June 28, 2018
"So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days." Joshua 6:14 (NIV)
I am a planner. A problem-solver.
So when I bring my struggles to the Lord in prayer, I tend to also bring my carefully thought-out ideas and suggestions He can choose from.
Here's what I think will work, Lord. I just need You to sign off on one of these, OK?
But the longer I walk with Him, the more I'm discovering that simply isn't the way God works. His ways? They aren't our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
In the sixth chapter of the book of Joshua, we find Joshua and the Israelites getting to experience this truth firsthand as they encounter a problem of epic proportions. A problem that showed up in the form of a massive wall preventing them from moving forward into their promised land.
I can't help but wonder what murmurs circled through the camp as they looked at the towering walls of Jericho. I'm sure there was no shortage of ideas or opinions on how they should tackle the problem before them.
But God didn't ask anyone for their opinion. Not even Joshua. Instead, He asked for their complete and unwavering obedience. Obedience in the face of a battle plan that would make no sense to their rational minds. A plan that actually involved no "battle" whatsoever.
All God wanted them to do was march. For six days straight, they were to march around the walls of Jericho. Then, on the seventh day of marching, they were to end with trumpet blasts and a great shout. God declared this mighty sound would bring the walls down.
What moves me most about the Israelites' part in this story isn't so much their willingness to take that first crazy step of obedience. It's how they kept taking steps of obedience. Step after step after step. Even though nothing appeared to change ... even though there wasn't a single sign of cracking or crumbling in those massive walls ... they kept marching.
What if they’d stopped after day two? Or day three? Or even day six?
Think of all they would have missed. They would have cheated themselves out of certain victory from God.
I don't say any of this casually - as if it's easy to keep going when there's no evidence of our situation changing. It’s hard to continue marching when we don’t see God move the way we thought He would. It's sometimes difficult to trust that He's working behind the scenes.
So what do we do when He asks us to move in ways that don't make sense to us? How do we keep "marching" when the situation still looks hopeless?
We make the same choice the Israelites made. We choose to walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) We take God at His Word and hold fiercely to His promises. (Hebrews 10:23)
God had promised Joshua that He would deliver Jericho, its king and army into his hands. (Joshua 6:2) And that is exactly what He did. When they marched around the city on that seventh day and gave their great shout with the blare of the trumpets, the walls fell down flat. Flat! The city was theirs for the taking. (Joshua 6:20)
Their victory never hinged on their ability or any of their well-thought-out plans. It was solely dependent on their unwavering obedience offered to a loving and mighty God.
I don't know what seemingly impossible situation is staring you in the face today, sweet friend. I don't know what crazy steps of obedience God is currently calling you to take. But let me be the gentle whisper in your ear encouraging you to keep going. Keep trusting. Keep taking step after step after obedient step.
We don't have to understand the "why" of God's ways. But we do have to keep choosing to follow them.
Let's not stop short of our victory with God. He is working things out. He is present. His plan is still good, and He can still be trusted. These are certainties even when life feels so very uncertain.
Lord, I confess that at times my heart feels discouraged when I don't see immediate results from my steps of obedience. Thank You for reminding me today that just because I can't see You moving, it doesn't mean You aren't moving. Thank You for the good plans I know You have for my life. And thank You for always leading me toward victory. Please help me as I walk by faith not sight. Day after day. Step by step. Choosing Your way above my own. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (NIV)
Have you ever needed a fresh start? We need more than a renovation or a face-lift - we need a new creation. John's Gospel is devoted to showing us how, through the life of Jesus, we can step into an entirely new beginning. Join us for our next First 5 study of the book of John, That You May Believe, starting July 2! Click here to find out more.
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Which areas in your life have you been hesitant to move in obedience to God? What steps of obedience might you need to take even though you feel weary? Join the conversation in the comments.
Ask a close friend to pray for you as you choose to move forward - one faith-filled step at a time.
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Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105