After spending the past forty years wondering in the wilderness the Israelites finally crossed over the Jordan River, into the land God promised them; a land flowing with milk and honey! Though this land was indeed prosperous, it was filled with “problems.” The first “problem” was Jericho. Jericho was a city surrounded by a huge wall, impossible to penetrate.
Joshua was called by God to take His people, the Israelites, into the Promised Land. God told Joshua they needed to defeat the nations that were in the land so they could live there in peace. Jericho was the first city they were to completely destroy.
Joshua faced a huge “problem”!
Joshua was a mighty warrior and was familiar with fighting Israel’s enemies. He fought battles and experienced God’s miraculous victories.
Joshua was also one of the ten spies Moses sent to check out the Promised Land. He was one of the two that brought a good report, confident that with God’s help they could defeat their enemies.
Now, facing this “problem,” Joshua’s faith was put to the test.
Have you ever spoken out confidently about the power of God and then find yourself facing the very situation that requires you to put your faith into action?
God never leaves us on our own; to fight our own battles, and to solve our own “problems.” When our faith and confidence is in Him we find He is there to show us the “possibility” within the “problem.”
“When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?” “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the Lord’s army.”At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?” The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told.” Joshua 5:13-15
To see “problems” as “possibilities” requires humility.
In the presence of the commander of the Lord’s army, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. He realized he was in the presence of someone much greater than himself. He realized he had no idea what he should do in light of the wisdom and knowledge of the one who stood in front of him. He humbled himself and asked the commander what he should do. The commander’s reply was the same command God gave to Moses; “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.”
And Joshua’s next words are what I believe makes the difference to whether we see our situations as “problems” or as “possibilities,”
“And Joshua did as he was told.”
God is ready and willing to tell us what to do.
God has the answer to everything we face, if we are willing to bow before Him in humility, to take off our shoes – our striving, ideas, and plans – and to be willing to listen to His advice and carry it out no matter what.
Joshua didn’t try to come up with a plan.
Joshua didn’t go to his men and ask for advice.
Joshua held to God’s promise…
“See! I have given Jericho into your hand!”
Joshua chose to see this “problem” as a “possibility” that only God could make into a reality.
Joshua obeyed God’s plan!
“But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors. You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days. Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town.” Joshua 6:2-5
This was a battle plan never seen before, nor since!
When I take my “problem” to God I find His plans for a “possibility” don’t make sense. They seem foolish; opposite from the ways I feel, different than I would respond.
Then the battle begins in my mind!
Two opposing thoughts, two opposing views begin to war against each other.
I consider my “problem” in light of my experiences and what I have heard others say.
But the words from God contradict all of those.
I find myself trying to understand God’s ways and convince myself that what He is asking me to do really is the right thing.
God gives me a different plan.
God tells me to walk a different way.
Which will I choose?
This is when I need to see my “problem” through the grid of the truth in Philippians 4:4-7 so that it becomes a “possibility.”
The battle plan God gave Joshua lines up with these verses…
Seven priests were sent out first; “rejoicing” as they blew the ram’s horns.
Then the fighting men followed the seven priests. Marching, not fighting… “Let your gentleness be known to all men.”
Then came the Ark of the covenant, representing God’s presence, carried by the priests… “The Lord is at hand.”
Then came the rear guard… “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Then all the Israelites were to walk silently; without saying a word… “Be anxious for nothing.”
I’ve often wondered why God told them to keep silent, to not say a word? I don’t know for sure, but I know that when I’m facing a “problem” I want to talk about it, complain about it to others, and justify why I’m having a bad day. There is something about whining and complaining that I am drawn to. I’m no different than the Israelites while they were wondering in the wilderness for forty years. But, that alone should be a lesson for me. That’s what kept them there. Now in the Promised Land it seems as though God is showing them there is a better way.
Perhaps talking doesn’t allow us to hear God’s voice.
Perhaps talking decreases faith.
Perhaps silence makes way for God’s “possibilities.”
Perhaps silence allows me the opportunity listen to God’s voice alone.
Perhaps silence is where faith increases.
“It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.” Hebrews 11:30
Silence can be powerful!
Silence brings an atmosphere of confidence.
Rejoicing, faith, and silence diffuses the enemy’s strategy against us.