Let me put the following to you: You are about to attend a job interview. You are not applying for any job, this is the dream job. The job where you intend to spend the rest of your working career in fruitful, productive bliss.
You have spent the last few days brushing up on your company knowledge, perfecting your CV, practicing your smile and preparing for all manner of questions. You are battle ready and willing to bring it on.
The big day finally comes and you are counting down the hours. To pass the time you rehearse your responses to those catch 22 enquiries. “Biggest Weakness? I’m glad you asked”. Walking up to the front door, you pause and are addressed by God. He has instructions:
Look, I have handed (this job)… over to you
“Great, thanks God. I feel much more confident now”. There is, however, a catch.
March around the (office)… circling the (office) one time. Do this for six days… But on the seventh day, march around the (office) seven times, whilst the priests blow the trumpets
Now be honest, how many of you would think, “Great, I’ll just go order some vuvuzelas on eBay”!
I know I wouldn’t, yet this is pretty much the circumstance that the Israelis and Joshua found themselves in. They have been promised a land, scouted it out, and came prepared for war. Now generally war means besieging the fortifications before (ideally) the surrender of the opposing forces. It involves restricting or poisoning water supplies, building encampments and other generally masculine activities.
I can imagine that after so long in the desert many of the young men would have common fantasies about precisely how they’d win the land of milk and honey. They’d envision their perfect technique each time they trained and visualise their opportunity for victory.
I don’t think too many of them saw going for a walk as a vital strategy…
We often talk about trusting God: being OK with losing your job because he has numbered the hairs on our head and all that. Yet here is an example of true faith. Walk around, be silent, wait until the call, then yell… OK! Wow, what trust.
Further, is there any clearer indication that it is God who wins our battles? All the Israeli’s had to do was yell, God did the rest.
I don’t know about you, but I often feel awkward evangelising. Often this is because I’m worried about what the others are thinking and still being seen as socially acceptable. He we see the antithesis of this attitude! Who cares what those of Jericho think, seeing the forces of Israel meander around their city walls, they are doing what God wants them to do. Moreover, they got up the next morning and did it all again. And the morning after that. And the mornings after that for as long as God required.
I wish I had some of that gumption. I wish I had noise-canceling headphones like those that tune out the mockery of the world so I can focus in on God’s direction. The funny thing is, just like “The Lord has given you the city”, God too has promised to give me all these things. I just need to start walking the path irrespective of how weird it might seem in our culture.