“Those walls have to go.”
I love to watch home renovation shows on TV. (Not that I intend to do a major reno anytime soon.) But I always hold my breath when they start to take down walls. You just never know what they’re gonna find inside. The walls could be hiding electrical, water, HVAC conduits — anything that could derail their plan.
Sometimes, our hearts are like that, too. We offer God pieces of our life, but hold a few things in reserve – something we’re just not quite ready to give up. We put walls around those parts of our lives – as if God can’t see what we’re hiding or make a way to get past those walls.
God makes a big first impression
As Joshua takes command of God’s people and enters into the Promised Land, the first city they must conquer is Jericho – a city with TWO walls surrounding it.
Word of the millions of people approaching had reached the city, and they were locked up tight behind their walls. No one went in or out. (Joshua 6:1)
God’s instructions to Josh were very clear – and very odd:
- Walk around the city once a day for 6 days
- On the 7th day, make 7 trips around
- Then, with a long blast on the shofar (an instrument made from a ram’s horn)…
- Everybody was to shout
- Then, God promised, the WALL would fall down. (One of the 2 walls)
An unnerving warning
Joshua sent the entire army out. Seven priests alongside the ark of the covenant, carrying those ram horn trumpets. They walked around the city with only the sound of the seven trumpets. Can you imagine the intimidation factor of a massive group of invaders marching around your city blowing horns the whole time? So, they circled once and went back to camp for the night.
No doubt, the folks in Jericho shook their collective heads and sighed in relief. What a strange exercise! But the next day, it happened again. And the next day. And the next.
Well, this is a strange battle plan, but not too scary, they may have thought after those 4 days. And 5 days. Now it’s just part of their daily routine: watch the foreigners march around the city and go home. Now 6 days.
The Seventh Day
The 7th day was different: instead of going back to camp, they kept up their horn-blowing march around the walls. I’m sure word spread through the city – Those pesky Israelites are still walking! And tensions inside the walls grew exponentially each time God’s people made a lap.
Once the 7th lap was completed, Joshua commanded the army to shout, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city! The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD.” So, Joshua continues: 1- the city has already been won for God; 2- Everything in this first city belongs to God as an offering or tithe; 3- Don’t take any of the city’s false gods with you; 4- God wants all the precious metal the army finds.
Joshua 6:20 says, “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.” Yes! The OUTER WALL crumbled.
I’d always thought the ground just opened up and swallowed the wall. But no. Archaeology has proven the outer wall crumbled, creating a ramp that the army could now rush up to the top of the inner wall and take the city. God provided them easy access! And these ruins are there even today. Check out this video–
What it means for me:
- It doesn’t matter how many walls I set up in my heart, when God wants in, He’ll find a way.
- God gives fair warning before He uses drastic measures to knock walls down. No, I’m probably not going to be visited by an army and shofar-blowing priests who march around me. But God will lay the groundwork for me to notice the walls within.
- If I ignore God’s warnings, I will still see the walls fall — in a way I most certainly do not expect. Nothing is impossible for God. Better that I would smash through the walls and give God control over everything than to be run over from outside forces.