Sunday, June 24, 2018

Faith -- Nothing Is Impossible With God!


Good morning!
Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

“Shout, for the LORD has given you the city. (Joshua 6:16b)  

Despite of the danger, in faith, the whole nation of the Israelites circumcised.  Then they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed.  God saw their absolute faith, and said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” (Joshua 6:9a)   God has removed the four hundred years reproach of Egypt, full of humiliation and hardship of the slavery.  A new day was dawn in God, which was waited for many generations.


The people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, and they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening on the plains of Jericho.   And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain.  And the manna ceased the day because there was no more needs for manna.   They were already in the Promised Land, which was promised to Abraham.    Finally, they started eating of the produce of the land.  They ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year!


The merciful God also sent the commander of His Army to Joshua.   When Joshua was by Jericho.  While pondering how to conquer Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?”  And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”  And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.  As He did to Moses, God poured His spirit on Joshua to be full of God’s spirit and courage. 

Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in.  And God said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.  You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days.  Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.  And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” (Joshua 6:2-5)


How would you respond, if you were Joshua?   God did not talk about anything related to a military strategy or tactic, such as how to prepare and setup a siege to conquer Jericho.   Instead, God gave an instruction, which absolutely did not make sense:  

      1.       March around the city once a day.  Seven priests hold seven rams’ horns and blow the horns before the ark.  The rest of the Israelite’s army follow the seven priests.   
      2.       On the seventh day, circle seven times.   Then the seven priests make a long blast with the rams’ horns.   As hearing the sound of the long blast, all of the people shall shout with a great shout. 
      3.       Then the wall of the city will fall down flat!

No physical force would be needed, but before the sound of the Israelites, the wall will fall down.  Yes, it would be very hard to believe what was told by God to anyone.   However, Joshua was different.   He believed although in his eyes, it was impossible.  Joshua walked the walk with God for the last forty years.  He experienced and knew who God was and what God could and would do.

He again looked back the result of unbelief of the first generation.  They all perished in the wilderness.   The 1st generation Israelites saw the Promised Land, but they refused to go in because they were in fear.   They saw the strong people and the fortified cities, and they believed their eyes more than the promised of God.   They gave in the fear of the people in the Promised Land.

How many times have we met this kind of situations?    Initially we believed God and His promise, and diligently walked with God toward the promise.  Everything went well.   However, it did not continue long.   Something unexpected came into our lives, and it is in the way of the joy of the walk with God, while becoming an unsurmountable impediment.   We did everything to go around the impediment, but it did not work.    The situation was getting worse without no sign of improvement.   Suddenly fear, which was long forgotten found us, and entered into the deepest part of our heart, while paralyzing us.   Yes, it is understandable why the 1st generation Israelites had complained to God.    Even so, it was not what God wanted.  


Again, Joshua was different.   Joshua pleased God.   In faith, Joshua stood firm and tall. Joshua boldly said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD.”  And he said to the people of Israel, “Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the LORD.”    The new generation of the Israelites heard this command through their faith and believed.   Yes, the faith of the new generation of Israelites was also great and firm.   There was no question.   They were obedient to the seemly nonsense God’s command.  This was the faith that God really wanted, which truly pleased God.  

Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.  And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets blew continually.  And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days.



Please imagine about the people in Jericho.   How did they think when they saw the Israelites just circling the city wall.   Initially, the people in Jericho were in a great fear because they heard about the Israelites.   They expected a strong blow of the Israelites.  Thus, they checked again and again the integrity of the city wall because it was the final protection against the Israelites’ invasion.   As expected, the wall was strong ever.   They thought that the wall was strong enough to protect against the Israelites’ attack.    Only was the concern a siege that Israelites might erect against their city.   However, strange enough, there was no sign of building a siege.   The people of Israel were just walking around the wall.  They just blew horns, and the rest of the Israel army just followed the seven who were blowing horns.  It was odd that the leading horn blowers appeared to be non-military personnel, perhaps priests.  They were not for any battle.   They were just a bunch of people walking around the wall.   Moreover, the people of Jericho could plainly see exactly the Israelites’ warfighters: who they are and what they have as their weapons.   It was a stupid act to the eyes of the people of Jericho.  Nobody showed off exactly all of their military personnel and the weapons that they would use.   As a test, the people of Jericho shot a couple of arrows against the Israelites, but there was no retaliation at all.    They just circled around the city following the wall.   It was really absurd or even stupid how the Israelites behaved.   This absurd and even funny scene was repeated for six day, but nothing happened.   The Israelites circled once each day, and all of them quietly returned to their camp.

                                                                                                                                                                  

On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times.  The people of Jericho saw a difference, but there was no sign of threat.   The Israelites were still outside of the strong and fortified wall.  

And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the LORD has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction.” (Joshua 6:16b, 17)  So the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout.   Initially nothing happened, but soon the wall fell down flat by itself as God told!   Yes, before the faith, the wall fell down flat.   It was not the might of the Israelites, but the God’s hand did bring down the wall, and made into a complete destruction, which was so strong that it defended against all enemies before for the Jericho.  It was the symbol of the pride and security for the people of Jericho.   But before God’s hand, it was nothing.   It crumpled down at once.   Yes, God was stronger and mightier.   The people of Israelites believed, and God unleashed His power, which was manifested before the eyes of the Israelites.    



Please imagine the scene.  The wall of Jericho, which reached the heaven and looked really strong and invincible, suddenly crumping down all together, making a thundering noise.   What the Israelites did was just shouting.   Then before their eyes, the strong and invincible wall was reducing down to a pile of broken wall-building materials.   No stone was left on top of another stone.   All were completely flattened.   The Israelites looked each other, and they together saw the God’s mighty hand.    Before God’s hand, nothing was impossible.    The strong wall reaching the heaven was flatten in blinking of eyes.   What God promised became a reality before their eyes.   Their faith turned into a tangible thing that they could even stand on.  All together in a single voice praised God and His greatness. 



So the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city.  Then they devoted all in the city to destruction.    The Israelites conquered the first city that they encountered as they entered in the Promised Land.    It was a victory of their faith.   They believed, and saw the God’s hand over the impossibility of conquering Jericho, which made the first generation in fear.   In fact, which one did they believe?   God and His promise, or what they saw and fear?    The first generation did not believe, and they perished.  

Oh, God, please give us your faith that we can believe you and your promise before any impossibility.   We are weak, but only through the grace and mercy of you, we can continue the walk given to us.    We remember that the 2nd generation of the Israelites patiently obeyed your command.  They circled seven days although they could see no sign that your promise would be fulfilled.   They faithfully circled six days, and on the seventh day, they circled seven times as God commanded.  Still there was no sign of God’s promise.  When they shouted in faith as God commanded, the strong and invincible wall fell down.    God, please give us faith to be able to endure to the end without giving up because we cannot see any sign with our eyes now.   You were faithful to the Israelites, and your faithfulness to your children endures forever.   We believe in you.   Please continue guiding us through the paths of your righteousness till your will in us be done on earth as well as in heaven.   Yes, we will praise your name in any circumstances.   We will continue give thanks to you regardless what we see and touch, because you are infinitely good to us and faithful to us.   Praise God for Your faithfulness to us, your children!  Sing praise to You who is Our Ever Loving God.   Amen!



Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  (Matthew 19:26)

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