Sunday, July 15, 2018

Faith -- Our God Always Waits Us To Give Victory In Him!


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

This is what the LORD says:
“At just the right time, I will respond to you.
On the day of salvation I will help you.
I will protect you and give you to the people
as my covenant with them.
Through you I will reestablish the land of Israel
and assign it to its own people again.   (Isaiah 49:8)

After the humiliating defeat before Ai, the Israelites were paralyzed at this turn of events, and their courage melted away.  They looked each other, and they could not believe about their defeat.   It was a really humbling moment.    They were turned out to be absolutely powerless before the smallest city, Ai.   The Israelites discovered the true nature and reality about themselves.   The news of the defeat of Israelites quickly spread.  All of the people in the Promised Land knew, and all inhabitants of the Promised Land looked down on the Israelites.   The Israelites were powerless before Ai, which was one of the smallest.   What did this really mean to the Israelites?    No more progress in the Promised Land because they would not able to conquer any other cities from that on.   The Israelites were stuck in one small corner of the Promised land.   The Israelite’s dream of inheriting the Promised Land was completely shattered.   Even they did not know where to go from there.   All of the Israelites were in absolute despair.
  
However, it was the very moment that God, who dearly loved His children, specifically prepared for them.   God was with the Israelites in the mist from the begging and till the very moment, while patiently waiting.   What was God really looking for?   God wanted for the Israelites to return to Him.  They had gone out on their own as if they knew everything and had power to accomplish what they wanted.  When the reality hit, they did not know what to do expect despair.   Yes, even in the mist of absolute despair and devastation, God was there for them.    There was no place to go except God, Joshua realized, after being hitting hard.   Upon realization of this, Joshua immediately returned to God, and spread out his pain and problem as his prayer.    God had been waiting long for this moment.   God saw Joshua who was truly humbling before God along with the entire Israelites.   God answered.  He revealed the hidden sin of Achan because the sin was the barrier between God and the Israelites.    As long as the sin existed, no more victory except painful and humiliating defeats.  Upon hearing God, Joshua quickly responded by getting rid of the Achan’s sin completely.    As soon as the loving relationship between God and the Israelites was restored, God, the ever-loving Father, comforted and encouraged the Israelites.   God even allowed to keep the plunder and livestock for the people.   God knew what they wanted, and answered with His blessings to the Israelites.  On top of this blessing, God gave His precious wisdom.  Although Ai looked weak, defeating Ai was so easy as it looked.  God told to set an ambush behind the town, which was never thought about before by Joshua and the Israelites, who were proudly in their own strength after defeating Jericho. 

So Joshua and all the fighting men set out to attack Ai. Joshua chose 30,000 of his best warriors.   Initially Joshua sent 3,000 warriors, but he experienced the total defeat.   In humility, he called for 30,000 of his best warriors.

Following God’s wisdom, Joshua sent them out at night with these orders: “Hide in ambush close behind the town and be ready for action.  When our main army attacks, the men of Ai will come out to fight as they did before, and we will run away from them.  We will let them chase us until we have drawn them away from the town. For they will say, ‘The Israelites are running away from us as they did before.’ Then, while we are running from them, you will jump up from your ambush and take possession of the town, for the LORD your God will give it to you.  Set the town on fire, as the LORD has commanded. You have your orders.”    

The chosen 30,000 warriors left and went to the place of ambush between Bethel and the west side of Ai. But Joshua remained among the people in the camp that night in prayer to God.   He was with God while being careful and sensitive to hear God.    Early the next morning Joshua roused his men and started toward Ai, accompanied by the elders of Israel.   Joshua did not go just alone either.  He set out with the elders, the spiritual leaders also to continually be connected with God.

All the fighting men who were with Joshua marched in front of the town and camped on the north side of Ai, with a valley between them and the town.  Joshua wisely planned and executed according to God’s wisdom.   That night Joshua sent 5,000 men to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the town. So they stationed the main army north of the town and the ambush west of the town. Joshua himself spent that night in the valley.

When the king of Ai saw the Israelites across the valley, he and all his army hurried out early in the morning and attacked the Israelites at a place overlooking the Jordan Valley.  But the king of Ai didn’t realize there was an ambush behind the town.  Of course, it was done by God.  God made the king blind about an possibility of being ambushed.   Joshua and the Israelite army fled toward the wilderness as though they were badly beaten.  All the men in the town were called out to chase after them. In this way, they were lured away from the town.  There was not a man left in Ai or Bethel who did not chase after the Israelites, and the town was left wide open.
  
