Around the City
Joshua 6:3-4 – And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
The children of Israel had finally crossed Jordan into the Promised Land after wandering 40-years in the wilderness. Moses was gone from the scene now, and Joshua was the new leader. He had instructions from the Lord concerning Jericho, a mighty walled city that was completely shut up to invaders. And what were his instructions? To walk. Now that seems simple enough, doesn’t it? On day one, the two million (and more) Israelites walked around the walled city of Jericho without uttering a sound. I can only imagine the eerie silence, not only among the Israelites, but those of Jericho who watched. I can only wonder how much time it took for that many people to make the walk. On day two, the same thing occurred. Then again on days three, four, and five. By the end of the walk on day six, the tension must have been reaching a peak. The silence from Israel had remained in effect, and I am sure the tension within the gates was enormous.
Then came the seventh day, and with it, a change in the service order. On this day, there would be seven silent trips around Jericho, and then the priests would blow the ram’s horns, and the people would charge up into the city over top the walls that had fallen down flat. What a marvelous sight to see! The great walls of Jericho, so high and so thick no army could penetrate or overcome them, fallen down flat. And all that was required for this great sight to be seen was to walk with the Lord in silent obedience to what He had commanded.
I have no doubt in my mind that rushing over the fallen Jericho walls was both exhilarating and rewarding to the children of Israel. I am sure they enjoyed the great victory on the seventh day and all the spoils of war it brought. I am likewise certain that their celebration, including exuberant worship of the Lord, was passionate and joyful. But what I still question is what was going through their minds during seven days of silent walking over the same ground, again and again. Allow me these concluding thoughts. It’s easy to shout when the victory is plainly laid before you. It’s easy to shout when everyone around you is shouting in joyous victory. But when you must walk in desert heat and dust, day after day, step after step, silently, following the instruction of the Lord received days earlier, it requires endurance, patience, and steadfast commitment. Walking can be the hard part. Take a walk.
Manna for Today – Psalm 1:1-6; 1 John 1:7-9; Daniel 3:1-30; Joshua 6