Conquering our Walls. (Note: This is from a sermon that I preached, so it’s more preachy and less bloggy. :))

I love the story of Joshua and the Battle of Jericho because it gives us great insight into tackling walls in our own lives.  Many of us are walled in by fear, addiction, drama, hopelessness, and though you try to get to the other side, you can’t seem to climb much less conquer what’s in front of you.  You’ve tried everything, yet the wall is just as tall, just as immoveable, and your strength and faith seem to die with every day that passes.   Joshua 6 gives us some remedies into how we can get to the other side of whatever is boxing us in.  First, Joshua had to hear God’s plan.  The most important thing that we will ever do is to learn to hear His Still, Small Voice.  And there are many ways to do that.  God can speak through radio, television, other people, His Word.  Honestly, I hear God most when a piece of a passage comes to mind or I am reading the Scripture and suddenly a verse seems to just pierce my heart.  I will begin studying that Scripture, and God will show me layers of insight.  Also, I have learned to take peace very seriously.  Colossians 3:15 says to let the peace of God rule (Greek:  umpire) in your heart.  When I feel a twinge on the inside that seems to be urging me to move ahead or step back, I try to take that “unction” seriously if the action lines up with God’s Word.  The more we steward what God says to us, the more we will hear the game plan for whipping the wall  (Mark 4:24).  

Secondly, in order to beat the wall, the Israelites had to obey the plan of God; the only problem is that God’s strategy seemed to be a stretch . . .big-time.  I mean, REALLY!  Show up in enemy territory and silently march around?  Who does that?  Normally, we think of bursting on the scene, weapons brandished, voices raised in a battlecry . . .not taking a lap around a wall and then heading home.  That’s why it is so important that we get God’s strategy because HIs ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9).  His plans include walking on water, strolling through a fiery furnace unscathed, and spitting in the mud to heal the blind.  None of those things make any sense in the natural, but apparently they work in the spiritual.  At this point, the Israelis were entering into a new chapter with God, and the spiritual groundwork needed to be laid.   The people had to learn to walk in God’s Presence (the Ark accompanied them on their laps), obey His command, and attribute the victory to God’s Spirit, not their brute force.  (Zechariah 4:6).  Note:  This was the only time that the Israelites used this particular battle strategy.  We want to run with a formula and leave God behind, but God doesn’t work though man’s blueprint.  Each battle that we face will be different as will the game plan.  That’s why, again, it is so important that we hear God’s Still Small Voice to navigate the next bend

The third thing to note in the story of Joshua and the Wall is that the people were not to talk for the first six days as they marched around the city.  Why?  We all know that the drama queens/kings would complain from the first to the last step. Achy feet, sweaty brow, chafing limbs . . .no complaint would go unvoiced.  Oh, they might hold out for a day or two.  But by day three of monotonous walking, surely someone would have an opinion to share with the group.  The whine fest would spread, and Joshua could have had a coup on his hands.  For this reason, I believe God stopped the wagging of tongues, allowing no vent for a bitter diatribe.  In that death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21), sometimes it’s better to just say nothing.  As we face our own walls, it is vital that we speak God’s Word more than our own.  I’ve heard it said that faith is what you say after the BUT.  If you are battling sickness, you may say, “My body is not feeling well today, BUT Christ already paid for my healing, so it is on its way.”   Or, “ I am facing this wall of fear, BUT it will fall in Jesus’ Name.”  Venting is fine, but I want to learn to vent as David did in the Psalms—pour it all out, and then turn it back to praise.  

Fourthly, to conquer the walls that loomed ahead of them, the Israelites could not be dissuaded by the taunts of the enemies.  I’m sure that God’s people felt like easy targets for the cruel comments of the naysayers.  Maybe the enemies hurled objects as well as criticism.  Maybe the Israelis felt defenseless as they remained silent.  But they kept going.  Day after day.  After day.  As we face whatever towers in front of us, we will no doubt encounter voices on the inside and the outside.  Often, the people around you don’t want you to succeed because then their failures are highlighted.  Misery loves company.  If you are determined to face the walls in front of you, you will have to leave some people behind.  Unfortunately, it’s not easy to leave the voices in our head in the dust.  Our insecurities, fears, doubts, failures mock us moment by moment, and satan loves to add his digs to the mix.   We must turn a deaf ear to anyone and anything but the Voice of Truth.  God’s Word must be on our tongues, before our eyes, and in our ears constantly if we want to whip the wall.

At last, the day came.  The final laps would be taken, and then the people would shout. The people had heard, obeyed, withstood, marched, and the victory was within reach.  Joshua’s command to raise their voices sliced through the silence, and the people erupted in  a battle cry.  The walls fell flat, and the people pursued the enemies.  Notice that the people shouted in faith before they saw the victory, and we must do the same.  After we have heard the plan, obeyed the order, tamed our tongue, withstood the doubts,  resisted impatience, ignored taunts of the enemy, we keep shouting until the walls fall.  Psalm 47:1 says O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.  The temptation is to wait to worship until the walls in our lives crumble, but, nope, that’s not faith.  Faith worships when the walls hover in front of us.  Faith lifts hands in surrender when we are tired of marching.  Faith shouts God’s truth louder than our own doubts.  We don’t know when the walls will fall, but we trust that they will, and we respond accordingly.

Friend, I don’t know what you are facing today, but I pray that you conquer every wall in your life.  You are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37), so those walls don’t stand a chance!  😉

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