A Most Unconventional War
Dramatized (Joshua 6)
Inside Jericho the atmosphere was feverish with activity. From atop the walls of the city the movements of the Israelites had been clearly observed ever since they miraculously crossed the River Jordan. The king of Jericho had heard of the valiant exploits of Joshua and the children of Israel while they were yet in the wilderness, how the Lord had parted the Red Sea when they came out of Egypt, and how they had overcome the two kings of the Amorites East of Jordan.
Therefore the king, expecting an attack at any moment, ordered his men to shut and lock the huge city gates. No one was allowed to go in or out. All the watchmen on the walls were instructed to report any movement around Israel’s camp, and every able-bodied man was armed and ready for battle.
Finally the inevitable happened. It was early in the morning when word was rushed to the king that the Israelites were being mobilised. Soon the alarm was given in all quarters, and all of Jericho’s men of war took up their positions along her walls.
Back at the camp, Joshua passed on to the priests the instructions given by the Lord. “Take up the Ark of the covenant of the Lord and seven of the priests shall carry trumpets in front of it.” Next he commanded the people, saying, “Advance! March forward around the city. Let those that carry arms pass on before the Ark, and a rearguard after it.”
By this time the walls of Jericho were full of people looking at the most unusual procession they’d ever seen. This was not at all what they had expected. They weren’t being attacked at all. The Israelites were merely walking silently around the city with their priests continually blowing on their trumpets. (For Joshua had given a commandment saying, “Ye shall not shout nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then ye shall shout!”)
The people of Jericho had mixed emotions about this strange spectacle which occurred not only that first day, but once each day for six days straight. Staring down from the walls, some laughed mockingly at the crazy antics of the so-called conquerors, but others were strangely uneasy.
So the days passed one by one. Each time the identical procession occurred with Joshua, the priests and the people of Israel making the full turn of the city.
But then came the seventh day. Instead of dispersing after the first turn around the city, they continued all day round and round, with the seven horns sounding, and the continual tromping of thousands of people marching silently. And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the seven priests blew one long blast on their trumpets that Joshua thundered the command, “Shout! For the Lord hath given you the city!”
At that moment every soldier in the ranks shouted a mighty shout that filled the air! And with a mighty roar the great walls of Jericho began crumbling until they had collapsed flat on the ground!
Joshua’s men rushed the city and, as they had been instructed, spared nothing alive save “Rahab the harlot and her father’s household and all that she had.”
And it says that she and her family dwelt safely in Israel “because she hid the messengers which Joshua had sent to spy out Jericho.”
“So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.”
Thus the first great victory was won in Canaan. And how was it won? By mighty armies possessing powerful weapons? Was it won by the strength and cunning of Joshua’s mighty men of valour? No! This could hardly be classed as “conventional” warfare.
On the contrary, this valiant victory was won by a seemingly weak and ill-equipped people who were just crazy enough to believe that God meant exactly what He’d said. And they were simply willing to follow the Lord and Joshua’s explicit instructions, and their “faith to follow” caused them to triumph in a most unusual way.
Often we are prone to equate bigness with greatness and numbers with power, whereas none of this is necessarily true.
In fact, God doesn’t go for bigness after the manner of this World. He’s seldom for the strong, but almost always for the weak.—Because God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. He takes the weak things to confound the mighty and the foolish things to bring to nothing the wisdom of the wise. (Isaiah 55:8; 1Corinthians 1:27)
So don’t try to tell God how He ought to do things!—Just trust Him that He knows what He’s doing!—And go God’s way, no matter how crazy it may seem. Tomorrow you’ll be glad you trusted Him!
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