Clashing and clobbering. Pounding and pummeling. Battering and beating. A storm of arrows, a blizzard of spears, and a tempest of lances. Soldiers screaming, grown men squealing, and opponents snarling. Slashing words, clinking chain armor, and heavy battle axes.
Think Braveheart, Gladiator, 300, and Black Hawk Down.
Action! Action! Action!
These are the kinds of movies that keep this girl on the edge of my little loveseat and off my phone. Put on the Rom-Com’s, and I’m all scrolling and snoozes. Give me all the suspense, all the intrigue, and all of the fast-paced combat! I can pass on the blood, but give me the big battles and the honorable heroes; girl loves her some happenin’ action!
So when I think about the Battle of Jericho being turned into a full-length movie, I get a bit of a nervous giggle. And though I don’t know this for sure, I imagine there are probably zero producers who are currently vying to pitch this film idea to Time Warner and Sony… and even fewer people who would pay the $12.50 to watch it on the big screen.
Sorry, but the Battle of Jericho just isn’t motion picture material.
Let me set the scene for you (be sure to read the whole passage found in Joshua 6).
The Israelites have been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years; their long-time leader (Moses) has just died; Joshua has taken the reigns as leader; and the people of God are FINALLY ready to enter Canaan, their promised land.
But when the people get to the land, they are met with a Fort Knox-like city. Think fortified walls, high ramparts, and super-big, concrete gates.
“Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in.“
Track with me for a second.
Can you imagine driving all the way from Dayton, Ohio to Orlando, Florida with no air conditioning and small, whiny children in the backseat of a minivan with no air conditioning, only to pull up to Disney World and find the Magic Castle barricaded with a fortified wall. OH. MY. WORD. Devastation doesn’t even seem to cut it when I think about that scene. You’ve driven that whole way (13 hours and 50 minutes of driving time + 9 hours of pee stops); you’ve waited, endured, and hoped that entire time; and you pull up to your promised vacation and ain’t nobody gettin’ in or out?!?! SHOOT ME IN THE EYE; this is the stuff of nightmares.
Seriously, friends. That sounds bad, right? But imagine wandering around the hot, dirty desert for 40 years (a tad longer and more grueling than a trip from Ohio to Florida)… only to find your promise-fulfilled destination occupied by an enemy whose city is in lock-down mode?! I can’t even imagine the devastation they must have felt as they looked upon those high walls and barricaded doors. AWFUL. I imagine it felt a bit like “Red Sea deja vu.” They finally escape the hot and hard only to find another
water wall brick wall.
So what happens next?
“And the Lord said to Joshua… ‘You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days.'”
WAIT A MINUTE. Hold up. The Lord tells them to march around the city once a day for six days?! That’s the plan? That sounds more like a 30 Day Shred than a battle strategy to me!
Truly, if I had been one of the Israelites, I imagine I’d be the one that either tore my tunic to pieces, gouged both of my eyeballs out at once, or pronounced for all to hear, “Bye
But then the Lord gives a few more instructions to Joshua and His people.
“Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.”
Marching? In circles? For one week? Blasting horns on day seven after seven city laps? Shouting in unison? And then falling walls?
Again, as I mentioned before, this is not the stuff that overwhelms the box offices.
So what does Joshua and his company do?
“Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually… And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days.”
Did you catch that? They obeyed, AND they rose early. There was no complaining, no rebuttals, no eye-rolling, and no sleeping in. They followed their orders, trusted their commander, and started silently marching… entrusting the results to Him.
And just as the Lord promised…
“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.”
Okay, okay… so maybe it would be pretty cool to watch that final scene on the big screen! Horns blow and the walls fall? CRAZY!
But really? Why is this even called a battle? We’ve got a glorified marching band truckin’ around a big-walled city for most of the chapter.
Friends, it’s called a battle because it was the Lord’s battle. All on His own and with only His mighty arm, He was the ONE who designed, fought, and won the battle.
And ya know what? He wanted it that way. Why? Because He wanted His people to know they didn’t need to wield swords and swing axes to conquer. He wanted them to know that the only things necessary to bring to battle were FAITH and OBEDIENCE. He didn’t want them to trust in their abilities or their strength, and He didn’t want them to rely on their strategies or their wit. He wanted them to remember that their power source was outside of themselves… hidden in Him.
Hopers, I don’t know what battles you’ll face in 2018, but here is what I do know…
If God can use a parade of obedient, horn-blowing marchers, He can use anyone and anything to win the battles and conquer the walls before you. You don’t need to “do it all right” or “be all the things.” You need only to believe and obey, trust and wait, follow and march. Because at just the right time, the walls will fall and the battles will be won. And though it might not look like you thought it would… in the timing you had hoped… or in the manner you thought it might work best, He will continue to remain faithful to you, to the battles, and to His name.
And though I can’t prove this, I wonder if Joshua (when told to march in silence around the walls of Jericho) remembered the words of Moses when they were standing at the edge of a giant wall of water with Pharaoh and his armyquickly approaching.
“But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.'”
Friend, may 2018 increase your belief in His ability to battle and fortify your trust in His track record of faithfulness. To God be the glory, great walls He will fall!