It requires courage to obey God when His instructions don’t make sense to us. But as we obey Him anyway we realize that God knows what He is doing and His ways are always best.
One of the most unusual obedience stories in the Bible is the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho.
I loved this story as a kid. We would act it out in Sunday School. We would sing the song, “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho….and the walls came tumbling down.”
At the command of God, Joshua would lead the nation of Israel across the Jordan River and the first city the came to was Jericho. Joshua waited on God for instructions on how to conquer the city and God’s plan was not what he was expecting.
The story is found in Joshua chapter 6. The Israelites were instructed to march around the city once a day for six days. On the seventh day, they were to walk around the city seven times. At the end they are to blow trumpets and shout with a loud voice. At that moment God would miraculously make the walls fall so the Israelites could conquer.
We learn some things about obedience from this unusual story.
1. God’s instructions are not always what we would choose.
God’s ways are not our ways. How many times have we felt this way?
There are four common ways an army would attack a walled city:
• Go over the wall with ladders
• Dig a tunnel underneath the wall
• Smash a hole through the gates or the wall
• Surround the city and starve them out
• God had a different plan
All of them make sense to me. Doesn’t these approaches seem like good plans to you? But these are the ways of men. When we have a problem we rely on ingenuity, strategy, and instinct. But God had a different plan.
1 Corinthians 1:25 – “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”
As we read the Bible, some of God’s instructions go completely against our instincts:
• Love those who hate you
• Forgive those who have wronged you
• Do not seek revenge, leave justice to God
• Save sexual intimacy for marriage
• Give God 10% of your income
• Trust God to provide for your needs
• Rejoice in every circumstance
None of this makes sense to our minds. Each of these instructions from God sound just as foolish to some people as a military strategy of walking around a city and shouting.
2. Faith and obedience lead us into path of victory.
Faith and obedience go hand in hand. What leads us to obey God is the fact that we trust Him. If you don’t trust him, you won’t obey Him. Faith is choice. Obedience is a choice.
Every time we do something just because God “said so” we are acting in faith.
The fall of Jericho should be great encouragement to us as God’s people to trust his promises and obey his instructions, no matter how impossible the situation appears to be. You and I will never capture an entire city the way Joshua did, but in our everyday lives we face spiritual enemies and high walls that challenge us, and the only way to grow in faith is to accept the new challenge and trust God to give us the victory.
Today’s Challenge: Is there an area of your life in which you continue to struggle with obedience to God. Do you hear his voice calling you to surrender? Faith and obedience are the keys to victory. Friends, God can be trusted. His track record proves his faithfulness. Will you trust him one more time? Will you commit your life to obedience?
- What is the connection between faith and obedience?
- Which area of your life are you struggling to obey God?
- Share a testimony of a time when you obeyed God when it didn't make sense.
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