Faith Is The Victory

Hebrews 11:30: "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about
for seven days.
"

The Israelites faced Jericho which was a walled city and heavily fortified so much so that the chosen people
of God could see no way to penetrate its walls.

Jericho is known as the oldest city in the world of Joshua's day,
It was surrounded by a system of two massive stone walls.
The outer wall was 6 ft. thick and about 20 ft. high.
The inner wall was about 12 ft. thick and was 30 ft. high.
Between the walls was a guarded walkway about 15 ft. wide.
Israel's problem was that they had a city to conquer, but there were some extremely huge walls in the way.

So, Jericho is not some small, backward city.
The citizens of Jericho are modern in their life and customs.
They are cultured and educated and have very efficient way of life.

The people of God are just out of the wilderness, and they cannot, in their condition,
hope to appeal to a city like Jericho.
So there were those who probably suggested that they setup their tabernacle, and make many changes.
They probably suggested that they study the most modern ways and methods as to how they live in Jericho,
and then, they should adapt their whole system to meet their needs so that they would not insult their intelligence.

Some may have suggested that their religious life is an old, out-moded system of sacrifices
and offerings, and that they have been doing them over and over, doing the same things,
saying the same things, singing the same songs, until they have become monotonous.

Jericho was also a city of great musical talent and art and culture.
The leaders of the people of God could have suggested that their system would not appeal to the people
of Jericho.
So, they also would say that their tabernacle is not adequate, and it needed a complete change
and larger and better accommodations should be provided.
And that would require leaders who are trained in the most modern methods of psychology,
and those who can deal tactfully with the situations in Jericho.

Some of them probably thought that after they had established a friendship with their citizens,
and then, they would need to take a census and enumerate the prospects.
Then, when all that had been classified and set up for them, they could go among them personally
and urge them to come with us.

They felt that if they didn't have their work well organized and running with great efficiency,
they would lose them; for that is the way they do things in their city.
They could have been thinking that the citizens of Jericho have great talents which they can
use for God, and they also have great wealth, and that would be a great asset to their community.

They also surmised that after they had gained access to the city, then they would probably
discover many ideas among the leaders of Jericho which will be of inestimable value to them.
They would expect to consult their psychologist and psychiatrists especially,
and learn the temper of their people.

Then, they would probably plan to have a meeting of their tribal heads in a day or so,
and then develop plans for all this work.
They planned to tell the citizens of Jericho that they should understand that they had not come to
destroy their city nor to destroy their way of life, but that they had come to give them the great blessings
of their God.
By using these plans they believed that they would perform a great service for their God.

They would assure them that with their assistance their work will appeal to the citizens of Jericho,
and that they could take the entire city for God, and then they could come out of this great venture
with a great victory and without losing a single man.
Of course I don't know if anything like that occurred, but human nature hasn't changed.

Joshua must prepare to attack a walled city.
His army is a group of unfit, undisciplined, unarmed, very poor fighting men.
All military aspects have faded from Israel for the fighting men that started from Egypt,
who would not believe that the promised land could be conquered, died in the wilderness.

Joshua and his generals had probably discussed their plans:
He probably thought that some would suggest us that they could take a ladder
and climb up the wall, or maybe they could build a ramp up to the top of the wall.
He might have thought that they would suggest that they could use battering rams
to put a hole in the wall, or dig a tunnel underneath the wall and get into the city in that way.
And some might suggest that they could try to starve the people to death with a long siege,
and use subterfuge to get inside.

As he is trying to decide how can they could attack this heavily fortified and important city
a man steps out of the shadows. (Joshua 5: 13-15)
That man has a drawn sword in his hand.
Joshua is very alert, and wants to know who he is.
"Do you come as a friend or an enemy?" He asks.
This man answers him in verse 14 -15: “And he said, … I have come as the Commander
of the army of Jehovah.
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth. And he worshiped and said to Him,
What does my Lord say to His servant?
And the Commander of Jehovah's army said to Joshua, Take your shoe off your foot, for the place
on which you stand is holy. And Joshua did so.” (MKJV)

God was telling Joshua the battle was already over and the victory was already achieved.
He said: " I have given into thy hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men thereof."

