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The Walls Came Tumbling Down

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The Walls Came Tumbling Down

Joshua 5:13-6:21

By Bill Denton

Introduction

A.  A favorite Old Testament story is that of Joshua and the battle of Jericho

1.  Kids learn it in Sunday School

2.  It’s often retold as in illustration of faith

Hebrews 11:30 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. NASB95

3.  Illustration (sometimes it’s fodder for jokes)

    A new preacher decided to visit the children's Sunday school. The teacher introduced him and said, "Preacher, this morning we're studying Joshua."

    "That's wonderful," said the new preacher, "Let's see what you're learning. Who tore down the walls of Jericho?"

Little Johnny shyly raised hand and offered, "Preacher, I didn't do it."

Taken aback the preacher asked, "Come on, now, who tore down the walls of Jericho?"

     The teacher, interrupting, said, "Preacher, little Johnny's a good boy. If he says he didn't do it, I believe he didn't do it."

     Flustered, the preacher went to the Sunday school director and related the story to him. The director, looking worried, explained,    "Well, sir, we've had some problems with Johnny before. Let me talk to him and see what we can do."

     Really bothered now by the answers of the teacher and the director, the new preacher approached the deacons and related the whole story, including the responses of the teacher and the director. A white-haired gentleman thoughtfully stroked his chin and said, "Well, Preacher, I move we just take the money from the general fund to pay for the walls and leave it at that."

Cregg Puckett, Florence, Mississippi

B.  Romans 15:4

 4For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. NASB95

1.  Faith, then, is something we should learn about from this passage

2.  Old Testament stories are more than just “stories”

a.  they are history

b.  they are meant to teach us important things

c.  they help us become the people God wants us to be

C.  Let’s think about a few things that can build our faith and win some victories

I.  Preparation For Battle

A.  Joshua 5:13-15

 13Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” 14He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” 15The captain of the Lord’s host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. NASB95

B.  This little passage is frequently forgotten when reading about Joshua’s battle

1.  What happened here is not the only time it occurred

2.  Exodus 3:4-5 4When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God

     called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”

     And he said, “Here I am.” 5Then He said, “Do not come near here;

     remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are

     standing is holy ground.” NASB95

a.  there is was Moses before the burning bush

b.  in both cases, the men were confronted with God

1)  both had been chosen for a great work

2)  we understand the assumption of victory at their call

3)  but they needed the faith to accept the challenge

C.  At the heart of such an encounter is an issue we might miss

1.  It is wrapped up in what seems to be a strange, unfamiliar command

Joshua 5:15 15The captain of the Lord’s host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. NASB95

2.  The ground is holy because God (or God’s representative) is present

a.  the captain of the Lord’s host was there – an angel for sure,

     possibly the angle of the Lord (the preincarnate Christ?)

b.  it was here that Joshua discovered the force fighting for him

c.  it was not a place for just anyone, but for a man of God

D.  This is the all-important preparation for battle that we sometimes miss

1.  From Israel’s point of view

a.  excitement / anticipation – they were finally entering the land

b.  fear / trepidation – they were their father’s children

c.  cities were walled and fortified; giants lived in the land

d.  their fathers’ faith had failed at this point because they could

     not see the victory that lay in God’s hands

2.  From God’s point of view

a.  what’s so tough about a city walled with a thimble of dust?

b.  what weapon frightens God?

c.  what man can stand in God’s way?

d.  this is a “no-contest” contest!

3.  Joshua was a man of Israel but he needed to become a man of God

a.  the first step is to get on the right side

b.  it is the step of something called consecration

1)  it means to set apart for a special or particular purpose

2)  here, it was Joshua, set apart for God’s use

c.  any battle at Jericho was doomed to failure unless Joshua was

     ready to fight that battle God’s way

1)  he saw God’s holiness

2)  he knew the mighty force of God fighting for Israel

3)  this was Joshua’s confidence, the foundation for faith

4)  consecrated, Joshua was ready for the battle

E.  Forget this point, and we will try to meet our challenges without first

     consecrating ourselves to God

1.  Our city is just as “walled” today as Jericho was then

a.  walls of defensiveness

b.  barriers of differing religious beliefs

c.  chains and shackles of sin and rebellion against God

d.  stubborn resistance of disinterest, ignorance and antagonism

2.  To take our city for God we cannot be half-hearted, half-faithful,

     half-anything

3.  We’re going to have to know whose power works through us, and then

     consecrate ourselves to the task

II.  God Fights Battles With Strange Weapons

A.  The battle of Jericho is a case in point

1.  Not won with swords, spears and machines of war – it was won by

     faith in God

a.  Hebrews 11:30 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after

     they had been encircled for seven days. NASB95

b.  we need to understand what the marching and trumpet blowing

     evidenced – faith in God, not just weird battle tactics

2.  This is what God has done so many times

a.  why are those history lessons recorded for us?

b.  so that we will know God and be men and women of faith

B.  We need to apply these lessons to ourselves

1.  We’re in a battle to win the lost for Christ and redeem fallen people

2.  We’ve been given a weapon so powerful that it can literally change the

     hearts of men, repair damaged lives, bring joy to replace sorrow, and

     give hope where only despair lived before

a.  too many times we have ignored the power of God

b.  too often we have not consecrated ourselves to God

c.  we’re left to our own strength and wisdom and then we can’t

     figure out why we fail

C.  Here’s our weapon, but don’t miss the power behind it

1.  Romans 1:16-17 16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the

     power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first

     and also to the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed

     from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by

     faith.” NASB95

2.  Ephesians 5:17 17So then do not be foolish, but understand what the

     will of the Lord is. NASB95

3.  That weapon will never make any sense, just like marching, shouting,

     and blowing trumpets made no sense at Jericho – until we understand

     the spiritual power that works through us – a power that is God and

     the mighty army that gives us strength

Conclusion

A.  Just a few powerful lessons for us

1.  Understand who it is that is on our side

2.  Strength, confidence and assurance comes to us from God

3.  Knowing God is on our side, we must consecrate ourselves to Him

4.  Faith makes us obedient servants in the hands of God

5.  Such faithful servants can prepare to celebrate even before the battle

B.  You and I have an advantage that neither Joshua or Israel had

1.  Joshua had the captain of the Lord’s host

2.  We have the resurrected Jesus, King of kings and Lord of Lords

3.  Know the power that gives you the victory

C.  Invitation

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