Joshua-Wayne Barber/Part 9
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2004|
|Now listen, we don’t work toward victory. Many people think that. We’re going to win victory, shoot, and the buzzer goes off and the ball goes through the hoop and they say, “You win!” That has nothing to do with Christianity. Jesus is our victory. When it’s no longer Wayne, but it’s Christ, that’s what victory is all about. He is our Victor. The victory has already been won.|
A Victory in Jesus (Joshua 6a)
Turn to Joshua 6. We’re just about to enter in to the first battle: Jericho. Joshua 6, we will not finish it today, we’ll not get into the battle, but we’ll get right up next to it. We’re going to talk today about victory in Jesus. Remember the song? Boy, what a great song if you understand what it says; “Victory in Jesus.” Wonderful song. Victory is not something we go and get, victory is something we already have. We’re going to see that today: victory in Jesus.
Now isn’t it interesting that our spiritual battles do not even begin until we’re bowed and yielded before Christ. Do you understand that? You see, there are no battles in the wilderness. For you to understand what’s going on here and why we’re looking at Joshua and what in the world can we bring out of Joshua, you have to realize that when Israel came out of Egypt, out of bondage, four hundred years they were in slavery in Egypt, when God parted the Red Sea, they came through the Red Sea, that is a picture, a type, to you and I in the new covenant of our salvation. See, the covenant with Israel was external: ours is internal. But it’s a picture of our salvation coming out from under the bondage that we lived under, that sin held us under.
But when they went into the wilderness, that’s the first place they entered once they crossed the Red Sea, that is a picture. You see, for 40 years they wandered in the wilderness confused, disillusioned, factioned, divided, and what that’s a picture of is a believer who chooses not to walk by faith; not to yield to Christ. It’s just a picture, but we can get a beautiful picture out of that. But when we come to that Jordan River, that’s like a circumstance that God moves into our life; we didn’t plan it, we didn’t ask for it, but suddenly the rivers are flooded and we don’t have any answers. And God takes us to that experience, not because of the experience, but to teach us how to possess the life that God has already given to us. We’re not even thinking about the life, perhaps we’ve been in the wilderness, but perhaps God now has us backed up into a corner to the point that now we have to trust Him. And when we trust Him, immediately we possess, we experience the life that we already have. We enter Canaan.
Now Canaan to them was a land obviously, but to us it’s not heaven. Many people picture, “I’m going into Canaan land” as if it’s heaven. No! No! There are no battles in heaven; I hope not. There are no battles there. Canaan is a picture to you and me in our covenant of the life that we have in Christ. Entering and possess that which God says is already ours in Christ. Again, they had a land, we have a life.
Well, Israel, all they had to do when they got to the Jordan River was just obey God. And Joshua was their leader; he obeyed, they followed him, and they walked over and entered what they already had. Now, if you’re there, if you’re bowed before Christ, if you’re yielded to Him, and maybe it’s taken a traumatic, Jordan-flooded river in your life to get you there, but now you’re there, now is when the battles begin. There is no battle again, when we choose to walk after the flesh; we’re just in bondage. There’s no battle, there’s no fight: we’ve given in. And we’re living just as if we don’t even know Christ. But when you come to walk in Him and say yes to Him, that’s when the battles begin.
Now the last time we were together, we looked at how they prepared for battle. First thing they did, their covenant was renewed. Now you’ve got to understand, this generation, second generation, their Mamas and Daddies and all, they died in the wilderness because they just wouldn’t obey God, but this is a new generation. They said they were going to say yes to God. “We’re not going to do like they did.” But they had not been circumcised. And the external covenant, the physical covenant that God made with Abraham, the land, the seed, the nation, in that covenant, circumcision was a sign, a mark of that covenant. This brought disgrace upon them since they were not circumcised. This was the sign of the covenant.
