Wednesday, 27 March 2019
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. Hebrews 11:30
The author now turns from Moses to the times of the man who replaced him as leader of Israel, Joshua. Of the recorded life of Joshua, nothing is specifically said concerning his faith, despite the faith he and Caleb displayed in the book of Numbers. Rather, the accounts recorded during his leadership of Israel deal with the siege of Jericho – the collapsing of its walls and the faith of a harlot who lived within those walls. In this verse, the words begin with, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down.”
The author takes the account at face value and accepts Scripture exactly as it is written. The city had walls, and those walls were unable to protect the city. They came down not by the power of the besieging army, but it was rather by faith in the word of the Lord. He told them what would occur, and Israel simply obeyed His word, believed what He said, and what He said is what came to pass. The walls “fell down after they were encircled for seven days.”
The entire account is found in Joshua 6. During those seven days, Israel marched around the city, doing as the Lord instructed. There would have been taunts and jeers at the army as they did so. But not a word was spoken by them in reply. For six days, they marched around the city one time each day, doing as instructed as they marched. On the seventh day, they marched around the city seven times. At the sound of the trumpets, the people gave a great shout and the walls fell down.
The entire event required faith that the Lord would perform as He promised, and their faith was rewarded. John Chrysostom says of this event, “The soundings of trumpets, though one were to sound for ten thousand years, cannot throw down walls, but faith can do all things.” It is a lesson for us to remember, and it is an account that asks us to be faithful to the word of the Lord. He has spoken; He will perform.
Life application: Archaeologically, this is one of the stories of the Bible that non-believers have spent a great deal of time trying to disprove. Unlike many other accounts, this one can be verified by simply going to the site and looking over the ruins. The evidence has been substantiated by believers and supposedly disproved by non-believers. Each determination was based on the scientist’s findings of how they perceive what occurred in the Bible and how that relates to their larger worldview. In the end, the Bible account is the only eye-witness testimony for the destruction of Jericho. All of history past can only be known by what was written about it and/or diligently piecing together the evidence based on the preserved remains. Here is what the Bible says about this particular incident –
“So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.” Joshua 6:20
Regardless of the fight among archaeologists, the account in the Bible stands as recorded evidence. If it were untrue, one would think that the surrounding nations could have just as easily recorded their side of the story. No such record exists. In fact, no part of the Bible has ever been disproved. Remember, not every Bible story has as yet been proved true, but that which has been studied has always vindicated the biblical account. Just as the Israelites had faith to march around the walls in obedience, God asks you to have faith that what is recorded in His word is true as well. What the Bible records forms a sure foundation for our faith; a faith that can never stumble if it rests ultimately in the Person of Jesus.
Lord, it sure is wonderful to read the stories recorded in Your word and to see how they fit into redemptive history. Each account serves a particular purpose in helping us to understand You and how we are to interact with You. Thank You for the story of real events about real people who, like us, are part of Your wonderful unfolding story. Amen!