It’s all about that thing, you know that impossible thing in your life. It mockingly reminds you that you are powerless against its control. You’ve begun to feel that the pain, confusion, oppression is your lot in life. It might even tell you that you deserve it. I know it well. It’s taken many forms in my life, but each time it follows the same pattern. When you try to stand up against it, it pushingly condemns and puts you in your place. The pain has evoked a Pavlovian response that’s conditioned to fear even approaching it because you’ve been down that road before. Just comply and hide and hope it’ll leave you alone and you will be fine. I hate to tell you, but it sees your please for peace as your surrender to its might.
Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. 2 And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.”Joshua 6:1-2
We think life would be fine if it would just leave us alone, but it won’t. Since the fall of man, there’s been a struggle and quest for control, a cruel survival of the fittest that posses no mercy. For only under Christ can we rest in the shadow of mercy. You can’t kill it with kindness. It will give you a momentary lull, a reward for cowering. However, it’s not for being good, and it’s conditioning us to be content with peaceful moments within its ultimate control. It is a deceptive lullaby to keep you still while it gains more ground. You recover from the last attack, hoping for the best; you walk around on eggshells praying it won’t return, but it does. It always returns more and more frequently until peace is a wish and a hope, for which we sell our courage and shrink our soul.
But Joshua commanded the people, “You shall not shout [the battle cry] nor let your voice be heard nor let a word come out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout!”Joshua 6:10
As with the impenetrable walls of Jerico, it seems impossible. It is immovable by us, but our God can use us to crush it with a unique style and pizazz. When Joshua faced the walls of Jerico, the first thing God had him do was “see.” The key is to stop and look with God by our side. He showed Joshua the enemy scrambling to fortify their city. We are only attacked and oppressed because we aren’t a threat. We need to see that. The pressure to oppress us is so great because of our potential. We must find the eyes of faith to see that we and God together are a threat. We need to encircle this thing like a lion to its prey, size it up before the Lord, and praise him, knowing he can do it. That’s the integral prep work that infills our shout with power.
Now you shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do this [once each day] for six days. Also, seven priests shall carry seven trumpets [made] of rams’ horns ahead of the arkJoshua 6:3-4
Sometimes we speak too prematurely, hoping the words will do their part. The Jerico shout wasn’t isolated, it was a consistent culmination of faith and works. It came after 7 days of praying, magnifying God over the enemy and marching quietly. Marching is disciplined practice, and we march around our “things” and we silence it all. We silence our doubts by lifting them to God. It’s a holy exercise of faith that can not be constrained with words. We take little bites, as we once march a day and we don’t obsess. After our march, we use our faith to put it away, to go back to our camp and live. We stay silent about its oppression, its pain, its power.
Then on the seventh day, they got up early at daybreak and marched around the city, in the same way, seven times; only on that day they marched around the city [a]seven times and the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city.Joshua 6:15-16
How do we stay silent about what has wreaked havoc in our lives? As we march, we present to God the height and strength of the enemy. We walk around the tallest, most fortified walls, and we silence our fears as we compare them to the size of our God. We silence our insecurities with confidence that God is able. We look at it with the prayer of the desperate father, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” We weaken it in the spirit and our mind each day. It might feel like a million times a day, but we get stronger, and it gets easier. We don’t try to wrestle it to the ground but wear it away a little bit at a time by building our faith with silent, holy, and disciplined prayer.
They blew the trumpets. Trumpets were the first sound, not the words. The trumpets’ call represents our hearts and the spirit’s deepest groaning. All of which cannot be contained by words, but daily within our groanings, we find our God, and it builds our battle cry. It is the depths of our hearts that we lift to him our praise, our fears, magnifying him above the highest and strongest wall. The enemy that made our knees quake and our heart stops, but now we see with our eyes of faith. Each day we, like an army, have conditioned ourselves not to worry but believe. Within this, within us, we surround the impenetrable. We see our God magnified above this thing, and we are at our pinnacle of faith in God’s ability. We shout and watch the thing crumble.
So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city.Joshua 6:20
We Bring the Thing (prayer)
God, we bring to you this thing. I’m attacked because I am the threat. Even now the thing is running and fortifying his walls, hoping I won’t rise. Deep inside there is a seed of faith. Each day I will acknowledge your sovereignty over its power, its pain, and it’s control. I see it notice in my heart and in my mind. I live my life with peace and joy knowing that its day is coming. God, it may be impossible for a person, but with you all things are possible. I believe you can do this, help my unbelief. I will silence the words of doubt and fear as I march with joy. On the appointed day, I will march six times and on the seventh day, I will shout and it will fall. Thank you God that you are my deliverance and my song.
The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.Exodus 15: 2
Click below for the poem that inspired this blog.