Now when we choose to live after the flesh, it’s the same thing. When we choose to live after the flesh, we bring the same disgrace upon us that they brought upon themselves. And we have to come back to renew that covenant, when we come back to say, “Yes, Lord.” When we come back to yield to Him, maybe it’s a circumstance that brings us to that point, but at that point, then we have renewed our covenant. Romans 12:1-2 as we looked at the last time. Now once their covenant was renewed, the consequence of that covenant was released; it was released. What do we mean by that? We mean that the disgrace was taken off of them, the reproach, the shame that came upon them for not having their covenant renewed, not being circumcised was taken away.
Now, you and I when we come back and do the same thing, we renew our covenant, the disgrace that we have brought on the rest of the family of God who are seeking to walk yielded to Christ, the disgrace we’ve brought upon our own selves, and the disgrace we’ve brought upon the name of Christ, that’s removed. We’re released from that now. And we’re useable again. And I’ll tell you what: that’s one of the greatest messages of grace that you can talk about, the “agains” of God’s grace. He lets us come back and renew our covenant. He lets us come back and say yes to Him and that disgrace be shed from our life and to say yes to Him once again.
Well, with our covenant renewed and the consequences released, then their Captain was revealed. And I loved that because, see, with us in the spiritual covenant of the new covenant, when we say yes to Christ and we renew our covenant, then what happens is Jesus is being Jesus in us. And people see our Captain, we’re under the Lordship of our Divine Captain, and He’s revealed in our lives.
Joshua went up to Jericho. He wanted to see the city now for himself. He sent two spies, they came back. He was there 40 years before, but this is sort of new and he wants to make sure he gets a little better feel of what they’re up against. Jericho stood in the way of them taking the land that God had given to them. And while he was there the Divine Captain appeared to him. I love this picture. That’s Jesus in the Old Testament if you don’t know that. That’s Christ in the Old Testament. It’s a theophany. A theophany is when Christ appears in the Old Testament. Remember, He always has been, always been the Son of God. He came to earth to be the son of man. But He’s God; He’s eternally God. And He appears to Joshua in that Old Testament there at the city of Jericho, and when He did He had His sword in His hand, drawn. And I love that. What He’s saying is, “I didn’t come to take sides. Get behind Me, get your shoes off, I’m leading you into battle. I am your warrior.”
I love that! Just like He led them across the Jordan River. You say, “Wayne, He did not!” Yes, He did. What was the first thing that went into the river? The Ark. What’s the Ark: the picture of the presence of Christ, of God with the people. And now, here He is in the first battle, and He says, “I’m leading you into battle.” He always goes before us. He is our Warrior. He’s our life and He’s our warrior. When we yield to Him, our covenant renewed—and how many times, by the way, let me just ask you a question; how many times in your walk with Christ have you had to come back and renew that covenant by confession of sin, repentance, and saying, “God, I’m wrong and You’re right and I yield to You.” Anybody besides me have to do that in your walk? Isn’t it awesome that He lets us do that? Isn’t that awesome? He doesn’t kick us out of the family of God. It’s His goodness and kindness that leads us to that place. Now all the shame is off of us even though they’re consequences, He still gives us mercy to bear up under them.
But not only that, people look at us and they don’t see us any more: they see Christ. They see a divine life in us, but they see a Divine Warrior in us. And I want to tell you something: it’s Christ in us that makes the world tremble. It’s not what we say, it’s not how many people we have in church, it’s that we bow before Him, and the living, almighty God takes over our life. And the world trembles because they can handle us, but they can’t touch Him that lives within us. He is our victory. He is our divine warrior. And that’s what we’re going to see today: victory in Jesus.
Now listen, we don’t work toward victory. Many people think that. Been watching the NCAA Regionals, and I’ve been watching some of those games that are won on the last shot. We’re going to win victory, shoot, and the buzzer goes off and the ball goes through the hoop and they say, “You win!” That has nothing to do with Christianity. You don’t have to win it, you don’t go get it, it’s been bought for you. Jesus is our victory. We don’t move to it, we move from it, we walk in it. When it’s no longer Wayne, but it’s Christ, that’s what victory is all about. He is our Victor. The victory has already been won. And we can live in it if we can say yes to Him.