God informed Joshua of His plan.
God's plan is found in Joshua 6:1-5:
"Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel;none went out,
and none came in.
And the Lord said to Joshua: "See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king,
and the mighty men of valor.
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.

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.
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
."

Joshua and the people of Israel did exactly what God had ordered.
They march around Jericho as instructed.

Can you imagine what the army and the people of Jericho thought as they watched the Israelites
march around the city every day.

I would think that they were puzzled as to what they were doing..
Can imagine that the spectacle of Israel's army was puzzling to the world's best military men
of that day who were standing on the wall watching them march around the city?

Perhaps they said: "This is so strange.
They cannot be planning to attack us for there were seven men in the front dressed like
the leaders of some tribal ceremony, and each had a ram's horn.
And then, behind them there were some men carrying a box of some sort and all of them
were dressed in some type of strange garb.
They don't look like soldiers.
There is no way that they could be an army!
They are no discipline, no arms, no armor, and no weapons, so they couldn't be an army.

But they were acting strange.
And they keep marching around our wall.
It seems that they intend no harm, so we'll just watch and see if they are up to something
."

And so, they watch the men of Israel march around the city, and then see them return
to their tents in the distance.
It would have been interesting to hear discussions inside the wall that night.
The next day they see the same, and by now some of the citizens of Jericho stood on the wall
and shouted out their jokes and jeers to God's people.

Jericho's army had grown accustomed to Israel's marching, and they also became unconcerned
with their intent whatever it was..
They really had some pity for the poor, ignorant Israelites.
But then, things take on a new interest.
It is the sabbath of Israel, and after circling the wall they do not return to their tents.
Instead they circle it again.

People inside the wall come to see what is going on below.
By the time Israel has gone around for the seventh time most all of the citizens of Jericho
had probably gathered to watch what seem to be harmless.
This is just what God has led them to do.

Now it is time for God to act.
Israel and her army fade out of the picture, and, having done nothing but worship and witness
and believe, they blew their trumpets to announce the presence of God,
and all of them shouted their praises of God who had already given the city into the hands of Joshua.

Though the Lord revealed everything to Joshua, it appears that Joshua told the people
only what they needed to know for each day.
This was a test of their faith, but faith is the victory.
They believed and obeyed the word that came to them daily.
Then they went back to the camp, having circled the city once in the prescribed order,
in the presence of the ark.
Notice, the ark is emphasized; it is spoken of nine times in this chapter.
That speaks about the central importance of the presence of God.

Joshua and the Israelites completely obeyed God.
God demands complete obedience.
They could not simply march just any way they wanted.
God told them exactly how He wanted them to march.

The armed men with swords in their hands are to go first, and then, seven priests are to continually
blow the jubilee trumpets.

The ark comes next carried on the shoulders of the priests, and finally the rear guard,
who are armed with swords.
That is the order established by God.

God had commanded them not to speak.
There was to be absolute silence as they marched around Jericho.
Can you imagine how difficult that must have been.
They were told, “You cannot speak even one word.”

Can you imagine thousands upon thousands of people walking and not speaking one word?
This required a rigid discipline.

On the seventh day, after they had completed the seventh trip around the city,
the priests were to give a long blast on the trumpets as a signal.
Joshua would also give a signal, at which time all the people together were to give a great shout.
There was is a time to be silent and now there was a time to shout.

God's plans are always contrary to the plans of the world.
Not one military man in the world would have looked upon God's plans as being anything
but utter foolishness and failure.

God's command to Joshua was, “March around the city for seven days and when
the wall collapses, the people should go up straight into the city from every direction
.”
There was no ladder, no battering rams, no tunnels, no siege, and no subterfuge.
They were to just walk around the city.
And they did every day for six days.

The seventh day came, and it could be that the people still did not know what would
really happen.
They were to circle the city seven times, and at the trumpet blast and at the command of Joshua,
they were to give a great shout.
They had been told, “the Lord has given you the city,” but they did not know how it was
going to happen.
This was a test of their faith and patience.
These people had been directed to circle the city for seven days.

Each time they circled the city, nothing happened.
The walls were still standing -- nothing had changed..
This happened the first day, the second day, the third day, and so on through the sixth.
But still they believed.
Then, at the right time, at the proper signal, on the seventh day, they shouted as instructed.
And to their amazement, the walls fell flat.
Faith is the victory!

