Go Around Again

Background Story: The Israelites were delivered from Egypt under the leadership of Moses. When they arrived at the promise land, they got afraid of the obstacles before them and doubted God. Because of this, God told them they had to wait to enter the land. After Moses’ death, Joshua becomes the leader and is now given the ok to lead the Israelites into the land God promised. The next stop is a city with huge walls called Jericho.

Read Joshua 6

Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”

So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” And he ordered the army, “Advance! March around the city, with an armed guard going ahead of the ark of the Lord.”

When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the Lord went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the Lord’s covenant followed them. The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 10 But Joshua had commanded the army, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” 11 So he had the ark of the Lord carried around the city, circling it once. Then the army returned to camp and spent the night there.

12 Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the Lord and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets kept sounding. 14 So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.

15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! 17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.”

20 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. 21 They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.

22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her.” 23 So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.

24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.

26 At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: “Cursed before the Lord is the one who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho:

“At the cost of his firstborn son
    he will lay its foundations;
at the cost of his youngest
    he will set up its gates.”

27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.

Big Idea: If we don’t get it the first time, God will often have us repeat the same lesson again.

Joshua and his army of Israel are standing in front of the giant walls of Jericho. God gives them specific instructions to march around the walls of Jericho for 7 days. Six days in a row they are to march around the walls not making a sound. Their soldiers are to be dressed in their gear and their priests are to carry trumpets. I have to imagine the people of Jericho were probably standing on the wall looking out at them. The first day, they were probably freaked out wondering what was about to happen. By day 5 or 6, I’m sure some of them were laughing at the Israelites going out for their march again. The 7th day came and the Israelites were instructed to repeat the march but this time at the end they were to yell and blow the trumpets and the walls were supposed to fall down.

Why these complicated instructions? Why did God ask them to repeat this march again and again for 7 days?

God constantly had come through for them. Starting in Egypt, God sent severe plagues so that Pharaoh would release them from slavery. Then God parted the Red Sea crushing the Egyptian army behind them, fed them with manna from the sky every morning, and gave them water to drink from a rock in the desert. Even so, when the Israelites saw the tall people and big walls facing them in the promised land, they doubted that God would have their back.

In the lives of the Israelites and in our lives, God uses our struggles to teach us dependency and trust in Him. Sometimes God will send us for another lap around the same lesson till we understand the truth He is teaching us. Constantly in the desert, the Israelites struggled to trust God and have faith in His promises. Now at Jericho, with each circle the Israelites make, they are saying, “Yes, God I still believe.” Pushing aside their fears and doubts, with each lap they are choosing God’s words over their own personal fears.

Today in our struggle, ask God what He is trying to teach you. See your struggle today as an opportunity to grow closer to Him. When fear and doubt creep in, ask God to give you grace and faith throughout your trial to continue to walk in faith.

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