- God disarms the enemy
Well, three things I want you to see in this wonderful passage of Joshua 6, and by the way, we’ll get right up to Jericho, but we won’t quite go in. Next time will be thrilling. First of all, God disarms the enemy. Now how does He give us the victory? What’s this victory like? Well, He goes and disarms the enemy. In Joshua 6:1 it says, “Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel. No one went out and no one came in.” And then verse 2 the Lord tells them why, “The Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have given Jericho into your hands, with its king and the valiant warriors.’” You see, they already knew from word of mouth that the enemy had melted in their hearts; that they were terrified of God. How did they know that? Well, when the two spies went over, Rahab, the former harlot, the one that God had brought to Himself, that protected them, she told them. In Joshua 2:9 it says, “I know that the Lord has given you the land and that the terror of you has fallen on us and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you. For the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.”
This had to encourage these two spies, so they run back to Joshua and they give him the message in 2:24, “They said to Joshua, ‘Surely the Lord has given all the land into our hands. Moreover all the in habitants of the land have melted away before us.’” So they knew this, word of mouth. Then, when the Jordan River backed up 17 miles to the city of Adam, and God dried up the river bed, and two and a half million of them crossed over, Joshua 5:1 says, “Now it came about when all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard how the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel until they had crossed, that their hearts melted and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the sons of Israel.”
And now we see in 6:1 that they’ve shut the city up. They’re scared to death. They won’t let anybody come out and they won’t let anybody go in. Why? Because of the sons of Israel; the God of the sons of Israel, really. What we studied last week: it’s not just the sons of Israel, it’s their God, and it’s their Warrior that scares them half to death. Now fear gripped them. You see, God will disarm the enemies of our life. Now, what’s an enemy? An enemy refers to those who seek to take from us what God has given to us. He gave them a land, so the enemy was to take away from them what God had given to them.
What is it in our life? What is the enemy of a believer in the New Covenant who’s dealing with internal things, not external things? What is the enemy that we face? Well, the biggest enemy that you or I face every day is what we look at in the mirror when we get up in the morning. Hate to tell you that, but when you look in the mirror in the morning, that’s the biggest problem you’re going to have all day. Our flesh is our biggest enemy. But I want to tell you something; when Jesus came to live in us, He has already disarmed it. He has disengaged its power. In Romans 6:6 it says, “Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him in order that our body of sin might be done away with.” Now, that little phrase “done away with” in the King James is translated “destroyed.” What in the world does that mean? Does it mean when Christ comes to live in me I’m never going to have to deal with the flesh again? No, the word is katargeo. It means to neutralize, to shift into neutral. When you take a transmission of a car and you shift it into neutral, the power of that transmission hasn’t been diminished, but it’s been disengaged. That’s what happened when Christ came into our life. He disarmed public enemy number one. He disarmed the enemy of the flesh.
Now, we also have to deal with the world and we have to deal with the devil. How do you put that into the equation? Well, the world, one of the words for “world” is a system. The devil has mined this world’s system with his traps. When you get up of a morning and walk out of your house or turn the TV on, it’s a minefield. And the devil has infiltrated, he’s infected everything around us. We’re aliens down here, we don’t belong here, we’re just passing through. We’re heaven-bound; we’re citizens of another kingdom. But while we’re down here, we have to remember that it’s a dangerous, hostile world to everything that we represent. And the devil has mined it. He can’t be at every place at one time. He’s not omnipresent. That’s why he has to prowl around. You wouldn’t have to prowl around if you could be everywhere at one time. Job talked about that. He has to walk to and fro across the earth. He was the creation who rebelled and fell. So the devil, we don’t have to worry about him, but what we have to worry about is the world that he has infected and we have to be careful because the flesh is addicted to everything that’s in this world.
