28th January 2019

Walled Cities

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

Phew! To use modern vernacular, it all happens in the book of Joshua—espionage, double-dealing, circumcision, miraculous events, acts of war and incredible acts of faith—and that’s only the first six chapters! Like many pages of the Bible it is easy to read over what is being said. This is a brief summary: The Israelites miraculously cross the Jordan River. Joshua sends two spies to check out the formidable walled city of Jericho. The spies escape with their lives thanks to Rahab, a resident of Jericho, who strikes a deal with them, i.e. she will protect them if they in turn promise to protect her and her family from the death and destruction she firmly believes is going to soon take place. God instructs Joshua on how to proceed and conquer the great city of Jericho. There are precise and strict instructions about what the Israelites should do. Joshua is an accomplished military commander but is obedient to divine guidance, not relying on his own strength. The Israelites march once around the city for seven days as instructed. The walls of Jericho fall. The city and its enemy inhabitants are overcome. The Israelites are victors and they give thanks to God.

Jericho presented a formidable obstacle in this, their Promised Land. Israel needed God to guide them and intervene for them. There are many themes in the book of Joshua but faith is certainly a main one. The fall of Jericho was the miracle of faith. The stakes were high: life or death. Joshua and the people of Israel put their trust and faith in God, as did Rahab. What about us? What can we learn from Joshua’s response to God? We all have our walled cities, that is, formidable obstacles in life. They may be less dramatic, more subtle, sometimes hidden in the recesses of our minds, or imaginations, but real obstacles nevertheless. The obstacles we face come in all shapes and sizes: unemployment, illness, bereavement, family problems, past mistakes, missed opportunities, financial worries, etc. It is easy to fall victim to fear in this life but we’re taught to ‘be strong and courageous’ (Joshua 1:9) and to put our faith in God (Romans 12:3), who will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). The apostle Paul admonishes us in Hebrews, citing the faith of Rehab and the fall of Jericho, to put our trust and faith in God (Hebrews 11:30-31).

Joshua reminds us of those who have gone before us who acted in faith, who were strong and courageous in the face of many difficulties. Their record serves to encourage us. Whatever our walled cities, let’s be strong and courageous putting our trust and faith in God.

Prayer
Lord God Almighty, we pray that you will give us courage, strength and faith to face the many challenges of this life. We give you grateful thanks for the biblical examples set before us and ask that we be encouraged and look to you whatever the obstacles are.
Amen

Study by Kevin Harris
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About the Author:
Kevin Harris attends the Watford Congregation of Grace Communion International in the UK.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Watford, Herts.
WD24 7HF

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11AM

Local Congregational Contact:
George Henderson
Phone: 01923-855570
Email: george.sueann.henderson49@gmail.com

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