Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. 2 And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. 3 You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. 4 Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” 6 So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” 7 And he said to the people, “Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord.” – Joshua 6:1-7
Does God ever command something that doesn’t make sense? Many times throughout the Bible, God gives commands, that to our human reasoning, do not seem to add up. There are many stories in the Bible of people who obeyed God even though they did not understand what God had in mind.
In Joshua 6, the Bible tells the story of God’s plan for Israel to conquer Jericho. Essentially, God’s plan was for them to conquer Jericho without firing a shot. I do not think that Joshua, that great strategist and general, understood all that God had in mind when he heard God’s commands for taking Jericho.
Faith is following God’s lead and recognizing God’s ownership. Jericho was a mighty city and was shut up tighter than a drum because of Israel. No one went out and no one went in. In verse 2 it says, “And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.”
In verse 16, Joshua said unto the people, “Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.” Throughout this story, there is an emphasis placed on the fact that Jericho was not Israel’s to take, nor was it the Canaanites to give; it belonged to God. Israel did not conquer the land; God gave them the land. So faith is recognizing God’s ownership and following God’s lead.
Now is that to say that effort is wrong? Of course not. God works through the efforts of people. He gives grace to those who are obedient and take action. Is ambition wrong? Well, if we’re talking about the ambition of having a heart to fully follow all that God has in store, I’m quite certain that God has no smaller plans than any of us because God can see the beginning from the end. But neither effort nor ambition will accomplish as much as submitting to God’s leadership and recognizing His ownership.
Faith will require action of you and me, but fundamentally, faith is recognizing God’s ownership, following His lead, and trusting Him to be the power behind the day.
– Wil Rice, First Light