I hear people say, “That man is addicted to drugs, and that man’s addicted,” no, no, no! You misunderstand. The flesh is totally addicted to sin and the world is full of the traps that seek to lure us into it. Now for instance, when we studied Galatians 5:19-21, we saw some of the addictions. We saw the fact of sexual addiction, immorality, impurity, sensuality. I mean, flesh is addicted to that. That’s why we have to make sure that the Lord Jesus is ruling in our life. When He’s ruling, He’s disengaged its power. It has no affect on us whatsoever.
Also, spiritual addiction, that’s idolatry and sorcery in verse 20 there. And what he’s talking about is a false sense of what worship is. We’re sensual beings, we love to feel good when we do anything that we do, and we fall into the trap of thinking that’s worship. It’s an incredible misunderstanding of it, but yet that’s what the flesh presents and that’s an addiction. Another addiction is the social addiction. We always want things our way and therefore what happens is when we’re walking in the wilderness and we’re not walking under the power of the Spirit, what happens is that enmities develop; that’s hostilities. And everything begins to flow from that. Do you realize a believer, myself, you, whoever we’re talking about who is not walking by the Spirit, cannot relate properly to anybody? Why? Because he’s so self-centered he can’t see anybody but himself. Enmities, strife, jealously, outburst of anger, disputes, dissentions, factions, envying, that’s all addictions of our flesh. Our flesh is only satisfied when these things are there, because we want it our way and that’s the way it is. Our way or the highway.
And the next one is sensual addiction. Our flesh has no knowledge about what real joy is unless the Spirit of God produces it. So therefore we look for it in the wrong places: drunkenness, carousing, and all the other stuff that is there. But you see, our victory over these addictions is to not stop doing them. Oh man, when I was growing up, that’s what everybody told me, “Don’t do this, don’t do that, and don’t do this.” Nobody every told me what I could do, they told me what I couldn’t do. And I have found something. If you are only saying no to the addictions of your flesh, you’re simply moving from one addiction to another all the time. You have never seen victory yet.
Saying no to sin is not the answer alone! Now don’t hear me wrong. Law says, “Say no to sin,” grace says, “Say yes to Christ.” Now, if you’ve understood me, then you’ve already got it. When you say yes to Christ, you’ve just said no to sin. But you don’t focus on the sin, you focus on Him. Why? Because He’s our life and He’s our warrior, and when you focus on Him and yield to Him, then He disengages, He disarms the enemy, public enemy number one and we can walk in the victory that He already has for us. He is our victory. Our victory is Christ.
Now sometimes along the way we have to deal with people who will not walk the way they ought to walk. I used to say if it wasn’t for people I could live the Christian life. Have you had any days like that? I mean, you kind of want to have a hit list. “Lord, if you get rid of these ten people, we could have revival.” And God said, “No, I have them there so you can have revival. You have to learn to let Me love those people through you.” But sometimes, people can come at you. Paul said, “Watch out for Alexander, buddy, he gave me a lot of problems.” Named him and told people what he did. And evidently this guy must have frustrated the apostle Paul. But here’s the key: when we yield to Christ, He disarms those people as they come at us to take from us what God has already given to us. God is disarming them. He’s disarming them.
Philippians 1:27, Paul mentions this. And he says, “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Wouldn’t that be a great testimony, if people could say that about us? But then in verse 28, “In no way [now watch this] alarmed by your opponents.” Oh, you mean we’re going to have opponents? Well, yes. They’re either going to be lost people that the devil has full control over, or they’re going to be saved people who won’t come out of the wilderness. You’re going to have opponents. But he says, “Which is a sign of destruction for them.” What is? The fact that you’re not alarmed; the fact that there’s no fear in you whatsoever. He says, “But of salvation for you, it proves your salvation and that too from God.” And what he’s saying is that when you let Jesus be Jesus in your life, He is your divine warrior. He disarms your opponents. You don’t even know it. You’re not aware of it. But He’s closing their mouths, He’s stopping them short.
