WORSHIP OR WARFARE?
Lord, we understand that You have a reason for doing everything.
Read JOSHUA 6:1–11
6 Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.
2 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”
6 So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” 7 And he ordered the army, “Advance! March around the city, with an armed guard going ahead of the ark of the Lord.”
8 When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the Lord went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the Lord’s covenant followed them. 9 The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 10 But Joshua had commanded the army, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” 11 So he had the ark of the Lord carried around the city, circling it once. Then the army returned to camp and spent the night there.
‘I urge you … in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship’ (Rom 12:1).
The commander of the Lord’s army appears to Joshua (Josh 5:13–15) and now continues His instructions. Is this war strategy or worship? God has already delivered the city into Joshua’s hands (2). Joshua has no idea what is going on behind Jericho’s gates, yet God commands him to ‘see’. Joshua needs to see within, leaning on the Almighty who has promised to give him everything on which he sets his foot (Josh 1:3). Walking in faith sometimes means carrying out instructions which may seem abstract. Prior to the Exodus, Pharaoh was repeatedly ordered to let the people go simply ‘so that they may worship’ (Exod 7:16; 8:1, 20; 9:1). Here at Jericho we see an army ready to follow God into battle, but accompanied by priests, trumpets, and shouts; this is a sacred procession. Faith must translate into action: they are commanded to raise a shout of triumph prior to victory; the military is prepared to fight for Joshua and the people’s inheritance.
We are not called to passivity, waiting on God to empty the city so we can claim our victory, but rather to walk with confidence into God’s will. Parading around a city and then stopping must have invited questions, and the concept of shouting the walls down seems anything but logical – let alone spiritual. Faith, however, may take us where we have never been before. The Israelites have faith in God – and also in Joshua. God-honoring worship and spiritual warfare are close companions, for they bring down strongholds, restoring to us God-given ground. God is both our strength and our defense (Ps 118:14). Therefore, our stand is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, authorities, spiritual powers of the world, and the forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6:12; Matt 16:18).
Lord, enable us to be worshippers who follow You and Your commandments, regardless of the personal cost. Lord, increase our faith and trust today.
Lord, we will do what You say even when it makes no sense to us.
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