By Randy Harmon
Pastor, Rock Springs Baptist Church, Greenbrier
Focal Passage: Joshua 6:1-5, 12-16, 20
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” It is a reminder that our own wisdom is limited and flawed. God, when He works, tends to do things in a way that brings glory to Himself. The battle plan God reveals to His people for the conquest of Jericho is unconventional to say the least. God’s plan builds trust in Him. Those who obey will see Him work in unexpected ways for His glory!
God was already at work, v. 1. God’s reputation and power through His people preceded their arrival in the land. Apparently, Jericho had heard about God’s work and because of fear the city was “tightly shut.” When you are living in opposition to God, and understand His power, fear is an appropriate response. Many in our world would rather attempt to shut God out instead of invite Him in. Once again, God was at work long before His servants arrived.
God revealed His plan, vv. 2-5. God promised victory to His people before the battle even began. He gives instructions for His battle plan.
God’s plan for Joshua and the people is detailed in its nature. It is amazingly specific.
God’s plan for His people here is supernatural (not what man would have done). God’s plan sounds strange to anyone who might devise a plan of attack. As His people marched around the city; claiming it for God, and then executed God’s plan, He would bring victory in a way that unquestionably glorified Him and brought no attention to a human warrior. If His people obeyed Him they would know without a doubt that it was God who would bring this victory. The Psalmist says, “Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God” (Psalm 20:7).
God’s people obeyed (specifically), vv. 12-16. A good plan is useless without action. As strange as this plan might seem, God’s people needed to obey in order for it to succeed. The people were careful to do precisely what God said with no human improvements. There is no improving on God’s plan! I believe He gave specific instructions because He anticipated specific obedience to His plan. There was no alternative way to victory over Jericho that would bring honor to God. The end result would come in the way He instructed, and obedience was a part of that process. Our obedience to God’s plan for our lives and churches today is a part of the process God wants to use to grow us and prepare us for present and future service in His Kingdom!
God brought success, v. 20. God worked, God revealed His plan, and as His people obeyed, they were successful. They were not successful just because they marched, or they shouted, or they blew trumpets. They were successful because “God had given Jericho into their hands” (v. 2). We must be careful of robbing God of honor and glory. The work we do for His kingdom through our churches is never about us as individuals or any church. It is for His honor and glory!
God’s plan, though it may seem strange will always bring attention to His great name. God is at work around us. He reveals His plan to His people as we grow in relationship with Him. His plan often brings challenges to our faith, but as we adjust ourselves to Him and His plan, He works through us as we obey to accomplish His work. When that happens, people are drawn to Him.
— Harmon is pastor of Rock Springs Baptist Church, Greenbrier.