Why? Because they look at you and see that you’re not afraid of them and that puts fear in them; not of you, but of the God that lives in your life. It’s exactly what we’re seeing in Joshua. It works the same way in our covenant, exactly. This is why it’s sometimes more helpful to go to the Old Testament to find out what God is saying to us in the New Covenant. God in us disarms the enemy. When the church of Corinth began to raise up, and Paul realized this is going to cause some problems, because the first leader was the leader of the synagogue there where a Jewish man got saved. And Paul was concerned. And God came to him and said in Acts 18:10, “Paul, I’m with you. I’m with you.” That’s enough. That’s all He had to say. And then it says, “And no man will attack you in order to harm you for I have many people in this city.” “I’m watching over you, boy, don’t you worry about it. I’m your victor. You just say yes to me. Don’t you be concerned about the opposition. You focus on Me. Don’t be concerned about the sin, be concerned about the Savior and let Jesus be Jesus in your life.” And God disarms the enemy.
So again, in 6:1-2, that’s what He’s telling Joshua: “Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel. No one went out; no one came in.” And then God tells him, “The Lord said to Joshua, ‘See.” I love that. I love what we sang, “Open my eyes.” God, open our eyes. I know, I can’t sing, but open our eyes. But when you open your eyes, He says, “Joshua, do you see? I have given Jericho into your hand with its king and its valiant warriors.” Victory is Jesus. Our victory is Jesus. Next time you ever sing that song, “Victory in Jesus,” remember what you’re singing: That if you’ll say yes to Him, He’s conquering even when you don’t know there’s opposition out there. He’s covering, I mean, He’s all around us at all times. That’s who He is. If you don’t get excited about this, this would be a great day to get saved, that’s all I’ve got to say. This is who lives in us in a hostile world that could care little about God and particularly a nation that anybody who mentions Christianity or Christ and they try to come against you. Jesus said, “Don’t you sweat that! I know what’s going on around you. I’m your warrior, son. I have disengaged the flesh and power. I’ve conquered the world in your life because I’ve conquered the devil and all the opponents around you.”
- God determines the events of our life
But secondly, not only does He disarm the enemy; God determines the events of our life. He determines the events. You never know what’s next, do you? Somebody asked me one time, “Wayne, if a crystal ball worked, would you like to have one?” And I told them, “Heavens, no! I don’t want to know what tomorrow holds. Do you? I’m having enough trouble today. Let’s just take one day at a time.” I don’t want to know. But you see, God doesn’t let us know. And I think that’s a beautiful thing. Every circumstance and event in your life is determined by God. God’s in charge of it. And what happens is that we’ve got to understand that they’re not going to be the same. Oh, we’ll learn from one and we’ll learn from another. But they’ll never be the same. It will never be at a point that you can coast through life. God has a way of orchestrating events to where we have never seen those events before.
We don’t know what our battle will look like and we don’t know the plan that God has to be conquering in our life in the battle. We don’t know what His plan is. That’s why we have to walk by faith the way we do. Now, for instance, you could look at the Jordan River. Why the Jordan, why springtime? Because He had a point; He had a purpose. And that purpose was to teach them to walk by faith. But Jericho wasn’t a river, Jericho was a city. And Ai, which came after that, wasn’t like Jericho. You see, it’s all different and you have to trust Him in each one to do what He says. He determines the events of our life.
His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts, and Isaiah 42 says He will not share His glory with any man. So when you think that you’re smart enough to handle it, back off, and say, “Whoops, missed that one!” And get before God, because only God and He wants the glory for what He does.
Verse 1 again says, “Now Jericho was tightly shut.” Now here’s Joshua in plain view of Jericho. Here’s the Divine Captain that has come to meet with him, and He’s told him, ‘“I didn’t come to take sides, I came to take over.” Now, he’s looking at this impregnable city, I mean, this is an overwhelming city. It’s the biggest battle they’ll ever have in the whole land of Canaan.
