Joshua 6:16 – And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city!
You would be hard pressed today to find someone who has not heard of the battle of Jericho. Songs and movies have been made about this great victory; but just in case you are one of the few who have not heard, I will give you an abbreviated account.
The children of Israel had arrived at the Jordan. It was time to go across into the land of Canaan to take possession of their promised land, their inheritance. Joshua sent two spies to check out the land, and while they were doing reconnaissance they met Rahab. She hides the spies, lies to her countrymen, then makes a deal for her life and the lives of her family members (chapter 2).
Then the children of Israel arrives at the Jordan and again God parts the waters as He did with the Red Sea. Do you think the people of Canaan was oblivious to this parting of the river? I don’t think so! I think this only heightened their fear of Joshua and the children of Israel. Sometimes when we are in a battle, all we see is the obvious; but we have to realize that God is strategically handle the situation on our behalf. The Canaanites were already afraid of the God who parted the Red Sea and now He is parting the Jordan! This was no coincidence!
After they cross over the Jordan, the manna ceased. The interesting thing to note about the manna is that God had miraculously supplied manna for them while in the wilderness, but in the promised land, provision was waiting and they had no more need of manna. Some say they no longer needed a miracle so it stopped! I think that the possessing of the land was quite miraculous and the miracles didn’t stop, they took on another form!
The city of Jericho was on lockdown! There was no natural way to get inside the city without assistance. Archaeologists have proven that the city was surrounded by two walls and that houses were built in the walls. They also discovered that the Canaanites could have lasted for years under siege because they had a great water supply and had stored up many provisions. This was probably known to the spies and told to Joshua, Joshua didn’t know how he was going to win this battle, he just knew that he would!
God gave Joshua some unusual instructions for attacking Jericho! Joshua was told that they were to march around the city once for six days. When they marched, the procession was to be led by the men of war, followed by seven priests playing seven trumpets in front of the ark (continuously), and behind the ark bearing priests there were to be more men of war. Not a sound was to be made otherwise! Then they returned to the camp. I can just imagine the look on the faces of the people of Canaan. They had to be wondering what in the world were the children of Israel doing? What kind of battle strategy was this? Why do they keep blowing that horn? And the sounds of the feet marching was probably magnified to them inciting fear beyond reason! What were they waiting for? What did they hope to accomplish with all of this marching? Simple instructions and frightening at the same time.
However, on the seventh day the instructions changed. They were to march around the city seven times and when they heard the sound of the trumpet, all the people were to shout with a great shout, then the walls would fall flat! Can I just stop here to say that I wonder what Joshua was feeling at these instructions? Joshua, a mighty warrior, who have fought several battles with the Lord, is being told that his strategy for his first major war as leader of Israel is to march around the city?! Whatever he was feeling, he obeyed God! That’s a lesson all by itself!
I remember reading a testimony of a person who was told by God to hit someone with a banana and they would be healed. Of course, the person thought that this was pretty ridiculous and couldn’t possibly be from God. Later that day, I think he was at a conference, the speaker said something like, “If God tells you to get a banana and hit someone with it, you need to obey God!” He instantly knew he was being rebuked, but moved to obey God and saw a miracle! Joshua needed no such confirmation! He trusted that this strategy would get the job done! There is no record of a discourse like Moses had with God at the burning bush when he said he couldn’t speak! No, Joshua simply obeyed God and the walls came tumbling down!
Battles are tough! But they don’t always have to be. One word from God can turn your entire situation around. That’s why I love reading about the battles in the Old Testament. They help me to understand that God’s instructions are as unique as the situations. He is no cookie cutter God and what He told Bertha to do to win her battle, may not be what He tells you! Some battles are won with much fasting and prayer! Some are won with speaking the word! But some are won with a shout! Joshua understood that his sure victory was in hearing from God! And that’s the lesson I take from this battle! If you are facing a battle or in the midst of a battle, your victory will depend on your battle plan! Make sure it’s the one the Lord is backing! Shout,for He has given you the city! Wonderful Jesus!