17th March 2023
17th March 2023
Read - Joshua 6 & Hebrews 11:30
Message Alan Burke
The sight of the Israelites marching round the walls of Jericho, blowing their trumpets would have been a sight that the inhabitants of the land weren’t too concerned about. After all they were in a fortified city and what good was marching and blowing trumpets against the city. It took place in the same way for six days, they marched round the city once just as God had told them, along with the ark of the covenant. I wonder what the inhabitants of Jericho thought as they look on but what is remarkable is that the people of God unlike the generations that went before them believed in the word of God. By Faith God’s Word was Obeyed by his people and on day seven the people marched round the city seven times and then they circled the city and finally shouted. The walls came tumbling down, the Lord indeed gave His people the city and everything was devoted to the Lord. It was when the people of God, by faith, followed the commands of God that the walls of Jericho that had stood for years upon end, that what was deemed an unconquerable, impenetrable city fell at a shout.
While every fibre of their being might have told them that this was doomed to failure it was by faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days (Heb 11:30). Instead of faithlessness of the people as in the wilderness generation, we have the faith of the people here clearly displayed, they knew all things were possible through God, they chose to trust in Him and God did what only he could do, they had the victory by faith. In all of this God was at work, this was God’s work from beginning to end. In the midst of the victory though we are shown the grace of God, for while the victory was given to the people, while the city was devoted to destruction while Joshua pronounced his oath of curse on the city of Jericho if anyone tried to rebuild it, we are shown the one way to be saved from the wrath of God, for there is one family that is spared in the midst of this scene and while we will think of it more next week it would be amiss to not touch on it now. Rahab, who by faith welcomed the spies, was not killed (Heb 11:31).
Those who have faith in the Lord are spared from his anger, from his wrath against our sin. For it is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone that we are saved, there is no other way. Saving faith involves trust, the people of God had it as the walls fell down, Rahab had it and was saved, God honours the obedient faith of his servants. Rahab shows how the Canaanites could be saved, Rahab shows how any person who has ever lived can be saved, that is to trust in the one true God, to have faith in what he has done in Jesus Christ, for it is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone that we are saved (Rom 10:13).
One more thing I want to draw out off this for us, is that we are confronted with is that God’s ways are not our ways, all of this was ridiculous from a worldly point of view, it doesn’t take a military tactician to figure that out but God used what was foolishness to man to obtain the victory. The ultimate example of this is in the cross of Jesus Christ, it is foolishness to man but it is the wisdom of God, it is through the death of Jesus Christ that we indeed are saved. In this know that obedience God’s word from us, requires by faith our obedience, it is through faith we have the victory in Christ. It is only through faith in him that we can be saved from the final judgement that comes, when all will be devoted to destruction. This world is on a one way ticket, it is a world that is decaying, but it is a world in which there is a way of salvation provided through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ for us. Brothers and sisters, while the cross is foolishness to many, it is the wisdom of God for us.
Q103 What do we pray for in the third petition?
In the third petition, (which is, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven, (Matt. 6:10)) we pray, That God, by his grace, would make us able and willing to know, obey, and submit to his will in all things, (Ps. 67, Ps. 119:36, Matt. 26:39, 2 Sam. 15:25, Job 1:21) as the angels do in heaven. (Ps. 103:20–21)
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