When I ran the New York City Marathon in 1993, I hit the wall at about 20 miles in the 26.2 mile race. If you’ve ever competed in an endurance race you know what I’m talking about. It wasn’t a physical wall, but it might as well have been. The wall is the point in the race where you feel like you can’t go any further. It’s the point where you feel like there’s a wall in front of you that is holding you from moving on and is holding you back from winning the race finals.
There can be times in life when we hit a wall, which prevents us from moving forward. It could be the wall of the marital conflict. It could be the wall of addiction. It could be the wall of financial problems. Whatever the circumstance, when we bump into this wall we feel like we can’t move on. We believe that victory is out of reach. No matter what we do, this wall stands there, stands in our way and mocks us when we face it with a sense of despair, a sense of defeat. Victory is on the other side of this wall, but we cannot do anything on our own to overcome this wall.
But there is a way to get over that wall, there is a way to get to victory on the other side. It’s found in God’s Word in chapter 6 of the book of Joshua.
In the passages before Joshua chapter 6, the Israelites had finally crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land. But before they could call this land their own, they encountered opposition from the people who currently inhabited it. They would run into obstacles in claiming this land, and the first obstacle came in the form of a wall.
Now the gates of Jericho were shut tight because the people were afraid of the Israelites. Nobody was allowed out or in. (Joshua 6: 1, NLT)
The city of Jericho was a walled city, and for fear of the Israelites, the people of Jericho had shut the city gates tightly. In order for Joshua and the army of the Israelites to take this city, they had to deal with this wall. And as we read at Joshua 6: 1, no one was allowed to enter or leave Jericho. This wall stood between the Israelites and victory. There was nothing they could do on their own to get through this wall. So there they stood in front of this wall. I like the way verse 2 begins, “But the Lord said to Joshua…” The wall may have kept the Israelites from victory, but God had a plan that he revealed to Joshua: “Okay, Joshua, take your men and march around town once a day for six days. Have seven priests come to them, each walking in front of the ark, each wearing a ram’s horn. Then on the seventh day I want you to march through town seven times and have the priests blow their horns. Then the priests will give a long explosion on the rams’ horns. If so, have all of the people scream the loudest they can. The walls of Jericho will fall and you can storm straight into the city to victory. “
Now this may have seemed like a crazy plan. Who would have blamed Joshua if he had said, “Well, we only walk through the city for seven days, the priests blow their trumpets, we scream and the wall falls? Come on lord what’s the real plan? “But this was the god who parted the Red Sea so they could escape the Egyptians. This was the god who made manna available in the desert, the god who opened the Jordan so they could enter the promised land. So Joshua gave the orders, and the Israelites followed God’s plan in a T. Let’s see what happened next.
So when the priests blew the trumpets, people screamed. And it happened when people heard the sound of the trumpet and people shouted with a great cry The wall fell flat. Then people went into town, every man in front of him, and they took the town. (Joshua 6:20, NKJV)
The Israelites came to the other side of the wall opposite them. They got their victory. Why? Because they believed in God and that belief inspired obedience. Hebrews 11:30 (NLT) says: “By faith the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls collapsed.” The faith of Joshua and the people of Israel in God was great, so they obeyed the word of the Lord and followed his plan. When we face walls in our lives, we must look to this example of faith. In faith we must come before the Lord and seek his plan. Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NIV) say: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding; submit to him in all your ways, and he will straighten your ways. “
If we practice faith, allow God to show us the way past our walls, and then obediently submit to Him, we will see the walls we face fall flat and receive our victory. Our faith is our victory. As God’s Word tells us in 1 John 5: 4 (NLT), “And this is the victory that overcame the world – our faith.”
Scripture quotations marked with NLT are from the Bible, New Living Translation, Copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015, Tyndale House Foundation. Used with permission from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked with NIV come from the Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®
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Scripture quotations marked with NKJV are from the Holy Bible, New King James Version, Copyright © 1982 Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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