Now let me tell you about Jericho. Jericho had two walls around it. The city itself was built on what they call a tel, a mound. And the way they would do that is that every civilization, like somebody that would inherit Jericho after so many years it would go down, they’d come in and they’d level it, they’d pile dirt on top of that old remains, and they’d build a new city. There are some places in Israel that have 16, 17, 18 different levels where cities have been there. And archaeologists, that’s the way they discover who was there and when they were there. Well, it was on a tel. Jericho had two walls around it as I said. The tels and these walls, the ground outside the second wall was downhill. They would exaggerate those tels or mounds. They would put more and more dirt because an enemy coming after them would have to batter the door, the gates down. And having a battering ram running uphill was a whole lot harder than running straight in. And so they would exaggerate those things. The first wall was fifteen feet high.
Now the ground between the first wall, still going up, and the second wall, was made out of some substance that is very similar to what we have today in plastic. It was slick: you couldn’t get a foothold. And so between the first wall and the second wall was no footing at all and it was an incline, and then the second wall was twenty feet high. So here’s Joshua, standing there with the Captain of the Divine Host, looking at this city: two walls and he’s probably thinking to himself, “Oh, man. This is overwhelming, I need to go get the battering ram, and I need to go get some ladders to climb these walls.” But God had other plans.
And Joshua had learned from experience, being with Moses when God parted the Red Sea and being there when God backed the waters of the Jordan River. He had learned one thing: that God has a plan that I guarantee you Joshua knew he couldn’t come up with. It would be by faith that the walls of Jericho would fall. You say, “Where’s that in Scripture, Wayne?” Well, I’m glad you asked. In Hebrews 11:30, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.”
If you watch some of these learning channels that are supposed to be so academic, they don’t even know the latest piece of architecture that’s been found in Jericho and that is a wall that had a window in it and a house behind it. Guess whose house? Rahab. They said that because Rahab was living on the wall, her house was on the wall, and the walls came down, that it automatically made the miracle and the whole thing that happened in Jericho a joke. They don’t even know the latest piece of information. But the Word of God says you don’t even have to go there. You just go to the fact that they trusted God and God brought them down. He parted the Red Sea, He backed the Jordan River up 25 miles, and the walls came down because they did what God told them to do.
Now listen, faith is dying to your understanding. This is what kills us. Our minds are our biggest battle. That’s why in Romans 12 it says, “Have your minds renewed.” You need to learn to think a different way. Faith is dying to your own understanding. You don’t all the time understand what God tells you. Half of the time we don’t understand the circumstances He allows into our life, much less how to deal with them. So we have to remember that when you trust God and what He says, it may not all the time make sense. Verse 3 He says, “You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for six days. Also, seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Ark.”
Now if you look up rams’ horns it’s a different word than normally used for that. Yes, it’s a ram’s horn, but it has another word for it; a special word. It’s a technical word that means “jubilee horns, jubilee trumpets.” How many of you remember when I talked about jubilee in here in Leviticus 25? Some of you do. Seven periods of seven years called sabbatical years, up to 49. On the 50th year, that was a special time. It was in the land of Canaan that this was to take place. When you’re over in the land, God gave the land to different tribes and He said that at the end of that 50th year, or when that 50th year comes, you go back and reclaim your land. If somebody has bought your land between that time, it goes back to you. It reverts back to you. You get to reclaim your land. Now think of how significant, do you see what’s going on here?
The people were not allowed to say a word. Seven priests carried seven trumpets in front of the Ark and all you could here was that haunting sound of those trumpets as they walked around. Two and a half million people, nobody saying a word but the priests out in front blowing the rams’ horns. What they were saying is that they were proclaiming jubilee. They’re coming back to take the land that God had given to them. This was not a military campaign, this was a spiritual experience of reclaiming what God said was already theirs.
