Tumbling Walls

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Joshua’s battle against the Canaanite city of Jericho is one of the great stories of all time.

The battle strategy that God proposes is, to put it mildly, non-traditional:

“Here’s what you are to do: March around the city, all your soldiers. Circle the city once. Repeat this for six days. Have seven priests carry seven ram’s horn trumpets in front of the Chest. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, the priests blowing away on the trumpets. And then, a long blast on the ram’s horn—when you hear that, all the people are to shout at the top of their lungs. The city wall will collapse at once. All the people are to enter, every man straight on in.” (Joshua 6:3-5)

Jericho was not what we would call a bustling metropolis.  At this period of history it probably occupied less than a dozen acres.  To get a good feel for the task, imagine walking around the perimeter of a large shopping mall.

Although the city was comparatively small, it was formidable.  Jericho was enclosed by a double wall that was nine feet thick.

So what is God’s tactic for coming against this stronghold?  It’s walking, shouting, and deploying the brass section of the symphony orchestra. 


If we want to experience God’s power, we will have to take the risk of obedience –  actually doing what God says.

God may ask us to do things that will cause other people to say, “That’s nuts.”

Others might say, “It’s time to walk away from your marriage.  You should enjoy life on your own terms, and if anyone deserves happiness, it’s you.”  God tells us to wait longer than we ever thought possible.

Others might say, “Don’t hold out for some ideal job.  Take the best offer.  If you’re unhappy, you can always jump ship and go somewhere else.” God reminds us that his call isn’t necessarily equated with the best paycheck, and that it’s worth waiting for a chance to use our gifts and passions. 

Others might say, “Stop hoping you can ever make things right with that person who hurt you.  Everyone knows he’s a jerk.”  God tells us not to give up the dream of reconciliation just because it’s hard.    

The hard part is the waiting. 

For six days the Israelites walk around Jericho.  And nothing happens. 

The walls are nine feet thick.  What is all this walking accomplishing?  It’s hard to keep hoping when nothing changes.  It’s hard to keep loving when you aren’t loved back.

But God says, “Don’t give up.  It’s never a bad idea to keep doing what you know is right.  You may not see anything happening.  But don’t forget:  I’m in the middle of everything.”

The Israelites keep walking.  They blow their ram’s horns.  They shout. 

And the walls came a-tumbling down.