Old Testament passage for Friday, April 12, 2013: Joshua 5:1-7:15
1 Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. 2 And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. 3 You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.” Joshua 6:1-5 (NKJV)
Jericho is more than a city. It represents the first and greatest barrier to your growth in God. No sooner do you pass through Jordan (baptism) than you are confronted with a major challenge. Twelve miles into YOUR territory sits a city that defies the will of God. Once a person is truly saved, Satan wants nothing more than to confine you, to minimalize you, to limit you. Satan wants to keep you from fulfilling your destiny which is to enter and possess the Land of Promise.
The geographic city of Jericho sits about 12 miles west of the Jordan River. The meaning of "Jericho" is "city of the moon." It was given to occultic practices of divination and astrology. Deuteronomy 18 says that these practices are an "abomination" to God. He says,
9 “When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who ... practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord. Deuteronomy 18: 9-12 (NKJV)
Jericho is more than a center of occultic practices. We could take time to address the dangers of seances and occultic practices. The Scripture is clear about things like that. But, we will summarize by saying that occultic practices have not part of the the territory God has for you. We have something far better. We have Jesus; we have the Holy Spirit; we have the Bible. We can fulfill our destiny without resorting to strange practices that the world thinks are mystical and "cool".
Jericho is far more than occultism. It represents a STRONGHOLD that defied the rule of God. Satan would like nothing more than to limit the follower of Jesus to a small sliver of the Promised Land. If Satan can't keep you out of the land, his next best strategy is to keep you in the 12 mile sliver between Jordan and Jericho. In my experience, far too many followers of Jesus Christ have been limited to the bare minimum of the Promised Land. Because they never conquer Jericho, they live in a small portion of what God has for them.
It is time to pull down the strongholds. II Corinthians 10 speaks to this:
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds [Jericho], 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, II Corinthians 10:4-5 (NKJV)
Jericho represents strongholds of resistance to the rule of God in your life. These strongholds are tenacious, they are entrenched, they are fortified. Ed Silvoso defines a stronghold as, "a mindset impregnated with hopelessness that causes us to accept something we know is contrary to the will of God."
If there is anything I want to write to you today it is this: God wants you to overcome your Jerichos. It can be done. These resistant strongholds seem SO STRONG, but they will come down and you will enter and possess the territory God has promised you.
There are several aspects to the victory over Jericho that bear our attention and study. I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to open to you how this victory was secured. In the words of Paul:
Think over these things I am saying [understand them and grasp their application], for the Lord will grant you full insight and understanding in everything. II Timothy 2:7 (Amplified)
Here is a summary:
1. Israel marched around Jericho for 7 days. (Not an instantateous victory. Requires a certain time frame)
2. The priests blew trumpets every day as they marched. (Trumpets symbolize the DECLARED WORD OF GOD. It is the confession of the Word of God -- both the written Word and the "now" quickened Word that the Holy Spirit releases through you in agreeement with His written Word)
3. No one spoke a word during those 7 days. (No personal opinions or attitudes allowed. No grumbling or personal squabbles. Shut up and listen to God)
4. On the seventh day, at the signal of the long trumpet blast, they all shouted. (Power released from unified declaration of what God says. We can't do this alone. When two or more agree, power is released)
Result: barriers came down!
Scholars have pondered how the miracle took place. How could these incredibly thick walls just collapse? Some have said that there was a fault line underneath Jericho, and the seismic effect of 3 million people marching caused an earthquake. Some have said that God sent an angel to sit down on those walls and thereby crush them.
I don't know. All I know is that God won!
And you can win too. God wants us to move into our Land of Promise. It will require a miracle to fulfill your destiny. God is in the miracle-making business. Despite the obvious challenge of Jericho, God has the plan for you to win. The land lies before us. May we walk with Him and see ALL strongholds cast down and destroyed in the name of Jesus.