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Mighty Warrior--Following Orders

        A soldier in the military basically has one job.  He has to follow orders. 


        All soldiers have a Commanding Officer directly above him.  When the C.O gives an order, it is the job of a soldier to obey. 


        It is important for a soldier to trust his commanding officer.  He has to believe the CO knows what he is doing.  He must know the CO has his best interest in mind and will do all he can to ensure that the soldier is kept safe.  However, there are times when a soldier can’t see right away that the CO’s plan will actually work.  At this point, He must put his trust in the CO and obey the orders.


          There will be times while serving in God’s army when our CO will give us an order that we find unbelievable and impossible.  Sooner or later, we will get in over our heads and stuck in a position where there seems no way out.  It is at this point we need to obey our C.O’s command and trust that He knows what He is doing.  In order to understand exactly what I mean, we need to rejoin the discussion Joshua was having with his Commanding Officer just outside the city of Jericho.


Mission Impossible


          We last left Joshua bowing on his knees before his Commanding Officer.  Previously, he had been off by himself trying to figure out how his men could go about defeating their enemies in the city of Jericho.   This seemed like an impossible task because Jericho was a well-fortified town.  It boasted a massive wall which completely surrounded the city.  The wall was well over 65 feet high and thick enough to race chariots and build houses on the top.  It seemed an impossible task to find a way into this city.  As we look at 6:1, we find the task became even harder.


          Now  Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in.


          The people of Jericho were afraid of being defeated by the children of Israel.  They had heard of God’s power as He defeated the Israelite’s enemies on the other side of the Jordan.  Then they saw firsthand the awesome miracle of God dividing the water in the Jordan.  This act sent them fleeing to their city.  No one left the city out of fear.  Because of this, Joshua couldn’t slip some men inside to begin the attack.  The nation of Israel was stuck outside the walls of the city.  As far as they could see, it was impossible to defeat this enemy.  However, it is in impossible situations that God does His best work.


          2 And the Lord said to Joshua: “See!  I have given Jericho into your hand, its  king, and the mighty men of valor.


          God told Joshua that He would defeat the enemy living in Jericho.  He laid out a battle plan for Joshua.  All Joshua had to do was obey.  However, as he heard God’s plan, obedience became a little difficult.


          3 You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear seven  trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”


          If anyone else besides God had come up with this plan, Joshua probably would have thought they were crazy.  It seemed absurd to march around the city in total silence.  To do it six times seemed suicidal. 


          Think about it.  The enemy was hunkered down inside their fortress.  Israel couldn’t get at them, but they could easily pick of the Israelites one by one from the top of the wall with their archers.  This plan seemed impossible.  Even if they survived until the seventh day, how could this massive wall crumble simply because they shouted?  The only reason to even consider such a plan was because God said it and so far He had been faithful to His Word.


          Joshua had to make a decision that we all have to make at some point in our lives.  Did he believe God would do what He promised He would do no matter how impossible it seemed? 


          Jericho was an unbeatable city. 


          God said He could beat it. 


          All Joshua had to do was follow God’s odd plan, believe God could do what He said, and leave the results to Him.  This is exactly what he did.


          6 Then 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.”  And he said to the people, “Proceed, and march around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the Lord.”


          8 So it was, when Joshua had spoken to the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord advanced and blew the trumpets, and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them. 9 The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets,  and the rear guard came after the ark, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets. 10 Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout.” 11 So he had  the ark of the Lord circle the city, going around it once. Then they came into the camp and lodged in the camp.


          12 And Joshua rose early in the morning,  and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 Then seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually and blew with the trumpets. And the armed men went before them. But the rear guard came after the ark of the Lord, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets. 14 And the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. So they did six days.


          Joshua obeyed God’s commands to a T.  For six days, he and the people of Israel marched around the city of Jericho in complete silence.  As they did, God didn’t allow their enemies to harm a single one of them.  However, they had one more hurdle to pass.  Would God be able to destroy the wall simply by their shouting?


          15 But it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early, about the dawning of the day, and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only they marched around the city seven times. 16 And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city!   20 So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets.          

          And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that  the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. 21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.


          24 But they burned the city and all that was in it with fire. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. 25 And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household, and all that she had. So  she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.


          26 Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying,  “Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.”  27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout all the country.


          God did what He promised!  He did the impossible!  Israel didn’t have to knock out one stone in the wall.  God knocked it down flat.  All they had to do was obey God’s orders and trust Him to do what He promised.  The same is true for us.


