In our study of Joshua chapter six, we look at the initial battle in the promised land and apply it to our lives as Christians.
"Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in." NIV translation
We see that Jericho knew that Israel was coming and they were afraid. The name of the city can mean either "City of the Moon" or "Place of Fragrance" and both are appropriate as they worshiped the moon gods and the area was known to have a sweet fragrance.
"Then the Lord said to Joshua, 'See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.'" NIV translation
We remember from chapter five, that Joshua was standing and looking at Jericho as he talked to Jesus.
He is given some very different orders for the coming battle. First, we see that the battle is already over as Jesus says that they have already been defeated with fear.
We see that all they had to do for the victory is to have faith in the completed work of the Lord and to give praise to Him. They are told to circle the city each day for six days and we are reminded that, throughout the Bible, the number six is related to man's works. On the seventh day, they were to blow the trumpets and give shouts of praise. After the walls came down, they were simply to walk in and take over.
As Christians, we face the same battle that the Israelites did as Jericho was a symbol of man's efforts. They had crossed over into the promised land of being called God's people and now they faced the challenge of resting in Him. Why didn't God just have them march up and the walls fall down? The marching around the city was a display of faith as no military man would believe that you could take a city in such a manner. Like the Israelites, we simply have to walk with Christ by faith trusting in the fact that His payment for our sins was sufficient.
Throughout the history of the church (and even more today) there has been a battle for believers to understand that the victory over sin and death has been won by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Even so, Satan has been among the believers, especially in the leadership, trying to turn the tables on the plan and get us to cower in fear as the people of Jericho did. Since the fall of man, people have had an urge to work for what they get and Satan uses that to make us think that we have to work at this walk instead of resting in Jesus Christ. Our initial battle, as Christians, is to overcome this urge to add any works to salvation. When anything is added to the work of Christ it is like saying that His sacrifice was not enough. We must ask ourselves whether our home (trust) is in Jericho (works) or is it with Christ by faith because it cannot be both.