The God’s set time had come.  God said to Joshua, “Point the spear in your hand toward Ai, for I will hand the town over to you.” Joshua did as he was commanded.   Joshua raised his spear high while giving thanks to God.  As soon as the warriors saw Joshua’s raised hand high with his spear, all the men in ambush jumped up from their position and poured into the town. They quickly captured it and set it on fire.

When the men of Ai looked behind them, smoke from the town was filling the sky, and they had nowhere to go. For the Israelites who had fled in the direction of the wilderness now turned on their pursuers.  When Joshua and all the other Israelites saw that the ambush had succeeded and that smoke was rising from the town, they turned and attacked the men of Ai.  Meanwhile, the Israelites who were inside the town came out and attacked the enemy from the rear. So the men of Ai were caught in the middle, with Israelite fighters on both sides. Israel attacked them, and not a single person survived or escaped.  Only the king of Ai was taken alive and brought to Joshua. 

When the Israelite army finished chasing and killing all the men of Ai in the open fields, they went back and finished off everyone inside.  So the entire population of Ai was wiped out that day—12,000 in all.  For Joshua kept holding out his spear until everyone who had lived in Ai was completely destroyed.  Only the livestock and the treasures of the town were not destroyed, for the Israelites kept these as plunder for themselves, as God had commanded Joshua.   So Joshua burned the town of Ai, and it became a permanent mound of ruins.

Then the first thing that Joshua did was to build an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal according the command received by Moses form God.  He made the alter with uncut stones with iron tools, and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings to the LORD.  And as the Israelites watched.   Then all praised the name of God, who was the ever-loving Father for the Israelites, who were dearly loved by God because they were God’s children.

God has been always faithful.  God, who had dearly loved Joshua and the Israelites, loves us because we are His beloved children.   He watches over every step that we make.   Whenever we are sinning and off from His word, He is in pain.   He, who is full of mercy, then waits for us with His unfathomable patience.   God waits and waits till we return to Him as Joshua and the Israelites returned to Him.   Today, God eagerly wants to see us returning to Him.  Yes, we might have sinned against Him or our family, relative, neighbor, co-worker, or business partner.   Our hearts are heavy due to the sin that we have committed.   Due to those sins, we are suffering and suffering both mentally and spiritually.   This slowly and steadily undermines us.   Let’s stop, and look at Him directly.  Then turn 180 degrees, and walk toward Him or even running into Him while fixing our eyes on Him.  Surely we can see His broad and open arms always waiting for us.    Why?  He is Our True Father.   He eagerly waits for us to forgive all our sins to restore our precious father-and-child relationship.    Let’s not disappoint God.   Now is the time to return to Him, Our Loving Father.   Then He will provide all things that have been prepared for us, which have been blocked by our sins and disobedience.   As Joshua did, we build our alter in our heart, and present ourselves to God.   Then His joy in us will be completed, and our joy in Him also be completed.  What a beautiful scene it will be for both God and us!   Praise Him, who is our one and only one God, our Ever-Loving Father!

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.   (Hebrews 12:1)

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Faith -- Humiliation to Humility and Restoration in God's Hand


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



But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. (1 Corinthians 15:57-58)


 After the miracle of falling of the strong Jericho wall, the Israelites were in joy because they saw God’s mighty hand.   They just ran over the stones of the Jericho wall, and conqured Jericho.    They were praised God.   It was the first victory in the Promised Land.    They followed what God commanded, but Achan was tempted.  Achan saw a beautiful robe from Babylon, 200 silver coins, and a bar of gold weighing more than a pound.  He wanted them so much that he took them. They were hidden in the ground beneath his tent, with the silver buried deeper than the rest.   Yes, it was really secure because Achan thought that nobody knew.   However, he was wrong.   God knew.

Without knowing the Achan’s sin, Joshua did as usual.   He sent spies to Ai, the next city.   The spies reported back as expected, “There’s no need for all of us to go up there; it won’t take more than two or three thousand men to attack Ai. Since there are so few of them, don’t make all our people struggle to go up there.”  

 Per the spies’ report, Joshua assembled about 3,000 warriors.   He confidently sent to Ali.   However, the reality was opposite.  The 3,000 warriors were soundly defeated.  The men of Ai chased the Israelites from the town gate as far as the quarries, and they killed about thirty-six who were retreating down the slope.  As soon as the Israelites heard about this defeat, suddenly fear fell upon them.  The Israelites were paralyzed at this turn of events, and their courage melted away.


