The taking down of Jericho warrants being listed as the first lesson in anyone’s book on spiritual warfare. The march around the walled city in silence for seven straight days until the last round, is itself a study in patience and determination. This was nothing like what the Tibetans do when they undertake a pilgrimage and reverently circumambulate around a sacred mountain — where they stretch themselves out on the ground, pull their knees up beneath themselves, stand up, and then slowly repeat the process again — for as long as it takes, sometimes for years!
The silent, measured march that the Israelites undertook around the city of Jericho, while done for very different reasons, nevertheless, had the effect of focussing their minds on the task at hand like the pinpoint from a laser beam. The once a day walk around the city for six days, followed by the seven times around the city on the seventh day — built up such a pint up force that when they finally did let out a collective shout — it brought everything down in a crashing heap!
Remember that all this was done without any fanfare. No one sent a delegation to the city officials to serve them notice about surrendering. If the residents of Jericho hadn’t looked down from their walls to see this silent procession going on around them, they would not have even known about the march taking place. This unfolding even had more to do with Jehovah, than with the citizens of Jericho. The Israelites were transacting business with God. They had learned to listen to God, and to get their instructions directly from Him.
This whole episode resonates with what Jesus taught us about the power of prayer. Our Heavenly Father desires to interact with us on a personal level. Every one of God’s children is important to Him, and He wants to spend time with each of us — one on one!
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:5-8).
God has a way of showing up in our lives — especially in moments when we need Him the most! That’s what He did with Joshua on the outskirts of Jericho. Picture Joshua as having stepped outside the camp to try to get a perspective on the enormity of the task before him. How in the world were they supposed to attack a city like Jericho? This was absolutely insane! He must have been sharing these concerns with God, when suddenly, a man appears before him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua challenges the man to identify himself, and asks him whose side he is on — on the side of the Israelites, or on the side of their enemies? The man says,
“Neither, but as the commander of the army of the Lord I have come.” (Joshua 5:13-24).
The angel’s answer to Joshua’s question indicates that the position we take on any given matter is important to God. The level of commitment we bring to a given work, or how we choose to participate in a given enterprise will determine the success or failure of the venture. We are given the opportunity to decide what the outcome will be. God wants to know where our heart is in any given situation. Are we satisfied with the status quo, or do we want to see positive outcomes taking place? Real and lasting change comes when we seek God’s will, and enlist His help.
Praying with you for a better world,
Let’s ask the Lord to teach us how to pray.
- One of the first things that the disciples asked Jesus about was that He would teach them how to pray effectively. Till this day, the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ is the most comprehensive prayer that has ever been uttered. Let us join the early disciples in regularly praying this prayer as well.
Please continue to pray for Thailand — the worldwide itch to protest has now arrived here as well.
- We know that only God can bring about lasting justice. Let’s pray that people everywhere will turn to God, and seek His solutions for humanity’s many problems.
Join us in thanking God for a number of new villages that have expressed a desire to become followers of Jesus.
- We learned of two more Lisu villages that have requested that teachers be sent to them to share the message of Christ. We are responding to these requests by identifying potential church planters who can be sent to these villages.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”