Each day, once a day, for six days they did this. Can you imagine the people inside? You say why didn’t they get up on top of the walls and shoot arrows at them? I’ll tell you why: they were terrified. Their hearts had melted, we’ve already seen that. They were afraid to get near it. Can you imagine hovering on the inside of that city? Thinking, “Oh, no! It’s coming, it’s coming.” And all they could hear was the sound of those trumpeters blowing the rams’ horns as they walked around once each day for six days.
On the seventh day, “Lift up your heads oh ye gates,” Psalm 24:7 says, “and be lifted up oh ancient doors that the King of glory may reign, may come in.” This was not the most common battle. Joshua 6:4: “On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times and the priests shall blow the trumpets.”
You say, “Why seven times?” If you’ve ever studied the history of Israel, seven is a very special number to these people. It’s very significant. It represents completion or perfection. In Genesis 2:3 God rested on the seventh day after creating all creation, and then in Genesis 12:1-3 there are seven promises in the Abrahamic Covenant. In Exodus 37:17-24, there were seven branches on the golden candlestick in the tabernacle. And there were seven feasts, and there were seven years to make up a sabbatical year, and there was the Sabbath and there were three of those feast of the seven that were in the seventh year. Seven, seven, seven, seven, seven. Why? Again, the number seven—and this is so important here—proclaims to the Jewish mind God’s ability, listen, to finish what He has started. Boy! I love that, I love that. God starts but God finishes.
Joshua 6:5 says, “It shall be that when the make a long blast from the rams’ horn and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat and the people will go up every man straight ahead.” Oh, that long blast of that trumpet, and the people just shouting. Can you imagine two and a half million people shouting? That would be loud. And when they did the walls fell down flat.
Now remember, it was build up on a mound, and when you went up normally, you’d have to go uphill, but when those walls fell obviously it would have to fall this way, but when they fell flat, what it’s talking about is that they filled up that gap and now the people could just go straight in, whereas before they would have had to go uphill. God had just prepared the way.
Well, God had disarmed the enemy, and God had determined this event. What event is next in your life? You don’t know, I don’t know, what’s next in my life. God determines that. But in that event they’ll be a specific wisdom that God will give me to walk through it. It’s not the same as the last event I went through. We can never rest on the laurels of the victories of yesterday because today is a new day, a fresh day. We have to do today what God tells us, not necessarily what He told us yesterday. It may be a little different. This is where God gives us discernment in our Christian walk, in the internal Covenant that we’re in. We don’t always have a verse that fits everything. Usually it will cover it somehow. But God will give you discernment of how to treat this situation and that situation because this one’s a Jericho and that one’s a Jordan River. And this is an Ai, and they’re all different. But to walk by faith is the bottom line.
Well, no man could come up with anything like this, by the way. This is part of the being in “boot camp” down here on earth. Everything we go through down here is just preparing us to rule and reign with Him one day, so remember that. We’re just in boot camp. We’re in a quarry and He’s conforming us into His image.
- God details the event
But then thirdly, not only does God disarm the enemy, not only does He determine the experience, but thirdly God details the event. God is the one who details it. Since God determines what is going on, then He details it. And when I say details it, He gives you specifically how you’re supposed to walk. That’s what wisdom is: the ability to take God’s Word and make it practical in any given circumstance of our life. Everything must be done according to what God’s Word says. He and He alone has the plan.
Well, it’s time to move. Verse 6, “So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, ‘Take up the Ark of the Covenant and let seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Ark of the Lord.’” Now the armed men were to go in front of the priests carrying the Ark to protect it. And you’ll see later that they’re also right behind it. They’re surrounding that Ark to protect the presence of God. Verse 8, “And it was so that when Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord went forward and blew the trumpets. And the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord followed them. The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets and the rear guard came after the Ark,” there are your two armed groups there, “while they continued to blow the trumpets.”