Why?  Of course, Achan sinned.  It was not the end of the story.   The Israelites did not completely rely on God.    Joshua assembled his 3,000 warriors based on his judgement, and sent them with confidence (in his judgement).    It was a stark different between the first battle with Jericho.   He asked to God first, and carefully followed God’s command up to the level of absurdity of just circling the Jericho wall day after day.   The people in Jericho laughed at the Israelites who were circling the wall, but they did not deter.    Even though the Israelites heard the laugher against them, they continued as commanded by God.    The result was the completely unexpected defeat and humiliation.    God allowed the defeat and humiliation because they were God’s children.   


If God doesn't discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.  (Hebrews 12:8)

Per Achan’s confession, Joshua sent some men to make a search. They ran to the tent and found the stolen goods hidden there, just as Achan had said, with the silver buried beneath the rest. They took the things from the tent and brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites. Then they laid them on the ground in the presence of God, the LORD.

 Then Joshua and all the Israelites took Achan, the silver, the robe, the bar of gold, his sons, daughters, cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats, tent, and everything he had, and they brought them to the valley of Achor.  Then Joshua said to Achan, “Why have you brought trouble on us? The LORD will now bring trouble on you.” And all the Israelites stoned Achan and his family and burned their bodies.   They piled a great heap of stones over Achan, which remains to this day. That is why the place has been called the Valley of Trouble ever since. So the LORD anger was subsided.  

Joshua humbly came back to God and lifted up his eyes.  He prayed to God.   Joshua now clearly experienced again who God was.   He approached God with all his heart and mind in his humility.   Then God, who was merciful, said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid or discouraged. Take all your fighting men and attack Ai, for I have given you the king of Ai, his people, his town, and his land.  You will destroy them as you destroyed Jericho and its king. But this time you may keep the plunder and the livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the town.”  (Joshua 8:1-2)

 How good was God? 
1.            God encouraged Joshua first rather than asking why you did attack Ai by your own way without asking me?  This was what God did to Joshua.  (God has not changed at all.  He is doing to us and will do forever.   This is our faith in Him.)           
2.            God again promised Joshua that Ai would be given to Joshua and the Israelites.   Some of the Israelites lost their hearts and courage after the defeat.   God knew and reinstalled His promise to the Israelites.    Yes, God’s promise had never changed, and will never forever, because God was, is and will continue to be faithful to us.
3.            God also knew the Israelites’ hearts – they wanted to have things that looked good to their eyes.   We, earthly parents, know children’s heart, and provide what they want as much as possible and as soon as possible.   God clearly told them for this time, “you may keep the plunder and the livestock for yourselves.”   Sometimes, we feel that God never answers our prayer, but in reality, God always wants to provide us as much as possible and as soon as possible.    God, who knows the future and all consequences, patiently waits the perfect time.   This is our faith in Him because He is faithful and ever-loving Father.
4.            God also provided a perfect strategy how to attack Ai.   Yes, we need His instruction.   Without His instruction, we will fail.   The Israelites failed not because they were suddenly weaker than when they successfully conquered Jericho.   In reality, God defeated Jericho.   The Israelites just followed God’s hand, which led to the huge victory.   Although they won, they did not actually fight with their own strength and wisdom.   All came from God.   They were deceived by their own ego.   They confused that the Jericho fell by their hands.  How absurd it was!   Yes, the Israelites were deceived by their own ego.    How about us?     When something goes well, we soon forget God’s merciful and mighty hand, which is the very source of the reason why things go well.   Our heart is really quick to search for an answer from our own goodness, and praises as if we have made such a greatness in our life.    What we need is to humbly and carefully listen to God always – no matter what happens in our life, whether a huge success or a miserable failure.   Why?  God never changes.   He is always our ever-loving Father, and He patiently waits for us to realize and experience Him – Our One and Only One Father and God.


Are we struggling and suffering in our lives? Yes, it is too hard to vocalize what we are experiencing even to ourselves because it is too harsh for us to even recognize, which makes us even hard to bear.   We just try to avoid or don’t remind of what we are going through because it is too painful to verbalize.   Of course, we have tried everything humanly possible.   Nothing changes.   This is time to listen to God, Our Ever-Loving Father.   How?   Spread what we have – concerns, pains, hardships, and our pure desire – before Him, and pour out our hearts to Our Ever-Loving Father.   Then listen to Him.   God knows our heart and He knows what we need more than us.    He will provide as much as possible and as soon as possible.  Also we need to look into ourselves for our sins and arrogant egos before God, and humbly put out before God.    Then ask His forgiveness and mercy.   God answered to Joshua.   The same God surely answers us.  This is our faith in Him, because He is faithful and absolutely faithful to His dear children, i.e., us.   