The 6th chapter contains all that happened before and during the marches,
but the actual battle is just one sentence.
Only two verses!
God has brought the victory!
“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down.” (Hebrews 11:30)

The people of Israel surrendered to God, and demonstrated their faith in following
God's instructions.
Obediently and in faith in God they marched around the walls just as ordered
and they blew their trumpets and shouted the praises of their God, and God made those
walls fall down.

And this is what we are to do with the walls in our lives.
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us that we must:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not onto your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight
”.


Too often we devise our own solutions with our own human knowledge.
We are not to try to break down our walls by relying on our own understanding.
We must look to God, for He alone has all knowledge and power.

Isaiah 55:8 reminds us:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”
How many times have we trusted our meager solutions, an d how often do we take a survey
from our friends before we turn to Him who always has the right solution to break down
the walls in our lives.

We must never try to manipulate, negotiate, delay, or deny the Word of God.
Faith is obedience to God's commands in all their fullness.

Every wall in our lives can fall, and we can experience the victory just as complete
as that victory at Jericho.
When we exercise our faith in God, the walls will fall flat down.
Every defeat or victory is dependent on our faith in God.

It was God who gave the victory.
The Lord said to Joshua to go forward with faith in God.
The Lord continued, “I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king
and it's fighting men
.”
They had their faith, and God gave the victory.
Faith is the victory!

What's your wall that seems to causing you so much stress and agony?
What kind of wall are you facing in you life?
Let's apply these truths with three questions.
Is there a “Jericho” that you face in your life?
Is there some wall that seems to stand as an imposing obstacle before you?

Is it a family situation that just keeps getting worse?
Is it an addiction which is destroying your life?
Is it an unforgiving spirit that is destroying your peace of mind?
Is it an illness that could continue to get more serious?
Is it a person who “pushes your buttons” and is always putting you down?
Is it a job that might not last and you are not sure of your future?
Is it a physical disability that prevents you from having an active and productive life?
Is it a situation that has gotten out of control?
Is it a financial deadline that you are unable to meet?


What is your personal Jericho?
What is it in your life that stands as a wall that is keeping you having all that God has promised?

It may be a thought pattern.
It may be your temperament.
It may be a personality characteristic you have had with you for many years.
Whatever it is you need to discover how the walls of your personal Jericho can fall down.

It may be an outer Jericho.
It may be something that someone else has caused and you have been victimized.
What is keeping you from claiming God's promises.
What's your Jericho? Tonight as we

Does it appear to be unconquerable? That's good!
Do the walls look too high and do they appear too thick? That's good!
Does it seem that victory is absolutely impossible in your case? That's good!

Those walls you have in your life can fall right now!
You must follow the example of Israel, and do things God's way.
Bring whatever it is to God -- right now!
He can do what seems to be impossible!
He can do more than we can even imagine.

In faith we are to believe Jeremiah 33:3:
"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things,
which thou knowest not
." (KJV)

God is a miracle working God!
He is greater than any obstacle, and He can move any mountain.
He is stronger than any wall that you might ever face. .
Bring it to Him and watch Him work it out!
Faith is the victory!

Faith is the Victory

"Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers, rise.
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled.
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.

His banner over us is love,
Our sword the Word of God.
We tread the road the saints above
With shouts of triumph trod.
By faith, they like a whirlwind's breath,
Swept on o'er every field.
The faith by which they conquered death
Is still our shining shield.

On every hand the foe we find
Drawn up in dread array.
Let tents of ease be left behind,
And onward to the fray.
Salvation's helmet on each head,
With truth all girt about,
The earth shall tremble 'neath our tread,
And echo with our shout.

To him that overcomes the foe,
White raiment shall be giv'n.
Before the angels he shall know
His name confessed in Heav'n.
Then onward from the hill of light,
Our hearts with love aflame,
We'll vanquish all the hosts of night,
In Jesus' conqu'ring Name.

Chorus:
Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory!
O glorious victory, that overcomes the world."
-- Words by John H. Yates; Music by Ira D. Sankey

Sermon adapted by Dr. Harold L. White