In 1993, when I ran the New York City Marathon, I hit the wall at about 20 miles into the 26.2 mile race. If you’ve ever run a long distance race, you know what I’m talking about. It wasn’t a physical wall, but it might as well have been. The wall is that point in the race where you feel like you can’t continue. It’s the point where you feel like there is a wall in front of you that is keeping you from going any further, keeping you from the victory of finishing the race.
In life, there can be times when we hit a wall, something that keeps us from moving forward. It could be the wall of marital conflict. It could be the wall of addiction. It could be the wall of financial problems. Whatever the circumstance, when we hit that wall, we feel that we can’t go on. We feel like victory is unattainable. No matter what we do, that wall is standing there, standing in our way, mocking us as we face it with a sense of despair, a sense of defeat. Victory stands on the other side of that wall but there is nothing that we can do in our own strength to overcome that wall.
But there is a way to get beyond that wall, there is a way to get to the victory on the other side. It’s found in God’s Word, in chapter 6 of the book of Joshua.
In the passages leading up to Joshua, chapter 6, the Israelites had finally crossed the Jordan River and had entered the Promised Land. But, before they could call that land their own, they would face opposition from the people who currently inhabited it. They would face obstacles as they sought to claim that land, and the first obstacle came in the form of a wall.
Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in. (Joshua 6:1, NLT)
The city of Jericho was a walled city and, out of fear of the Israelites, the people of Jericho had tightly shut the gates to the city. In order for Joshua and the army of the Israelites to take that city, they had to deal with that wall. And, as we read in Joshua 6:1, no one was allowed in or out of Jericho. That wall stood between the Israelites and victory. There was nothing they could do in their own power to get through that wall. So there they stood, facing that wall. I love the way that verse 2 begins: “But the Lord said to Joshua…” The wall may have been keeping the Israelites from victory, but God had a plan, which He revealed to Joshua: “Alright, Joshua, take your men and march around the city once a day for six days. Have seven priests join them, walking ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. Then, on the seventh day, I want you to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. Then, the priests will give one long blast on the rams’ horns. When that happens, have all the people raise the loudest shout they possibly can. The walls of Jericho will fall and you can charge straight into the town to victory.”
Now this may have seemed like a crazy plan. Who would have blamed Joshua if he said, “So, we just walk around the city for seven days, the priests blow their trumpets, we shout, and the wall falls down? Come on, Lord, what’s the real plan?” But this was the God who parted the Red Sea so they could escape the Egyptians. This was the God who provided manna in the wilderness, the God who opened the Jordan River so that they could enter the Promised Land. So, Joshua gave the orders and the Israelites followed God’s plan to a T. Let’s look at what happened next.
So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. (Joshua 6:20, NKJV)
The Israelites got to the other side of the wall that faced them. They received their victory. Why? Because they had faith in God, and that faith inspired obedience. Hebrews 11:30 (NLT) says, “It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.” The faith Joshua and the people of Israel had in God was great, and so they obeyed the word of the Lord and followed His plan. When we face walls in our lives, we need to look toward this example of faith. In faith, we need to come before the Lord and seek his plan. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
When we exercise faith, allow God to show us the way past our walls, then submit to Him in obedience, we will see the walls we face fall flat and will receive our victory. Our faith is our victory. As God’s Word tells us in 1 John 5:4 (NLT), “And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture quotations marked NKJV are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.