Conquering The Walled City Of Our Heart

Two weeks ago, I gave you an important definition of Biblical Faith. 

 Faith = Right Belief + Repentance (living in allegiance to God).

 The Bible is filled with many stories recounting the total lack of faith by the Israelites.  That lack of faith was on full display throughout the entire time Moses was trying to lead them.  However, the book of Joshua records a different season in the history of the Israelites, and Joshua 6 is a prime example.  The Book of Hebrews tells us, “30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days”(Hebrews 11:30).  This was not just a statement about Joshua’s faith, but the faith of Israel collectively.

Therefore, today I want us to look carefully into this story so we can see more deeply into this testimony of faith.  It’s actually a much bigger story than the walls falling down, and it leads us into rich and encouraging lessons about what it means to have FAITH in God; to follow Him into battle; to trust Him to do what we cannot—change our hearts!  So, let’s look at the testimony of the faith of Joshua and the Israelites in the battle of Jericho.

 The first key testimony of Biblical faith covers most of the chapter …

 The people were so unified by their trust in God that they were willing to follow a seemingly foolish plan that offered them no personal gain. (6:1-21)

 1 Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. 2 And the LORD said to Joshua, "See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.

Practically, when God says, “See,” he’s pointing out to Joshua that He’s caused them to all be in one place, so you don’t have to chase them all over the Promised Land.God is saying, “I’ve made things really simple for you Joshua.  I’ve put them all in one spot so you can defeat them all at one time!”

However, as we will see in a later battle in Joshua, as a military strategist and leader, from Joshua’s current perspective having them outside the city would have actually made things a lot easier! Let me explain.

The King of Jericho had heard about what the God of Israel did through them in conquering the Kings on the east side of the Jordan. The King also knew the city had been spied out by the Israelites; and later heard about the Jordan River miraculously drying up for the people of Israel to cross, then instantly return after they finished.  In other words, there was no doubt in his mind they were coming for Jericho, and therefore, it’s to no surprise then, that the King of Jericho immediately enacted their highly proven defense plan.

Jericho was a walled city built on a hill. The walls certainly served a daily purpose of helping the city defend itself against robbers, but its ultimate purpose was to defend itself against the inevitable king who would show up with his army to try and take the city and its resources.  The walls created a scenario whereby the only way a city could be defeated was either by penetrating the gates or by siege.

Penetrating the gates was a particularly hazardous venture. Those who tried to bust the gates open were sitting ducks for the people above them on the wall to reign down all kinds of death and destruction.  Even if an army could survive the deluge of terror while they attacked the gates and broke them open, they then found themselves in an even more vulnerable position.  Most city gates were formed at the front and sometimes even at the back of a corridor, meaning an invader had to massively decrease the size of their formation to funnel through it into the city.  This massive narrowing made it easier for the soldiers on the walls above the corridor, as well as the soldiers in a formation just inside the city, to significantly outnumber the formation of soldiers who could fit through the corridor.  The result of knocking down a gate was that the front of the invading force would now face a wall of arrows, spears, rocks, and every other kind of deadly flying object, not only from the walls above but also from the much larger force inside the city!  It was a way of outnumbering the amount of people who could come against your city. Even if an invader had ten times the number of soldiers as the city, the width of the gates only allowed a small number to enter at one time.

Therefore, the optimal way to defeat a walled city was to lay siege on it. In laying siege on a city an army would essentially cut the city off from the outside world in an attempt to starve them into submission or force their army to come out of the city and fight them on open ground.  However, as an army laid siege to a city, they themselves were vulnerable to attack from allies of the city.  Allies could cut off the invaders' access to supplies as well as assault them.  Siege armies could quickly find themselves in an ambush with the ally of the city attacking them from the rear, while the city itself sent out its army to attack them from the front.

The point is, as scared as the King of Jericho likely was, he had a proven defense plan that had been tested and well-established for centuries and he executed it. Therefore, for Joshua to hear God say I’ve put them all in one spot for you to take, was not an encouraging statement in and of itself.  In and of itself, it was actually a discouraging statement!  Have you ever had somebody do that “for you.”  In the name of “helping you,” they confidently and energetically did something that made your life more difficult, all with a smile on their face!  At this point in the story, it would be totally understandable if Joshua felt that way because Joshua, nor the King of Jericho, could have ever imagined what God was going to do!  But, here were God’s instructions to Joshua,

3 You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. 4 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. 5 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."

