“Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. But Joshua commanded the people, “You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.” -Joshua 6:1-4,10
This story has always caught my attention. If I had to put it into my own words: God told Joshua to tell all the people to march around a wall where a bunch of strong and powerful men had locked themselves inside. He said, “Don’t make any noise, just keep marching until the day I tell you to yell.”
I mean of all the things God could tell his people to do to get at a prostitute and her family out of a city of proud and strong people. March around a wall? How mundane. How boring. How redundant.
I’m sure there were conversations back at the camp at night after days of walking around the wall of Jericho in silence. I’m sure there were those who wondered, “Why in the world are we doing this?”
Do you ever feel like you’re living this life of faith, doing what God tells you to do, and it seems like you’re walking in circles? Do you have a person or people in your life that you long to see surrender their hearts to Jesus, but year after year goes by and there’s no response? No change. No desire to come to church with you. No willingness to talk with you about the gospel. They seem perfectly and firmly shut in, keeping your Jesus out.
I do. And I start to get weary.
Today, I drove into the driveway of my house, the grey skies and dormant yellow grass leaving a dull hew on the visage of my normal veiw of home. I shut the car off and sat there for awhile, looking up into the thick cloudy skies, and muttered a prayer of fatigue. “Lord, how long? How long am I supposed to keep…” My prayer was interrupted by the verses above ringing in my ears. “Yes Lord, how long am I supposed to keep marching around these walls?” I surrendered.
The Holy Spirit searching my thoughts before I spoke them, knowing my doubts and slowness to believe, helped me remember that eventually those walls came crashing down and Rahab and her family were saved.
I love a man who has resisted my desire for him to know Christ for 25 years. And for 25 years the Spirit has continued to give me my marching orders: Keep dwelling with him. Keep loving him. Keep bearing with him. Keep serving him. Keep worshipping me while he watches what the King James Version of the Bible calls, “… the conversation of your life.”
One day the walls are going to fall. Just as Jericho’s walls fell, one day the walls around the heart of those I love, those God has commanded me to stay the course with, are going to crumble at the sound of the instrument God choses to bring them down. And on that day I am going to be overjoyed.
So now, while I sit in my driveway on a cold, grey day, feeling weary of not seeing God bring down the walls yet, I chose to praise him.
Beloved, don’t grow weary in doing good. God is using your life to save others. Keep marching. Keep following Jesus. At the right time, whether he uses your mouth or another’s, he’s going to destroy the proud walls that are keeping the guilty from their rescue.