Jericho towered over the land with its tall walls, but sat quiet as a mouse.
News had come that God had walled up the waters of the Jordan River so the Israelites could cross, just like the Red Sea! Inside Jericho, fear melted the hearts of those living there like hot wax on a candle. Outside the walls, Israel waited for words from their wise leader, Joshua. Joshua was strong and very courageous. It wasn’t because he had bulging muscles or never quivered with fear. It was because his heart overflowed with trust in God. If God said He loved Israel, Joshua knew they were loved. If God promised them a land, then Joshua knew it would be theirs.
But now, as Joshua craned his neck to look at Jericho’s walls, his eyebrows knitted together and he wondered, What are we gonna do? God’s voice spoke into his thoughts, “I have given you Jericho.” Joshua’s eyebrows shot up and his eyes widened. He’s already given it to us! But wait, why are we still out here? God continued, “Give seven of the priests loud horns. March behind them around Jericho, once a day for six days. And no talking!” Joshua scrunched his eyebrows and squinted his eyes at these odd instructions. No spears? No war cries? And God wasn’t finished yet. “On day seven, march around the city seven times. After the last lap, tell the priests to sound those horns to the skies! Tell everyone to shout until their breath runs out! Those walls will crumble in a pile at your feet! Jericho is yours.” Though this battle plan was pretty strange, Joshua had already seen God do crazy things. He had watched God rip open the Red Sea. Joshua had munched on mysterious manna that floated down from Heaven. He drank crisp, cool water that gushed from a rock. Joshua reassured himself in his heart, God loves us. Everything He does is best. Joshua’s big faith went to work doing all God had said. Sure enough, seven days later, Jericho was theirs.
A lot of God’s plans seem odd: Passover, the Red Sea, Jericho. His plans ask people to trust that He is good and does what is best. His biggest and most important plan was the strangest of all. To rescue His people, Jesus would leave Heaven, putting His crown away for a short time, and become like us. He was God, but would cover Himself with skin and put on our weaknesses, because only then could He die in our place. God become man? God die on a cross? How crazy is that? This plan couldn’t be carried out by Moses or Joshua. The One who would do this would need the biggest, strongest, most perfect faith of all. He would have to trust in God’s love more than any person ever had. He would have to believe God’s way was best more than any of us ever could. Only Jesus could carry out the greatest plan in all the world.
How can we tell that Joshua trusted God’s plan to conquer Jericho?
How do we know that Jesus always trusted God perfectly?
What are some things that we could look for in our lives to show us that we are trusting God in our hearts?
This Advent devotional resource was produced by The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, TX. The original resource can be found here.