be done.
For there was more to be done than just having victory over a formidable city like Jericho, there was a greater purpose and lesson to be learned and that lesson concerned faith.
So Godís solutions take into consideration all things.
From the military generalís perspective marching around the walls of Jericho for seven days and then blowing ramís horns while shouting loudly, comes across as just plain senseless but God choose this unique and strange solution in order to teach a powerful lesson in faith and the absolute need to trust His word.
God is in the faith strengthening business and left to the generals to devise victory would only bring glory to the generals but as God in Isaiah 42:8 declares boldly:
I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
God, in taking Jericho by this strange method, made it extremely clear that no one including Joshua or his generals had any hand in this victory.
Only God alone received the glory for only God alone brought victory.
We in our natural state, our sinful state, have long arms reaching around in order to pat ourselves on our back for victory in our lives when God alone should be getting the glory.
With this victory at Jericho there was no one with long enough arms to do so for all glory went to God who by this strange method won the day for Israel.
God says the first shall be last and the last shall be first.
He says to humble yourself and he will lift you up.
Paul concluded that when he said ďWhen I am weak then I am strong.Ē
All of these truths are given by God that we might realize that because of God alone victory comes.
And Godís victories always come because of faith, for faith confesses our weakness and faith always acknowledges Godís strength thereby God only receives the glory.
Again by this example of faith exercised in the fall of Jericho we learn that genuine faith always results in obedience.
God told Moses to bring Israel to a place of exit from Egypt blocked by the Red Sea.
From a rational standpoint this would bring certain death.
And then saved from this death by Godís hand Moses was told to take his millions into the desert wilderness, another place where the bones of many were bleached by the sun.
Moses, by faith, obeyed and now Joshua is told to circle a city once per day for six days and then seven times on the seventh.
If this crowd is like any we know the murmuring and complaining spoke volumes of faithlessness.
But they obeyed anyway and God gave the victory.
Obedience to Godís word is key but obedience to Godís word means we must know Godís word.
I have never heard the audible voice of God as had Moses and Joshua.
They listened and God specifically told them what to do and they did it.
We do not live in their economy today but in many ways we live in a better economy for God has given us his Son to listen to and His Son is a written Son revealed to us in the Bible.
The Apostle Paul wrote of this in:
Hebrews 1:2 for God, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
People wish to hear the audible voice of God and if that happened they surely would obey him they say, but what about the multitude of Godís word that he has given to them?
We covet the blessings of God but we do not obey the word of God that is plainly given.
This is faithless living.
I remember the story Dr. Hobbs told about a praise he received from a man who told him what a great job he was doing for the community and that if he had a million dollars he would give the ministry half of that.
Dr. Hobbs quickly said to him, Well letís see what you have in your wallet?
A few uhs and oumps were heard as the man cowardly creeped away.
This is the same as someone who is waiting for an audible voice from God to be told what to do while they have a wallet full of Godís word in the very book that can be found in most every place in the world.
What are you doing about that which you have?
Same thing applies with gifts that God has given you!
We wish for all kinds of gifts in order to give back to God but what are you doing with the gifts God has given?
And what are you doing about all the things God expects you to obey in his word?
For faith is that which moves us to obey every command of God, never picking and choosing that which suits us.
Joshua assembled his forces while knowing the commands of God.
There is nothing given is scripture whereby his forces knew the outcome of this strategy.
For each day was to be a demonstration of their faith, a faith that was founded upon Godís word which many times requires the faithful to wait upon God who in time will reveal his will.
Joshua led them around the city the first day, the second day, the third day and each day all the marchers could hear the dwellers of Jericho jeering and taunting and scoffing them from the high walls as they traversed the path around.
I can hear many of the marchers saying under their breath, Let me at emí, Iíll stop emí.
But faith moved them to wait on Godís timing.
God would have his way and God will receive the glory.
Again we see that Godís ways are not our ways.
We desire quick results but faith always has in it a time of waiting on God for God has many things to accomplish and all that he wishes to accomplish is for our good.
We want to walk around the city once and yell and carry on so the walls come tumbling down right away.
But waiting is an ingredient in Godís recipe of faith.
Waiting is against our nature but we are to wait expectantly for we know that God will answer.
Psalm 46:10, Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalm 62:5, My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.
Psalm 37:7, Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Psalm 130:5,6, I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. 6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
Genuine faith, has in its curriculum, a unit on waiting on God expectantly, and must be passed in order to move to the next faith unit.
God is sovereign and we are but subjects and as subjects he desires that we wait expectantly knowing that He will act in His own good time.
Joshua and his forces walked and waited and eventually walls came tumbling down, not by their hand or by their voices but by the hand and voice of God.