This makes me think about the Israelites and Jericho (Joshua 6). Jericho was a heavily fortified city, with high walls and soldiers. Since the Israelites had moved into the land, the city was closed up, no one entering or leaving.
Joshua and the Israelites knew that God had promised the land to them. God had already been leading them into the land and giving them victories. Now here was Jericho. The people were probably ready to defeat it and move on.
What did God say to do? He told Joshua to march around the city once. And do this each day for six days. Joshua told the people to walk around the city without speaking. (See Joshua 6:10.) So the people marched around the city, silently. They walked around those tall and thick walls, saying and doing nothing.
On the seventh day, they marched around seven times. After the seventh time, the trumpets were blown and Joshua told the people to shout. They shouted and the walls collapsed. The people moved into the city and conquered it.
As I think about this story, I wonder about the people. I wonder what they were thinking as they marched around each day. Why did God tell them to do it this way? Why didn't God collapse the walls when they first arrived?
I think maybe the people looked at those walls, seeing the formidable city for what it was. They could see how difficult conquering this city would be. By walking around silently, they could think...think about how little they could do to defeat Jericho. They could also focus on God, who He is and what He does.
When they shouted, they saw God at work. They knew that they could do nothing to take down the walls. They realized that only God could fight for them. When the walls fell, they knew that, as Joshua said, God had given them the city.
Now maybe I'm reading a lot into this story. That's a risk when you start thinking about biblical stories beyond what's written on the pages. But this makes me think about us, too.
Our faith and trust needs to be completely on God. When I see formidable tasks (and we've run into a few lately), we must not rely on our own way and our own strength. God will accomplish His will in ways He sees fit, in His time. Also, this "marching around" time helps us defeat our pride and self-reliance. It helps us to remember to whom the glory belongs (and it's not us).
Are you walking around some formidable walls? Focus on God's strength and His leadership. The walls may fall down. They may not. But God's will must be our focus.
This past week, one of my favorite verses keeps coming to mind:
I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too difficult for Me? (Jeremiah 32:27)