          Let’s face it:  there are two types of people in this world.  There are people facing difficult circumstances and there are liars.  Everyone faces hard times in their lives.  Christians are certainly no exception.  We face hard times and impossible situations, and our enemies usually exploit them.  Like the people of Jericho, our enemies take refuge in our hard times and try to defeat us.  They don’t want us to believe God can conquer our impossible problems.  It is at these times we need to trust in God.


          The Bible tells us that nothing is impossible with God.  It says God will make a way where there seems to be no way.  It states that no weapons formed against us can prosper.  It tells us that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.  Nothing is impossible or too difficult for Him.


          We can receive words of encouragement directly from God.  Just like Joshua, we can speak directly to God.  We can hear His voice.  He can tell us what He wants to do.  He can tell us what He expects from us.  If we obey His voice and believe His commands, God will do the impossible in our lives.


          You may be thinking, “Jamie, you make it sound so easy.  You have no idea how impossible my circumstances are.  I don’t know if I have the strength to believe God will do what He says.”


          I totally get what you’re saying.  However, I do understand the difficulty.  I am writing this chapter as much to me as I am to you.  I am currently going through an extremely rough time in my life.  I feel trapped by my circumstances and like there is no way out.  The wall before me seems like it reaches to the Heavens and stretches as far as the eye can see.  I see no way to move forward and I have nothing to go back to.  The only thing I can do is look to God for help.


          While spending hours in prayer before God, I felt Him speak to me.  I felt He told me what He was going to do.  I felt Him say He is going to move with such speed and power it will make my head spin.  He told me to gather extra memorial stones because He was going to do mighty things in my life.  He told me a few other things to do as I wait on His timing.  Writing this chapter is one of them. 


          I am basically in the same shoes as Joshua.  I am in an impossible situation and see no way out.  God told me He can help me by doing the impossible.  I must decide to believe I heard God speak to me, believe He will do what He said, and learn to trust completely in Him.  My controlling nature wants it to end right away.  I want to know exactly what will happen and make sure it turns out exactly as I want.  However, I have to let go, obey God, and let the rest to Him, believing He will do what He promised.  Like Joshua, I have to get up each day and do what I felt God told me to do and depend on Him for the rest.  It isn’t easy, but it is what I must do to enter His promises and defeat my enemies.


          One thing I have done to help me is assemble a CD of songs that helps bolster my faith.  As we bring this chapter to a close, I want to share with you the words of one of the songs that has given me great strength and hope.  It has helped me to believe God will do what He promised.  It is called “Believe Me Now” by Steven Curtis Chapman.  As you read the words, imagine God speaking them directly to you.


          “I watch you looking out across the raging waters, so sure your only hope lies on the other side.  You feel the enemy is closing in around you.  I know you don’t have the strength to fight, but do you have the faith to stand.


           And believe Me now, believe Me here, remember all the times I told you loud and clear ‘I am with you, I am for you.’ So believe Me now.


           I AM the One Who waved a hand and split the ocean.  I AM the One Who spoke a word and raised the dead, and I loved you long before I set the world in motion.  I know all the fears you’re feeling now, but do you remember Who I AM?

Do you believe Me now?  Believe Me here?  Remember all the times I told you loud and clear that I AM with you, I AM for you?  Do you believe Me now?  Believe it’s true?  I never have, I never will abandon you?  The God that I have always been will I forever Be.  So believe Me now.


         I AM the God Who never wastes a single hurt that you endure.  My words are true and all My promises are sure.  So believe Me now.  I AM with you. I AM for you,


        Believe Me now.”


Decision Time


          We have looked a tough issue in this chapter.  It is a topic that doesn’t come easily to any of us.  We all face impossible situations, yet we all serve a God Who says nothing is impossible to Him.  This chapter boils down to a few simple questions we must all answer so we can defeat our enemies, be free of our impossible situations, and enter into God’s promises.


          Will we believe God will do what He promised to do no matter how impossible it seems? 


          Will we seek God’s deliverance from our impossible situations? 


          Will we obey any and all commands He gives us no matter how ridiculous or impossible it seems? 


          Will we obey God and submit to His commands, leaving the rest to Him?  We all need to make these decisions.  No one can make them for us.  Will you believe God now?


   War Drills:


1.  Spend time seeking God’s will concerning your impossible circumstances.  Then obey His commands and trust Him to do the rest.


2.  Assemble a CD of songs or a list of Scripture verses that you can turn to when feeling down or weak.  Allow them to encourage you and give you strength.

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