Let me explain a few things about this plan.

  1. The symbolism.

a. “The role of the priests, the use of the ark of the covenant, and the number of days (seven) indicate these instructions are ritual in nature. … The number seven is used symbolically in Scripture to denote completeness or totality (for example, the Sabbath week).”9[1] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Jos 6:1–5). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

b. “The first instruction that the army was to march around the city about 650 yds (600 m) once a day for six days served notice that the divine King was marking out the city as his.”10[2] Waltke, B. K. (1994). Joshua. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st-century edition(4th ed., p. 243). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

  1. The use of a band.

a. “Chapter 6 uses three different Hebrew terms for horns or trumpets: qeren, shophar, yovel. All three are animal horns. The qeren is described as an instrument of sound in v. 5. The shophar was often used in warfare for signals. The yovel was also used to signal, though apparently not in war (Exod 19:13). Shophar is used 14 times in Josh 6, which focuses on warfare. 6:5 on the horn of the ramRefers to a qeren[1]

b.“Here, too, it is worthy of remark, that the instruments given to the priests to blow with, are not the silver trumpets deposited in the sanctuary, but merely rams’ horns. The sound of the sacred trumpetswould certainly have inspired more confidence, but a better proof of obedience was given, when they were contented with the vulgar symbol.” 11[1] Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (2010). Commentary on the Book of Joshua (pp. 91–101). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

  1. The conclusion.

a. The conclusion of this plan sounds incredibly exciting.As I just explained, the walls falling down resolved a huge problem!  As J.E. Smith notes,

b. “At whatever point in the procession an Israelite soldier might find himself, he would be able to move straight ahead into the city.”

 c. In addition, when the walls fell, many of Jericho’s soldiers would have likely been killed or seriously injured because most of them would have likely been strung out all along the top of the city walls watching the Jewish military marching band go around them!

Ok, so what’s the problem? If you had any skepticism or cynicism at all, then you would have laughed at this plan, but Joshua didn’t! Joshua had no reason for skepticism or cynicism because of what He had already seen God do!  If God could do what He did in Egypt with all the different plagues and demonstrations of His wrath to get Pharaoh to set them free; if He could part the Red Sea; if He could bring water from a rock; if He could miraculously make a bread called manna appear on the ground no matter where they went; if He could cause a nomadic tribe with little to no military equipment to defeat the mighty kings on the east side of the Jordan; and if He could instantly dry up the flooded Jordan River, then making Jericho’s walls fall down was no problem for God either!  Therefore, Joshua obeys God’s command just as he had done every other time God gave one!

6 So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, "Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD." 7 And he said to the people, "Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the LORD." 8 And just as Joshua had commanded the people, the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the LORD went forward, blowing the trumpets, with the ark of the covenant of the LORD following them. 9 The armed men were walking before the priests who were blowing the trumpets, and the rear guard was walking after the ark, while the trumpets blew continually. 10 But Joshua commanded the people, "You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout." 

Joshua calls for complete silence on the part of those forming the procession as they march around Jericho (6:10). He is insistent in this matter, employing a triple negative in the command. Joshua literally says to the marchers, ‘Do not shout … Do not let your voice be heard … Do not let a word go out of your mouth.’ The only sound that is to be made is the continual blowing of the trumpets by the priests.”12[1] Currid, J. D. (2011). Strong and Courageous: Joshua Simply Explained (p. 84). Darlington, England; Carlisle, PA: EP Books.

Now here’s where things could have got wonky for Joshua! Sitting here in the 21st century we think the strategy of walking around a city sounds silly, but to those who lived in an age of walled cities, the strategy would have seemed outlandish!!!  Consistently spreading your army around a city was tactically foolish!  If your military is strung out in a line as Joshua told them God instructed them to do, then it can be rapidly chewed up by an assault force coming out of the city! John Calvin notes,

Note: “There was another subject of care and doubt, which might have crept into their minds. Should the inhabitants of the city suddenly sally forth, the army would, without difficulty, be put to the rout, while, in long straggling lines, it was proceeding round the city, without any regular arrangement that might have enabled it to repel a hostile assault. But here, also, whatever anxiety they might have felt, they behoved to cast it upon God; for sacred is the security which reclines on his providence. 13[1] Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (2010). Commentary on the Book of Joshua (pp. 91–101). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Furthermore, on the last day Joshua tells them God wants them to walk around the city seven times.Scholars believe it was at least a 650-yard walk around the city.14[2] Waltke, B. K. (1994). Joshua. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition(4th ed., p. 243). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.  Therefore, to walk around it seven times would mean walking 10.34 miles!  Granted, these were nomadic people who were used to walking long distances, but the idea that you’re going to walk 10-plus miles, then run into a city to engage in hand-to-hand combat doesn’t sound tactically advantageous.  Get yourselves good and tired, then go fight!

