Last week my grandson Jack got a new Bible and was so excited to show it to me on Monday morning. He and brother Ben wanted to read about the battle of Jericho. After reading the story, the three of us went down to the basement to "build Jericho" with blocks. The plan was to build Jericho and then march around it like the children of Israel did after they entered the Promised Land. After completing their building project, the boys picked up their shofars and began to march in a circle around Jericho. Six times they circled the city once. On the seventh time they circled the city seven times and then shouted.
While all of this was going on I am having a quiet conversation with God. You see, Jack said to me, "Gee, I don't want you to knock down Jericho. I want you to let God do it. Your job is to pray!" You better believe I prayed! My faith could not begin to match Jack's faith. In the end, Ben kicked down Jericho—much to Jack's disappointment. I guess you could say that God used Ben to knock it down.
Acting out the events from the days of Joshua and the battle of Jericho reminded me of some principles that we must live by in order for us to take our own Promised Lands. God has a Promised Land for every single one of us—a place of destiny where we can shine and demonstrate the glory of God. However, we also have an enemy who will do whatever he can to stop us from taking our Promised Land. When we allow our flesh or the enemy tactics to get in the way this impedes us from reaching our destiny.
Indeed, the Israelites who left Egypt and were old enough to fight in battle (except for Joshua and Caleb) died in the wilderness because they did not believe the promises of God. God had Joshua lead the next generation into the Promised Land. The priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant stepped into the Jordan River, and the Lord rolled back the water to a town named Adam. (Joshua 3:16) The waters were held back until the entire nation of Israel crossed over to the other side.
Next, God had the Israelites make preparation for conquering the land. They had to turn their attention to Him and remember that it is God who empowers them to take the land. They did this by building a memorial of 12 stones from the Jordan River, by re-establishing covenant with Him in the act of circumcision, and by celebrating Passover.
Just as the Israelites had to fight a battle upon their entrance into Canaan, we will have to fight in order to take our Promised Land. The enemy of our souls does not want us to be victorious, because in our Promised Land we will be fruitful for the Kingdom of God. We can count on a battle; however, God has given us keys to victory: We must have faith and trust in what God tells us, and we must obey Him completely. (Read Joshua 1:1-9)
Jesus knew the importance of these characteristics and pointed to a child as an example. He said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3) You see, a child has the faith to believe in what God says, even if it seems impossible, and the desire to follow Him in complete obedience. May we all have such faith!
Joan E. Mathias