Awesome Hands – part 163: “He that believeth shall not make haste”

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Awesome Hands – Part 163

He that believeth shall not make haste

January 6, 2020

The story of Jericho and the walls falling is probably one of the more well-known stories in the bible. It isn’t quite up there with the parting of the Red Sea, David and Goliath or baby Jesus being born, but it is still one of the more recognizable stories to the average Christian.

We now find ourselves looking at this story in the Awesome Hands series. Some of you may have heard similar details as what will be presented here today, while other details may be new. However, rest assured that if you do not see yourselves on both sides of the Jericho wall, then you have missed the point of the story.

The verses we will be covering today are found in chapter 6 of Joshua.

Jos 6:1  Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.

The first verses set the tone for us by letting us know how one side of the battle is thinking and behaving. “Jericho” was “shut up” so that no one was entering or exiting. Let there be no mistaking that Jericho and the inhabitants knew exactly why Israel was here.

The people of Jericho hid behind their man-made walls, walls made with hands, with a defying spirit that knew they could wait out the invaders and besiegers of their city.

At the time, Jericho was one of the strongest fortresses of Canaan, and this city would have been needed in order for Israel to gain somewhere to fall back to when venturing into the rest of the promised land.

Yes, indeed, Jericho knew they were going to be attacked, but they were confident that they could and would prevail.

Jos 6:2  And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.

On the side of Israel, Joshua was just told that the Lord has given Jericho into his hand; not that Jericho would be given at some later date, but that it was already a done deal.

This is very important to understanding how it is the Lord still works with us to this very day.

Mal 3:6  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Mal 3:7  Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

The Lord tells Joshua that He has given Jericho into the hand of Joshua, and all that needs to be done is trust in the Lord.

The trust in the Lord comes from doing the commandments of the Lord as it pertains to how to ultimately achieve the victory over Jericho.

Jos 6:3  And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.
Jos 6:4  And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
Jos 6:5  And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

These instructions were short and sweet; at least in how they are recorded in the history of the scripture. Compass the city once a day for six days with the men of war, the priests blowing trumpets, with the ark of the covenant, and then go back to camp.

On the 7th day, compass the city seven times, have the priests make a long sound on the trumpets, wait for Joshua to give the command to shout, then shout and the wall will fall down.

With any good story, you have a good side and a bad side, a good guy and a bad guy. In this story, we indeed have the “good side” representing the people of God doing God’s will, and the “bad side” representing the inhabitants of Jericho also doing God’s will but not knowing this truth.

What we need to realize as the people of God, is that we have been on both sides of the walls of Jericho.

We have been the people of Jericho who stand behind our high and defensible walls, only to see those walls come down without a moment's notice. We have been these same people who trusted in their own strength to get through even the worst of times because we have “prepared” for bad times by building up our strong walls.

Yet, when we have the provider of the home fall ill suddenly, a death in the family that we didn’t see coming, the job go away that had been around for 20 years, an accident in a car that devastates the whole family, etc., we see our own walls of Jericho go down.

Maybe the walls of Jericho are the beliefs that have helped you get through some tough times that suddenly are challenged by the Lord because He presents a verse or two to you that shatters your beliefs in an instant.

Yes, we have all been inhabitants of Jericho. To such as these inhabitants of Jericho, these Israelites must have been looking very foolish marching around the outside of walls while blowing trumpets and then just going back to their camp.

Jos 6:6  And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD.
Jos 6:7  And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD.
Jos 6:8  And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns passed on before the LORD, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them.
Jos 6:9  And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the rereward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.
Jos 6:10  And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.
Jos 6:11  So the ark of the LORD compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.

Just imagine for a minute the scenario these people were in. Remember, the Israelites were once slaves in Egypt, and they had been moving around the wilderness for 40 years while the Lord caused all those who had disobeyed Him to die during that time. Only Joshua and Caleb of the original group got to go into the promised land.

During this time, they did not suddenly gain an immense ability to conquer lands in warfare. Likewise, Jericho and the people there knew fully well what a high-walled city could do to those that tried to overtake it.

In those days, the city would have had to have been starved out or the invading army would have starved while trying to siege the city. Either way, Jericho’s people knew warfare.

Here are the armies of Israel marching around the walls. They could have attacked them at any time. Any invading army would know that if they retreated, the armies in the city would attack them in their backs as they fled.