But, in Joshua 2 we find out the people west of the Jordan are in total FEAR of Israel and their God, therefore they have no intention of coming out against them while they march in a vulnerable formation around the city.  More importantly, however, the people of Israel are FINALLY at a place of trusting God to do what He says He’s going to do.  This is key to properly understanding what is happening here. The people of Israel just saw God instantly dry up the Jordan River so they could cross it on dry land, and as such, they are willing to energetically follow whatever instructions God gives them! The people are saying, “If you want us to walk around in a vulnerable formation then we will do it!  If you want us to get tired before the battle then we will do it!  Whatever you want us to do, we will do it because we believe you are worthy to be trusted and obeyed!”

There was unity not in themselves, but rather in their universally held belief that not only had God raised up Joshua to lead them, but that if God said He was going to do something, then He was going to do it!Therefore, even though they are totally confident God had raised up Joshua to lead them, and as such they would follow Joshua anywhere, at the end of the day, its not because of their faith in Joshua, but rather in the God that is using Joshua, that they are willing to confidently move forward!  Here’s how it all went down!

11 So he caused the ark of the LORD to circle the city, going about it once. And they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp. 12 Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD. 13 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 armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets blew continually. 14 And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days. 15 On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. 16 And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, "Shout, for the LORD has given you the city.  17 And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. 18 But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. 19 But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD." 20 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. 21 Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword.

Next week as we go through Joshua 7 we are going to have to come back to a key part of this passage, so for now, I just want to point it out in the context of how it could have created division. Let’s look at it again, starting with verse 16,

16 And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, "Shout, for the LORD, has given you the city. 17 And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live because she hid the messengers whom we sent. 18 But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. 19 But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD."

“… everything within the city belonged to God either to be used in his worship or destroyed. In this case all metallic objects were to be considered holy, i.e., set apart for God, and therefore placed in the treasury of the Lord. No captives were to be taken. All human inhabitants and animals were to be slain. To confiscate for private use anything within the city would bring a curse on the camp. The only exception to these general rules was Rahab. Since she had hidden the Israelites spies, Rahab and her family were to be spared (6:16–19).”15[1] Smith, J. E. (1995). The Books of History (pp. 70–71). Joplin, MO: College Press.  

So, Joshua says God has given you the city (verse 16) to conquer, however, you can’t have anything in it! Minus Rahab and her house (more on that in a minute), everybody and everything is supposed to be destroyed and all the silver, gold bronze and iron are to go into the treasury of the LORD.Given this was a theocracy, this practically meant everything of metallic value was going to the central government that funded the national interests of the nation.  More importantly however, it meant that God was saying I’m giving you the Promised Land, but the first fruits of the land are not going to belong to whichever tribe can recover them in battle, but rather, to the God that brings together all of the tribes of Israel as one nation and gives them this land!  God was saying, your national identity as My people is more important than your tribal identity because I’m most important.  Therefore, even though I’ve given you this city, you’re still going to acknowledge Who gave it you by taking nothing from it and committing all the metal to Me!

Now understand, these are nomadic people!  They don’t have sustainable methods of providing resources, therefore, in destroying everything, including the city itself, they were trusting God to provide for them as they moved forward to conquer the rest of the land of Jericho.  In other words, this could have easily become a point of protest by the people.  The leaders of Israel could have said, “Hold on a minute Joshua, we are going to go in there and lose men, but you don’t want us to take anything back to our tribes?” 

The fact that there was no record of any division in Israel in all of this was huge. Their history was division and doubt, not unity and faith!  Therefore, it is no wonder the Bible makes note of the faith of Israel in Hebrews 11.  This was no small matter at all.  They had every justifiable reason in the world to question Joshua’s leadership and doubt God, but they didn’t do either.  Why?  Because they actually decided to respond to the revelation of God’s power and glory in the way we should always do so—total allegiance to HIM!  If God says march around the city in a way that makes you vulnerable to attack, then that’s what we are going to do!  If God says to exhaust yourselves in battle and take nothing to reward yourself for your extremely sacrificial effort, then that’s what we are going to do.  Now, there was one person in Israel who broke this command, but again, we will get into that in chapter 7.  But minus the one in two million, the entire rest of the nation was all in!

