We've all heard the song "Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho..."
But today's reading says otherwise. The battle was not Joshua's, but the Lord's. God gave specific instructions which had to be obeyed. Had Joshua not obeyed the Lord, the walls would not have collapsed.
So exactly what did they do? Well the army marched around the city once a day for seven days -- without saying a word. The Ark of the Covenant went before them. And seven priests with trumpets (or shofar) led the Ark.
We have, in effect, the heralding trumpets (seven, the perfect number) leading the presence of the Lord as symbolized by the Ark of the Covenant, followed by the silent army. Imagine the wonder of the besieged citizens of Jericho.
This is not the kind of battle Jericho had prepared for. And this strange parade happens every day for six days. Then on the seventh, the parade circles the city seven times. The shofar sound a long, loud blast, and the army gives a great shout. The walls of the city tremble and collapse.
The army of Israel is, at that moment, the army of God. The city is theirs. But the battle was not Joshua's, nor even the army's. The battle was God's and was won before it began through the obedience of Joshua and the children of Israel.
We need to remember that the battle belongs to God. Our part in this war is to heed the counsel of the Lord and obey.
Help us to listen to Your voice and heed Your words about our lives. Stiffen our wills to be obedient to Your prompting. Help us to keep silent when You would have us to keep silent, and to shout when You would have us shout.
In Jesus' most precious name.
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