Yet, we do not see any arrows flying or any stones being slung. There is almost a smugness that can be felt at what had to be contempt on the part of the inhabitants of Jericho.

I always think it is amazing that David is always seen as some immense underdog when he only had a sling in his possession to fight with.

I read a report once that did the math on how fast a skilled slinger could have slung a stone with the same type of sling David used, and it is equivalent to a .45 caliber pistol. Slings used for war were not what you picture today as someone pulling back a rubber band and projecting a projectile from it.

Slingers were VERY powerful if they were skilled.

Jdg 20:15  And the children of Benjamin were numbered at that time out of the cities twenty and six thousand men that drew sword, beside the inhabitants of Gibeah, which were numbered seven hundred chosen men.
Jdg 20:16  Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss.

1Ch 12:1  Now these are they that came to David to Ziklag, while he yet kept himself close because of Saul the son of Kish: and they were among the mighty men, helpers of the war.
1Ch 12:2  They were armed with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow, even of Saul's brethren of Benjamin.

So, given that there must have been ranged soldiers on those walls, they still didn’t attack Israel. This tells us that when we are under the protection of the Lord, your Head, not a hair on your head shall perish.

Luk 21:17  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.
Luk 21:18  But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
Luk 21:19  In your patience possess ye your souls.

On the side of Israel, they must have been given an immense amount of Faith and patience to continually go out day after day performing this same procession, and we know this because we are told it in sciprture.

Jos 6:12  And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.
Jos 6:13  And 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 rereward came after the ark of the LORD, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.
Jos 6:14  And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days.

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

These priests and soldiers must have had faith to continually do something that didn’t produce immediate fruit.

Hab 2:1  I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
Hab 2:2  And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
Hab 2:3  For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
Hab 2:4  Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
Isa 28:16  Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

What we should be taking away from this story, among other things, is that the Lord is patient in His deliverance of us to the Faith He has given us. In other words, the Lord’s Word does not come back to Him void and just because it takes time to manifest itself does not mean that it will not manifest itself. Isn’t this what faith is all about?

Heb 11:13  These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Heb 11:14  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
Heb 11:39  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
Heb 11:40  God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Heb 11:1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

(NIRV) Living by Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being certain of what we do not see.

Just because the wall didn’t come down on days one through six does not mean it will not come down.

Yet, the wall will fall when the time is complete.

Jos 6:15  And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times.
Jos 6:16  And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.

For me, this is written in a strange way in that we see in verse 16 that Joshua gives the command to shout, and then he starts a speech in verse 17.

In practical terms, I do not think he says “shout” and then gives these next directions during a big pause and then the people wait for him to finish before they shout.

The scripture sometimes is written in these ways to clarify what exactly is happening, but it is not necessarily in the order in which it is written here.

In verse 17, Joshua is recorded as giving more detailed instructions on the particulars of what will happen when the Israelites raid the city.

Jos 6:17  And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
Jos 6:18  And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.
Jos 6:19  But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.

In Joshua 7, we read why the Israelites are told not to take of the accursed thing. It is like the rest of the sum of the Word. The Lord tells us NOT to do something knowing fully well we are going to do it.

Jos 6:20  So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
Jos 6:21  And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.

Right about now, the inhabitants of Jericho are seeing the full might of the Lord. Indeed, His Word will not come back to Him void.

Likewise, as Christians, we, too, may be looked down on and made fun of, especially when we adhere to the Truth of the doctrine of the Christ, but we are told not to waver in our Faith.

1Co 1:17  For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
1Co 1:18  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
1Co 1:19  For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

“For the preaching of the cross is ….. the POWER OF GOD.” What the majority of blind Christians do not see if that the power of the cross includes those who “pick up your cross and follow me”.

Mat 16:24  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mat 16:25  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Your cross is your life nailed to your cross alongside Jesus Christ, and that is the power of God. Yet, it is only in down-payment form that we get to experience the fullness of Christ in this life.

The walls that keep us from fully being slain by Christ will not totally be cast down until we breath our last breath, and even then, we pray to go on to perfection in the first resurrection.

Rest assured though, that just as the Lord promised salvation to Rahab and her household for helping the messengers of Joshua, we, too, are promised that we will be with Christ in the end.

Jos 6:23  And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred,  and left them without the camp of Israel.
Jos 6:24  And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.
Jos 6:25  And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

When all was said and done, Rahab did receive the reward she was promised, just as we will.

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