For you and I, this gets even bigger. The testimony of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is complete foolishness to so many people, but to those who believe what God has said about it, it’s the highest motivation in the universe to be united in something that absolutely benefits us but isn’t about us!  Its why Jesus said,

22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.  25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.  26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:22-26)

There is no greater benefit than the benefit given to us through Calvary; no greater benefit than the Glory of God that comes to us through Christ, but it is a benefit that requires us to give up our allegiance to this world and the things of this world to experience.His glory may provide us no glory at all from this world, but to those who have His glory, they can’t imagine the glories of this world to ever compare to what they have in Christ anyway.  Therefore, there is nothing that could keep us united more than the glory of God in Jesus that He has revealed to all who are in Him!  It’s why Paul wrote,

8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith-- 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, (Philippians 3:8-10)

The second key testimony of Biblical faith in Joshua 6 is that …

 In the middle of extreme chaos and danger Joshua faithfully obeys the Lord and risks the lives of the two spies to rescue Rahab and her family.

22 But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, "Go into the prostitute's house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her." 23 So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel. 24 And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. 25 But Rahab the prostitute and her father's household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

 This can’t be missed.It’s easy to keep your word when its easy, but when things get difficult the temptation to break our commitments becomes massive.  For these two spies the task at hand was daunting.  They have to fight their way through whatever soldiers remain inside the city, not to mention all the civilians who likely outnumbered the soldiers anyway, but now realize they can either fight or die.

So why are they doing this? Because they swore an oath to do so.  It didn’t matter if it cost them their lives, they told Rahab if she didn’t expose them to the authorities, and hung the scarlet chord in her window, all who were in her house would be spared.  But some could have easily argued, Rahab was just a pagan harlot, not to mention part of the city they were there to destroy; therefore, they didn’t need to keep their word. Furthermore, the family members they were risking their lives to save, who were they anyway?  They didn’t help the spies!  For all they knew, they could have been some of the ones in Canaan who sacrificed babies!

However, the Bible makes no room for a lack of character, and nothing defines a lack of character more than a person who only upholds their commitments when its easy!It’s why we read about integrity so much in the Proverbs,

 3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. (Proverbs 11:3)

 22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight. (Proverbs 12:22)

 6 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways. (Proverbs 28:6)

Ultimately, however, the Law of God is love, and love makes no room for us to go against our word. If we make a commitment, God’s love requires us to keep it!  Love can’t justify betrayal!  It's why John wrote,

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:7-11)

Therefore, if you and I claim to know the love of Christ, then we can’t also rationalize excuses to not be somebody that people can count on to keep their word, especially when its hard!

Furthermore, isn’t it also cool to see that Rahab kept her word! She not only didn’t expose the spies, but she never abandoned God or His people, nor did God and His people abandon her!  At the writing of this book Rahab and her family were fully committed citizens of Israel.  Rahab who was once a prostitute, and everybody likely knew it, ends up marrying an Israelite man named Salmon.  They have a son named Boaz who one day marries another woman of pagan heritage named Ruth.  Long story short, in the lineage of the most important King in the Old Testament (David), and more importantly the King of all Kings (Jesus), you end up finding a former pagan prostitute named Rahab!

Finally,I want to quickly point out a third key testimony of Biblical faith in Joshua 6

 Joshua faithfully declared that God’s instructions can never be changed!


26 Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, "Cursed before the LORD be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho. "At the cost of his firstborn shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set up its gates." 27 So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.

The location of Jericho was strategically located. K. Waltke notes,

 “Jericho (modern Tell es-Sultan), probably dedicated to the moon god (its name means ‘moon city’), was strategically located, having a large oasis in a region where water was precious and controlling the main roads into the interior.”16[1] Waltke, B. K. (1994). Joshua. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition(4th ed., p. 243). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

However, God had ordered it to be completely destroyed, never again to be rebuilt and inhabited by Israel. It was literally set apart for the Lord.  Therefore, Joshua made all of Israel vow to leave it destroyed, and as such, no matter which tribe ended up receiving the land Jericho was on, they would leave it desolated, unrestored, and unoccupied despite its strategic location.

