Israel has finally crossed the Jordan. They have prepared themselves spiritually and up to this point have followed God's orders to the letter. Now, they are ready to begin the conquest of the Promised Land. They are ready to claim for themselves the land that flowed with milk and honey. However, like most things in life that are worth having, it wouldn't come cheap! For Israel, Jericho would be a benchmark. It was at Jericho that they would flex their muscles and experience military victory and conquest. Now, just for a moment, try to put yourself into the shoes of the average Israelite soldier. For most of these men, Jericho was the first city they had ever seen that was surrounded by huge walls. It must have looked like and absolute impossibility to many. However, they listened to the instructions they were given by the Lord and they saw those massive walls fall down flat. This evening, you may be wondering why we are studying events that took place so long ago and so far away. What does all of this have to do with our lives tonight? How does all of this apply to my life as a believer in 2003? We are living in days of battle and spiritual struggle. We need to know how to fight. We need to know that our God is able to give the victory. We need to know how to follow Him to that victory. Our study of Joshua teaches us those valuable lessons! Just as Israel faced the mighty walls of Jericho, you and I face walls and obstacles in our lives as well. We need to know how to over come them as we march towards the victory.
I. Israel Had A Problem v1
A. Jericho is known as the oldest city in the world.
1. In Joshua's day, it was surrounded by a system of two massive stone walls.
2. The outer wall was 6 ft. thick and about 20 ft. high.
3. The inner wall was about 12 ft. thick and was 30 ft. high.
4. Between the walls was a guarded walkway about 15 ft. wide.
5. Israel's problem was that they had a city to conquer, but there were some extremely huge walls in the way.
B. As we go through life, we have obstacles that we face as well.
1. Perhaps it is a lost loved one we would like to see the Lord touch and save.
2. A lost community over which we are burdened.
3. A ministry from the Lord that we feel inadequate about.
4. Family trouble that tears at our hearts and leaves us wondering what to do.
5. Financial trouble that stresses us to the limits of our patience and faith.
6. A struggle with a particular sin that constantly crops us in our life.
7. Or it could be any number of a million other things!
C. We must learn not to look upon our obstacles as dead-ends, but as opportunities for the Lord to work in our lives!
1. The Apostle Paul had such an obstacle.
2Co 12:7-10 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
2. This attitude is foreign to us this evening.
3. Yet, we must come to realize that the power of God is best revealed in and through us when we are unable to handle life.
4. God is more clearly visible when we are totally out of the picture!
5. In a sense, that is what He did with Israel here.
6. As we will see, He completely removed them from the equation!
7. The victory at Jericho was all God!
II. Israel Had A Promise v2
A. As Joshua and all the men of war stood looking at those walls around that great city, God had a word of comfort for their hearts!
1. Here, God promises Israel the victory before they ever attack Jericho!
2. He lets them know about the conclusion before they ever enter into their battle!
B. As we face our obstacles, whatever they may be we can do so with confidence, because we have the Lord's promises as banners to march under:
1. We Have His Promise That Our Weapons Are Powerful Through God
2Co 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
2. We Have His Promise That Our Battles Have All Been Arranged By The Lord.
Ro 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
3. We Have His Promise That Our Ability Is Limited Only By Our Faith
Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
4. We Have His Promise Of Power In The Day Of Battle
Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
5. We Have His Promise Of Ongoing Victory
1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
6. We Have His Promise That We Will Never Fight Alone.
Heb 13:5b "… for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
C. As we face the walled cities in our lives, we need to learn to believe the Lord, to take Him at His Word and trust Him for our victories!
Ro 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
2Co 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
1. Jesus did not save us for us to be defeated!
2. He saved us for the victory and He will be there all the way to help us secure it for His glory!
3. Will there be trials? Yes, but there will also be victory.
III. Israel Had A Partner v3-5
A. Israel's partner was none other than God Himself!
1. He was in absolute control of the battle, He was leading them, and He was the guarantee of their victory!
2. Remember the visit Joshua had with the Captain of the Lord's Host?
3. He told Joshua that He did not come to take sides, He came to take over!
B. As we face the obstacles of our lives…
1. It is a blessing to know that we do not have to face them alone…
2. Or in our own strength.
3. No obstacle is insurmountable as long as we face it in the Lord!
IV. Israel Prevailed v.6-21
A. The context.
1. Israel marched around the city in obedience to the Lord and they prevailed!
2. Can you imagine how the people in Jericho must have reacted?
3. They saw the armies of Israel approaching their city and they probably thought that they were about to be invaded by the enemy.
4. Then, just as Israel came near the city, they turned and began to march around the walls.
5. I can see those inside Jericho as they ran to see where the Israelites would mount their attack.
6. But instead of attacking, the soldiers, and the priests merely marched around the city one time.
7. All that was heard was the sound of the ram's horn trumpets and the pounding of the soldier's feet upon the ground.
8. This was repeated for 6 days, and by this time, the people in Jericho were no doubt mocking and jeering the Israelites.
9. Then on the seventh day, they compassed the city seven times.
10. When they had finished that seventh lap, the priests gave a long blast on the trumpets and the people of Israel shouted with a great shout!
11. It wasn't the shout of an attacking army, it wasn't a shout of fear, but it was a shout raised in praise to their God Who had promised them the victory.
12. When the people shouted, the walls fell down flat and Israel ran into the city and utterly destroyed it.
13. Theirs was a great victory!
B. There are some reasons why Israel experienced victory at Jericho:
1. They had a Word from God - (v.2-6)
2. They believed God - (v.8-20)
3. They acted in faith
4. They did it God's way
a. This is the secret to success!
b. His way may seem too hard, too slow, or as in this case too foolish, but His way is always the best way!
5. God gave them the victory - (v.20-21)
D. We can also have a great victory!
1. We can prevail in whatever situation we are facing right now!
2. Learn the lesson from Israel, God has promised us the victory.
1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Jo 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
What kind of walled city are we facing right now? Does it seem that victory is absolutely impossible? We need only to take a lesson from Israel and start handling our Jericho's God's way. Will you come this evening with whatever your need is? Will you bring it to Jesus right now! He is still a miracle working God! Greater than any obstacle, able to move any mountain, stronger than any barrier we might face today.