Jericho and Obedience

An excavated portion of the fallen walls of Jericho. Photo credit:

I love the Old Testament; I have never understood the claim that it is boring and dull.  Okay, I don’t mean all the verses of genealogy. THAT is boring. I know a lot of it’s important, but I just don’t stay enthralled with “so and so begat so and so” and on and on, line after never-ending line.

I’m talking about the rest of it that makes me want to keep reading and learning for the rest of my life. The parts that are everything but lifeless and mundane, and actually quite the opposite. I’ve been reading in Joshua this week. One of my absolutely favorite accounts in the entire Bible is found here: The Walls of Jericho.

It’s amazing to think about the Israelites at this time in history; they were in the middle of taking possession of the Promised Land, yet they still had some conquering to do. God had already done some amazing miracles in their midst and they were about to see another incredible miracle at Jericho.

Can you imagine being a warrior in Joshua’s army at Jericho? Hearing your leader tell you that instead of laying siege to the city immediately, you were going to walk around it for nearly a week in silence? And then on the seventh day you were going to walk around it seven times and yell at the top of your lungs when the trumpets sounded and God would give you the city?

I believe that if I were part of that army I may have been a little skeptical, or even a lot. Even after the preceding miracles, I don’t know that I would have been very enthused about this plan of attack. But thankfully the Israelites obeyed God’s command and those walls fell flat!

Now if you’ve done any reading or research on this particular event, you know that modern archaeology has found and verified the account of The Walls of Jericho falling. The scale of Jericho’s fortifications were unbelievable! They were built as a three-tiered construction: a retaining wall, another wall built on the retaining wall and then another wall on the crest of the mound that was the city of Jericho. Altogether, these walls are estimated to have been over 10 stories tall and around 6 feet thick!

What did the Israelites feel like marching around a city with such massive walls and expecting victory? Were they all filled with faith or were some of them skeptical like I may have felt? Harvest had just ended so Jericho was filled to the brim with enough food for a long time and they also had a fresh water spring in the city; they were set up for an easy win. The Israelites had the clear disadvantage, to the human eye and in their own strength, but God’s perspective sees so much more and his might is so much stronger!

In different seasons of life, we all experience times when God is clearly directing us a certain way, but those ways don’t always make sense to the natural mind. Sometimes they do, but oftentimes the way isn’t perfectly plausible. Still, God asks for obedience.

Another part of God’s promise to his people was fulfilled that day at Jericho due to their willingness to follow him and allow his power to work through them. Even today, we may have yet to see some of God’s promises to us fulfilled in our lives. Have we obeyed his commands, have we put him in the highest place in our lives, have we esteemed him as sovereign over all?

There is a direct correlation between our obedience to him and the fulfillment of many things in our lives. That’s not to say that if things don’t seem to be aligning for you, you must be in disobedience. Sometimes things don’t work according to our time table and only the Lord sees the entire picture.

God is always glorified through our obedience and commitment to him, regardless of the circumstances. And he delights to bring victory and deliverance to his creation!

So let us choose this day whom we will serve (Joshua 24:15).


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