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  Faith: As Evidence By The Fall of Jericho

Faith is a vital factor in true Christianity. "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6). It is defined in the dictionary as, 'a firm and earnest belief', 'complete reliance', spiritual apprehension and acceptance of Divine revelation apart from absolute proof'. To this must be added to the meaning of the underlying Greek, consistency in profession', 'fidelity'.

By faith great difficulties are overcome which to mere nature would be impossible. By faith we are brought through trials which, if left to ourselves, would overwhelm us. Impossible situations have been resolved through faith. Nowhere in Scripture is this principle better illustrated than by the fall of Jericho; "by faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days" (Hebrews 11:30).

The setting of this incident is, the children of Israel had crossed the river Jordan and were now on Canaanitish soil, but no further progress could be made because this frontier city stood at the very entrance to the country. It was a renounced stronghold; one of the cities which put fear into the men who had previously been sent to spy out the land. their report was, "The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven" which was on the eastern outskirts of this formidable township (cf. Joshua 4:19) and the inhabitants were adequately prepared and equipped to stand against them.

The Scriptures tersely state, "Now Jericho was straightly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in" (Joshua 6:1). To all intents and purposes as far as the Israelites were concerned this city was impregnable, for they (the children of Israel) had no artillery, weapons of war or equipment of any description, neither were they a people trained for military action. Yet under God through obedience to Him, the walls of Jericho would fall flat and all the inhabitants be utterly destroyed.

It is a fascinating study to go through the Scriptures noting the mysterious ways in which God works and the strange methods invariable used. When God determined the safety of a babe who was to become the great lawgiver to His earthly people, He simply hid him in a little ark make of bulrushes. That mighty giant of the Anakims who so terrorized the Israelites, was brought down by a smooth stone slung by a shepherd boy. A faithful prophet was fed by a ravens in a time of dire famine John the Baptist dwelt in the wilderness, but was adequately sustained by locusts and wild honey.

The mighty, eternal Son of the true and living God was born of a virgin in a stable. The Lord of life and glory, in selecting men who would be His ambassadors, chose in the main humble, unlettered men who had no earthly credentials or qualifications. Mortal man must ever be aware of the fact that the God of heaven is independent of natural means. His is superior to the finite reasoning of puny man; He does not operate according to human conventions or accepted practice.

One has only to think of Isaac, who was born to such an aged couple as Abraham and Sarah, or of the young man Daniel who survived quite safely in a den of hungry lions, or of Jonah the prophet preserved in the belly of a whale for seventy two hours, to realize that these things pertain to omnipotence. When our limited minds appreciate the reality of such incidents, that they are genuine historic facts, then faith is enlarged and we begin to know our God as He really is; the God of infinite power whose ways are past finding out. Faith is a complete reliance and acceptance of Divine revelation apart from absolute proof.

It is quite clear that the fall of Jericho was brought about by God through faith (Hebrews 11:30). It is through faith of His people that God of heaven so often works. The historic account of the fall of Jericho is an outstanding example of complete reliance upon the Almighty in a hopeless situation. These people had crossed over Jordan and were now on enemy territory; if they did not conquer the Canaanites then their extinction was almost certain. Jericho was their first encounter.

At this critical juncture, God have His instructions, "And ye shall compass the city, ally men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shall thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him" (Joshua 6:3-5).

For the men of Israel to calmly march around this city every day after this manner for six days was a perilous undertaking, for it would most certainly provoke the inhabitants who, from the high city walls, could shoot arrows and throw missiles. Nevertheless God had given His instructions and the Israelites acted accordingly. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that obedience and faith go together.

Faith is absolutely dependent upon obedience, and obedience is dependent upon true faith. These Israelites would never have obeyed such a simplistic command if they had not believed what God had said concerning the end result. What could appear more ridiculous than to march peacefully around a fortified city once a day for six days, then on the seventh day do it seven times and blow trumpets and shout?

Humanly speaking it was laughable, but Almighty God had commanded and through obedience, Jericho's wall would fall flat. The instructions were simple, it did not require extensive training, not even a rehearsal. A give number of circuits was specified, they were told when to be silent and when to shout. They were not asked for their opinion on the matter, or if they had any helpful suggestions to make; all that was required of Israel was to obey, then God would work.

In this a Divine principle is set forth which is operative today just as it was three and a half thousand years ago, yet how slow are the people of God to learn the lesson that faith demands obedience. What disobedience is evident among many professing Christians today, both in their walk and so-called worship, by the intrusion of their ideas, science, wisdom or academic capabilities, is to be branded unreasonable and completely out of touch.

Nevertheless the truth of Holy Writ will ever stand: "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and thing which are despised, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are; that no flesh should glory in his presence" (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

It is the full proclamation of the Word of God and the ordering of all worship and service according to the simplicity of the New Testament mandate, which is obligatory upon all believers. We are to listen to the instruction of the Great Head and act accordingly. Indeed if there is a true faith it will manifested in this way, for our Lord Himself said, "If a man love me he will keep my words" (John 14:23). Discipline will be evident through conformity to the pattern laid down.

Discipline was wonderfully evidenced in the faith and conduct of the Israelites at Jericho. The instructions were, "Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout: then shall ye shout" (Joshua 6:10). "Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise", this was a work of God, therefore instructions must be rigorously carried out.

What mischief would have ensued if men (and women perhaps) had come to Joshua with their ideas, giving advice and making suggestions. This however was not the case because there was truth faith, discipline was exercised, they were obedient. For six days they marched in solemn silence. None because exuberant or ecstatic, shouting, 'Hallelujah, Hallelujah, God is going to flatten your walls, He has told us so, Hallelujah, praise the Lord'.



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