Initially, Joshua expected the battle of Jericho to be his war, but then he came face-to-face with his Commander in Chief and learned that the battle belonged to the Lord. Joshua’s part was not to win the war but simply to make himself available to the true Commander in Chief. Joshua first surrendered to God—only then could Joshua have victory.
We can learn a great deal from Joshua’s response that can help us in our own seemingly impossible battles.
I see several strategies emerge from Joshua’s experience. We need them in the pastorate.
- Strategy One: Get a clear understanding of God’s plan. God said to Joshua, in essence, “March, blast your trumpets, and shout.” Before you can march to God’s orders, you must understand His plan for you. The first concerns your “opponent”—you know, that exasperating individual in your community, the one within your congregation, or that person among your church leadership. Our culture will tell you to retaliate. But God’s plan is for you to forgive the person—the most unnatural thing that two angry people would do with one another. Nevertheless, that’s His plan. Do you trust enough in God’s plan to obey Him in your impossible situation?
- Strategy Two: Cooperate completely with God’s strategy. Nobody in Joshua’s company tried to do something else. God’s plan was simple and specific, it was clear and concise . . . and it was obeyed. When God’s Word directs you to do something, don’t argue—just do it. You may need to ask Him for the strength and the willingness to follow, but determine to follow Him regardless. What do you need to do today to follow God’s strategy?
- Strategy Three: Follow God’s plan by faith. Hebrews 11:30 explains why God’s strategy worked for Joshua. “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been encircled for seven days.” Joshua’s people followed God with childlike faith. They simply believed that this is what they should do. As a result, God honored their faith. I honestly think Joshua, in firm and confident faith, expected the wall to fall flat.
What is your Jericho? What is the battle in front of you? What is your challenge? Your opponent? Your struggle? Take a moment now to focus on it clearly in your mind.
Got it? Now face it.
Remember—you cannot fight it in your own flesh—it’s got to be the Lord’s battle. He takes pleasure in turning an impossible situation into a remarkable victory. But it means you need the courage to surrender to His strategy and do it His way—by faith . . . in His strength . . . and in His timing.
When you do that, and I pray it is today, you will be amazed how expected impossibilities turn into incredible opportunities.