Now again, just imagine; God told Joshua to tell the people and the people were doing exactly what God said to do. That is key. You see, you’ve got one man who’s willing to follow God and you’ve got a group of people that are willing to follow that man. They’re doing exactly what God told them to do. The priests are blowing the jubilee trumpets, but the people were silent. Until the seventh day, verse 10, “But Joshua commanded the people saying, ‘You shall not shout nor let your voice be heard nor let a word proceed out of your mouth until the day I tell you, “Shout!” Then you shall shout.’”’
Verse 11, “So he had the Ark of the Lord taken around the city, circling it once. Then they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp. Now Joshua rose early in the morning and the priests took up the Ark of the Lord. The seven priests,” verse 13, “carrying the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Ark of the Lord went on continually and blew the trumpets. And the armed men went before them and the rear guard came after the Ark of the Lord while they continued to blow the trumpets. Thus the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. And they did so for six days.” The exact thing.
And verse 15, I love this! “Then on the seventh day.” And that’s next week’s message. I just want you to know that! “Thanks a lot, Wayne!” We’re right up to it, but we don’t have time to get into that. Next week’s message.
Let me just go over what I’ve said. God disarms the enemy. When you experience His life in you, that’s when the battle starts, but don’t worry about that. Keep your focus on Him; He’s already disarmed the power of the flesh, He’s already disarmed the world in its allure, and He’s already shut the devil down. So don’t worry about it. You walk in the victory He has for you.
God directs the event. No matter what events are going on in your life, the Lord determines the event. He determines what it’s going to be. I have no call in that. Somebody said, “Wayne, what if something happens to you?” Well, it just happens. I don’t know how I’m going to go out of this world, but I know where I’m going when I leave! But then, thirdly, God details the experience. I mean, it’s got to be step by step. He calls every shot and we’ve got to walk in oneness and yieldedness to Him.
Let me close with this illustration. In a previous church we had business meetings that sometimes could be real hostile. And you know how they could be sometimes, people would come that hadn’t been to church in 25 years and probably didn’t know Jesus from a hole in the ground. But they’d come to a business meeting, because it beat watching wrestling on television. I mean, it was going to have a fight at the church, let’s go see who wins. And we were buying a piece of property that was quite a bit of money, and we were going to relocate. So it was a big deal. And this one man had threatened. Oh, how they loved to threaten.
He said, “I’m going to make enough noise and enough mess in that business meeting, that nobody will vote for that thing.” He’d threatened us. Really. Big time. I mean he was a powerful man in the church and had said what he was going to do and, boy, we got on our face the day before and I said, “Oh, God! I don’t want this if You don’t want it, but we believe You’ve led us to it.” I hadn’t taught Joshua, wish I had. I didn’t realize God had gone way ahead of me. The next day we had the service and everything. Then we had that special called meeting. And I got up in front of them and we made the proposal, a beautiful job that our men had done, and then I got up, and I said, “Are there any questions?”
That’s where it would come out. And nobody said anything. And I’m looking right at the guy who had threatened us for weeks that he was going to ruin what we were doing. He just sat there. So I thought maybe his hearing aids were turned off. So I said, “Are there any questions?” Twice; nobody said anything. So I began to sense what was happening without even understanding this passage. That God had gone before us and wired that old boy’s mouth shut!
Third time I said, “Are there any questions?” Nothing. I can’t begin to tell you how hostile this situation was. Forth time, and now I’m enjoying it! “Are there any questions?” I know now what God has done. Nobody said anything. And the fifth time I said, “Are there any statements, questions, anybody want to do anything?” Nothing. That thing passed. I can’t wait some day to go back and see what it looks like.
What I’m telling you is that God had gone before us. You do what God says to do, and don’t you worry about your opponents, my friend. God will disarm them so fast it will make your head swim. If He has to wire their mouths shut, He will. Whatever it needs. And if He chooses that it’s our time to go out of here, we’ll go out in a blaze of glory. So it’s a win-win situation all the way. Just say yes to Jesus and walk in the victory He gives to you. That’s what it’s all about.
And that’s what He told the people and Joshua. And that’s our message today.