There would be none of the carpetbagging stuff going on in Maui where people are trying to take advantage of people who just lost everything they owned in a fire. Interestingly, centuries later, an Israelite tested the vow the people of Israel made before the Lord,

34 In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun. (1 Kings 16:34)

Challenge: What’s the walled city of sin in your life that Jesus has given to you to defeat, but you haven’t obeyed Him and experienced the victory yet?

 Let’s just be honest, Sometimes in our life there are areas of sin that might as well be a walled city.   There’s no way we can overcome them because at the end of the day, it’s who we are.  It looks impossible to win, so we just decide to leave it buried deep within us by covering it up with victories everywhere else. But here’s the deal.  As we saw a minute ago, Jericho was not only a walled city, it was also a city strategically located at the intersection of some of the major trade routes in the region.  Therefore, as long as Jericho stood, the enemy had a safe place to mobilize resources and attack them!

Now here’s where this pattern becomes particularly spiritually dangerous. We ignore the condition of our heart and focus on our outward actions in hopes that if we can win enough battles, the condition of our heart just won’t matter anymore!  And by “our heart” let me clarify what I mean.  I’m talking about who you truly see yourself to be, what you really value, and how you truly feel and think about God, others and life itself.

Interestingly, through religious discipline, we can change our outward actions.  The more disciplined of a person we are, the more we can conform our outward words and actions to match up to whatever standard we believe we should match.  However, there’s something we can’t change through discipline and conformity—our hearts!

An arrogant person can act humble but he’s still arrogant unless God changes him.

A man who views women as sexual objects for his own pleasure can change his sexual habits, but he can’t change his view of women.

A person who defines their sense of self-worth and value through what they can achieve, can change their mission in life to something more virtuous and meaningful to society and even God, but they are still trapped in the prison of defining themselves by their ability to achieve success.

All of these are matters of the heart and no outward effort can change the heart.  The heart is a walled city that our religious efforts can never conquer!  But this is why Jesus came.  He came to do what no religion could ever accomplish.  The entire purpose of the New Covenant is that God would change our hearts.  God didn’t send Jesus just to teach us a different way to live, He sent Jesus to change who we are—our hearts!

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds," (Hebrews 10:15-16)

However, like Jericho, even though God is the one who does what we can’t, in that He’s the one who makes the walls fall down, we are still called to participate!  We are still called to walk around the city with Him!  We are still called to attack when the walls come down!

Its why we read,

2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

Did you see the faithful action I’m called to in those passages?  In Romans 12 I’m told to change the way I think so that I can be transformed!  If I want to conquer the sinful walls of my heart, then I need to be faithful to walk with God around it, then invade it with His truth!  When the Holy Spirit brings the walls down that guard my sinful heart from being conquered, then I need to respond with diligence to learn the Gospel and be transformed by the truth!  I need to let who I am be conquered by who He says I am, and what He says I was made for!  I’ve got to turn my identity squarely into, and be governed by, what is true, and right, and pure (Philippians 4:8), instead of all the lies of sin and religion!   Who I see myself to be (my heart) will change as I walk around the city with God focused on knowing Him; letting His truth not only lead my steps, but also govern my thoughts.

Its why Paul wrote this to the believers in Ephesus,

20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!-- 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:20-24)

 He destroys the walls, and He gives us a new life, but we have to put it on!  We have to be transformed by walking in the life He has already won for us!  We have to be willing to walk with Him around the city!  We have to be willing to invade and conquer the cities of our life that He has already destroyed the walls and called us to surrender to Him so that He can replace them with His life!


Discussion Questions

  • What was unorthodox about the plan to capture Jericho?
  • What were the risks both in capturing Jericho as well as in rescuing Rahab’s family?
  • Why would the people have to demonstrate faith to follow Joshua’s plan?
  • Why were the people able to see that their faith was not in Joshua, but in God? (Think about previous chapters and how God exalted Joshua in the eyes of Israel.)
  • How would you have reacted if you had been an Israelite soldier and heard of the plan to capture Jericho?
  • How did faith produce unity in the people of Israel?
  • How has faith united you with others in your own life?
  • Does faith always entail taking risks?
  • What is an insurmountable obstacle in your life that will require you to act in faith?
  • What are some necessary risks in demonstrating obedience and faith in your own life?