He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?  (Romans 8:32)

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Heberews 12:2)

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Faith -- Victory to Sin and Humiliation in God


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

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. (Deuteronomy 7:6)


Before the eyes of the Israelites, the formidable wall of Jericho crumpled down while leaving no stone on top of another stone.  The thundering sound of the falling wall was so loud that they felt the whole earth was shaking like a big earthquake. 


The people in Jericho believed the wall, which protected so many years.  It looked really strong.  It reached to heaven.   They actually felt fear about the Israelites because they heard about the Israelites and especially their God, who freed the Israelites from Egypt with His mighty hand.   For the last seven days, what the Israelites did was very strange.   Their priests were in front, and the warriors quietly followed the priests blowing horns.   Then they just circled the wall of Jericho.  Everyone in the Jericho carefully watched what the Israelites were doing.   Initially, they thought that it might be a trick.    But nothing suspicious.   Really strange.   Nobody said anything while the Israelites circled.   On the third day, one of the watchmen on top of the wall laughed at the Israelites as circling because it was completely ridiculous to his eye.   This laughter suddenly spread out among the entire people in Jericho.   All of them were laughing at the Israelites.    The laughter was so loud that it was even heard by the Israelites who were circling the wall.   On the seventh day, following the God’s command, the Israelites circled seven times, and shouted.   The wall that the people of Jericho so much believed suddenly fell.   The people of Jericho could not understand what was going on, and they were in chaos.

When the people of Israel heard the sound of the rams’ horns, they shouted as loud as they could.   The Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it.  There was no resistance because the people of Jericho were in chaos.   They completely destroyed everything in it with their swords—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep, goats, and donkeys.


Before this miracle, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the town!  Jericho and everything in it must be completely destroyed as an offering to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and the others in her house will be spared, for she protected our spies.”   Rahab was the person who hid the Israel spies so that the spies could return safely, and they promised to save Rahab and her household.    

Joshua continued, “Do not take any of the things set apart for destruction, or you yourselves will be completely destroyed, and you will bring trouble on the camp of Israel.  Everything made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron is sacred to the LORD and must be brought into his treasury.”    Joshua commanded not to spare anything except those that were sacred to God, which could be given to God’s treasury.  


Then the men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, mother, brothers, and all the other relatives who were with her. They moved her whole family to a safe place near the camp of Israel.   The Israelites burned the town and everything in it. Only the things made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron were kept for the treasury of the LORD’s house as commanded by God.    God was great.  His power was above everything including the wall of Jericho, which was invincible for decades.   They praised God and His Glorious Name!

But all of the Israelites were not completely obedient.  A man named Achan had stolen some of these dedicated things.  Achan thought that nobody would know if he secretly saved some of the beautiful and precious things on his eyes.   He hid them.  Yes, nobody knew what Achan did.   All of them were in the highest celebration mood because it was the first victory in the Premised Land.  Jericho was the biggest and strongest.    With God, there was nothing that could block their going through the Promised Land.   All of them felt that finally they possessed the Promised Land.   All believed that from the point, they just marched through the Promised Land and occupied the land.    Some of them even felt that they were invincible.   They defeated the biggest and strongest Jericho.  Nobody in the land could challenge the Israelites anymore.

Following the huge victory at the Jericho battle, all of them were really confident.   Then Joshua brought his people and told them they would repeat the victory again.   The people heard Joshua and shouted together in joy because the next victory was sure.   The next one was Ai, which was far smaller than Jericho, and much weaker than Jericho.   It was a piece of cake.  Joshua picked some of his men and sent to spy out the town of Ai, east of Bethel, near Beth-aven.


The spies returned, and told Joshua, “There’s no need for all of us to go up there; it won’t take more than two or three thousand men to attack Ai. Since there are so few of them, don’t make all our people struggle to go up there.”   It was an excellent report.   As expected, Ali was an easy one.  

Per the spies’ report, Joshua assembled about 3,000 warriors.   He confidently sent to Ali.   However, the reality was opposite.  The 3,000 warriors were soundly defeated. The men of Ai chased the Israelites from the town gate as far as the quarries, and they killed about thirty-six who were retreating down the slope.  As soon as the Israelites heard about this defeat, suddenly fear fell upon them.  The Israelites were paralyzed at this turn of events, and their courage melted away.


Joshua hurriedly assembled the elders of Israel, and together tore their clothing in dismay, threw dust on their heads, and bowed face down to the ground before the Ark of the LORD until evening.   All of the hopes and dreams were suddenly gone, and instead, they were in fear and darkness. 

Joshua cried out, “Oh, Sovereign LORD, why did you bring us across the Jordan River if you are going to let the Amorites kill us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side!  Lord, what can I say now that Israel has fled from its enemies?  For when the Canaanites and all the other people living in the land hear about it, they will surround us and wipe our name off the face of the earth. And then what will happen to the honor of your great name?”  Joshua with the elders were in tears before the Father God like children.


