“See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. . . . 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.” —Joshua 6:2–3, 5
“But the people of Israel broke faith . . .” (Joshua 7:1). Those are the first words of the first chapter after the fall of Jericho.
God had just knocked down the city walls to give them the victory. And before the dust settled, they had given up on him. They had lost faith. They had watched a fortress fall, an army quiver, and a kingdom crumble. God gave them the triumph, almost without a fight. They barely had to lift a finger; they simply raised their voices.
And then they rejected God’s voice. Having watched him conquer their fears, they did the one thing he told them not to do. God’s messenger said, “Keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction” (Joshua 6:18). Do not horde or indulge in the idols of Jericho, but destroy them so that they do not steal your heart away from God.
“But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things.”
The Wall Before Them
The temptations were already there for some as they walked silently around Jericho for six days. You can imagine them thinking, Why doesn’t he just knock the walls down now? God had told them how their victory would happen, but seven days probably began to feel like seven years while they walked and waited, walked and waited.
If you’ve walked with Jesus for long, you’ve likely felt what some of them were feeling: a hope in God’s promises mixed with rising impatience about his timing; an awareness of God’s bigness and wisdom, but a lingering suspicion that you know better than he does; a genuine faith that he would come through in the end, but with persistent questions about how he would do it.
What God Said to Them
But God had said, “On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. . . . 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” (Joshua 6:4–5).
Before that, he said, “Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you. . . . No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. . . . I will not leave you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:2–3, 5).
And God had not failed them yet, so they walked and waited, walked and waited. They circled Jericho once a day for six days, wondering how God would bring down those walls.
God’s Word Did Not Fail
On the seventh day, just as he said he would, God turned their waiting into prevailing. They marched around the same walls seven times that day. And just as they were told, “the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown . . . and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city . . . and they captured the city” (Joshua 6:20).
It happened exactly like God said it would, and yet it must have surprised many of them. This generation had not seen the plagues in Egypt, or watched Moses split the Red Sea, or witnessed God wipe out Pharaoh’s army. They had walked across the Jordan on dry ground, and they had won battles of their own, but not like this. They had not watched fortified walls fall at the sound of their voice. God tore down the defenses, overwhelmed their enemies, and gave them the city.
What God Says to You
What walls do you want to see come down? It might be a difficult or broken relationship with a family member or friend. It might be your battle against a besetting sin. It might be massive barriers in ministry.
You have walked and waited and prayed, and yet the walls before you stand tall and strong above you, tempting you to feel small and forgotten. But what has God said to you? “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31–32). Your battle has been won. Your God will never leave you. One day, he will give you everything — and everything else will pale compared to having him. And every wall you ever faced will seem small.
“But the people of Israel broke faith . . .” It’s a severe warning. While we wait for God to knock down every last wall, we will be tempted to set our hearts on other things. Never forget that he did not spare his Son for you. Never forget that he has promised you all things forever. Never forget the mountains he has already moved for you — and believe he will do it again.
Marshall Segal (@marshallsegal) is a writer and managing editor at desiringGod.org. He’s the author of Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness & Dating. He graduated from Bethlehem College & Seminary. He and his wife, Faye, have a son and live in Minneapolis.
A version of this article previously appeared on the Desiring God website under the headline, “Do It Again, God”
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