15th March 2023
15th March 2023
Read - Joshua 6 & Hebrews 11:30
Message Alan Burke
The closest thing we have to a walled city today here in the province is ‘Stoke city’. If you’re wondering where I’m on about which I’d be surprised if you are it’s that place where depending what you call it marks you out as one or the other, Stroke city as in as in, Derry Stroke Londonderry. Many years ago now I use to work in a shop just inside the city walls on Ferryquay street and the walls are still impressive today. Jericho had walls albeit slightly different which had made it an impenetrable fortress in its day. The city began with a huge round stone circular wall which were more like foundations, on this was built the upper walls. The stone base that encircled the city was fifteen feet hight, about four and a half meters. On top of that was a brick wall which sloped upward, angling at thirty five degrees for thirty five feet, just over ten meters. In total the walls of Jericho were about fifty feet, that’s about fifteen meters.
The Israelites had came from the wilderness, crossing the Jordan when they clapped their eyes on the fortress of Jericho would have known the enormity of the task before them. Their options were to lay siege to such a city, starve them out, try to weaken or destroy the stone walls by either fire or tunnelling or they might build and earthen rampart that would scale the wall. Jericho was seen as impenetrable, it wasn’t going to fall easily and any attack on a city like this would have involved heavy losses from the attackers. Jericho was a city that took security seriously and would have had an ample supply of stores of food and equipment, all the people had to do with such a force as the Israelites was to wait, we are told there in verse one, “No-one went out and no-one came in”. Those in the city just had to take out the their attackers as they came close or wait for them to run out of food, either way this was a no win for the Israelites.
It is in the midst of this scene that the Lord gave to Joshua instructions about how this is going to play out. To have the victory over the people of Jericho he and the people were to march round the city, blowing trumpets, doing this for six days and in the end on the seventh day march round the city seven times and giving a big shout. What a plan, I know some of you and your bark can be pretty fierce but I doubt any of you can bring down walls with it.
In everything that Joshua was being asked to do verse 4 is the key. The Lord was going out before his people, as the priests went out the ark went with them. The visible presence of the Lord symbolised in the ark of the covenant of the LORD is to go with them into battle. The city would fall if they obeyed God’s word. In all of this the Lord was making it clear as He had done so time and time again, that what his people needed to do and need to do is trust in Him. For their salvation was not achieved in their own work or effort it was by the work of the Lord.
That is a lesson that they needed to learn and be reminded of time and time again and it is a less we need to learn and be reminded of time and time again. We need to look to God, to trust in Him, for salvation comes not through what we achieve or our own work or effort it is by the work of the Lord. For it is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone that we are saved, there is no other way, we are reliant as much on the work of God for eternity as the Israelites were that day for God to work and give them Jericho. For the people they had the option, to have faith in God’s word or try to do it themselves. Unlike the previous generation who died in the wilderness this people had faith in God’s word and obeyed it. Each generation of God’s people has the same option before them to have faith in God’s word or try to do it themselves, sadly we often try to do it ourselves in those instances we need to repent and look to the Lord our God once more, his way is always better.
Q101 What do we pray for in the first petition?
In the first petition, (which is, Hallowed be thy name, (Matt. 6:9)) we pray, That God would enable us and others to glorify him in all that whereby he maketh himself known; (Ps. 67:2–3) and that he would dispose all things to his own glory. (Ps. 83)
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