Then God said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this?  Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings.  That is why the Israelites are running from their enemies in defeat. For now Israel itself has been set apart for destruction. I will not remain with you any longer unless you destroy the things among you that were set apart for destruction.”

God continued, “Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow.   In the morning you must present yourselves by tribes, and the LORD will point out the tribe to which the guilty man belongs. That tribe must come forward with its clans, and the LORD will point out the guilty clan. That clan will then come forward, and the LORD will point out the guilty family. Finally, each member of the guilty family must come forward one by one. The one who has stolen what was set apart for destruction will himself be burned with fire, along with everything he has, for he has broken the covenant of the LORD and has done a horrible thing in Israel.”


Early the next morning Joshua brought the tribes of Israel before the LORD, and the tribe of Judah was singled out. Then the clans of Judah came forward, and the clan of Zerah was singled out. Then the families of Zerah came forward, and the family of Zimri was singled out.  Every member of Zimri’s family was brought forward person by person, and Achan was singled out.

Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, by telling the truth. Make your confession and tell me what you have done. Don’t hide it from me.”

Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. Among the plunder I saw a beautiful robe from Babylon, 200 silver coins, and a bar of gold weighing more than a pound.  I wanted them so much that I took them. They are hidden in the ground beneath my tent, with the silver buried deeper than the rest.”    Achan loved what he saw, and he took it secretly.   Then he hid because he thought that nobody knew what he hid.   Achan did not realize that he could not hide the stolen goodies from God. 


So Joshua sent some men to make a search. They ran to the tent and found the stolen goods hidden there, just as Achan had said, with the silver buried beneath the rest. They took the things from the tent and brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites. Then they laid them on the ground in the presence of the LORD.

Then Joshua and all the Israelites took Achan, the silver, the robe, the bar of gold, his sons, daughters, cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats, tent, and everything he had, and they brought them to the valley of Achor.  Then Joshua said to Achan, “Why have you brought trouble on us? The LORD will now bring trouble on you.” And all the Israelites stoned Achan and his family and burned their bodies.  They piled a great heap of stones over Achan, which remains to this day. That is why the place has been called the Valley of Trouble ever since. So the sin ,which was the barrier between God and the people of Israel, was removed so that God’s promise could continue in their lives.   


God always wants His children to listen to Him first and do what God wants.  However, it is not easy.   Like Achan, when we see what we like, we want to have it.   Sometimes our desire to own what we want is so strong that we could not control ourselves like Achan.   Achan clearly knew what God wanted, but he could not resist his temptation.   Achan disobeyed God to own what he wanted.  Sins (even one single sin) before God block God’s blessings and build up a barrier between God and us.  Although God wants give, we cannot receive because of the barrier made out of our sins.   To restore the relationship with God, first, we need to get rid of our sins, especially hidden one that nobody knows except you and God.  (Remember that we can hide our sin from people, but not form God.   Yes, Achan was able to hid his sin from other people except God. )

Here is one more message from God.   How about Joshua?    Before occupying Jericho, Joshua prayed to God to know God’s plan and purified himself together with the rest of the Israelites to eliminate any chance of building up a barrier between God and Joshua together with the Israelites.    Please see what Joshua did before attacking Ai.   What was the mood and the mode of operations of Joshua?  How about the rest of the people?   They were really confident and almost felt they were invincible.   Did they pray to God to listen to God’s plan, and purified to get rid of sins that might be still with Joshua and his people?   No.   Joshua and his people were in joy and humanly confidence, which was another subtle form of sin.   This does not happen to just Joshua and the Israelites after the victory over Jericho.  We all become very self-confident as if we achieved a huge victory.  This self-confidence is very subtle, but deadly, which easily becomes the very source of our sins.   Once we are caught up in such a victory by being confident in ourselves, it is virtually impossible to get out of this trap.    Joshua was so faithful before God for forty years, but he could not resist this subtle and formidable temptation.   He became a prey of his own confidence.   Then who can say that I am immune to such a subtle and formidable temptation?   Certainly, nobody.   


Then how to overcome this temptation?     Only is the answer to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, who is the pioneer and finisher of our faith.   This is the very key to how to continue being a victor in our lives in Him, by Him and for Him.   Yes, we are more than conqueror in Christ!  Praise and Glory to God, whose mercy endures forever!    We are His people in His eternal care because He is our Ever-Loving Father.  Praise Him!  Praise His name from now and forever!


Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  (1 Corinthians 5:7)

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)