“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days” (Hebrews 11:30 ESV).
Although Jericho was the first city the people of Israel encountered upon their entrance into the Promised Land, it appears their reputation preceded their arrival in that area.
You see, Joshua 2:9-10 tells us that the residents of Jericho knew God had parted the Red Sea for the Israelites decades earlier. They were also aware of Israel’s successful military engagements with the nation-states they encountered prior to their arrival in that area. These reports made the people of Jericho very concerned about Israel- so much so that Joshua 6:1 tells us that the city was locked up tight in an effort to keep them out.
With that, let’s look at God’s plan to conquer this seemingly indestructible fortress…
“The Lord said to Joshua, I am about to hand Jericho, its king, and its warriors over to you. All the soldiers will march around the city once a day for six days. Seven priests will carry rams’ horns ahead of the ark. But on the seventh day you must march around the city seven times while the priests blow their horns. When you hear a long blast on the horn, all the troops must shout very loudly. The wall around the city will collapse. Then the troops must charge straight ahead into the city” (Joshua 6:2-5 GW).
We can derive several important lessons regarding faith from this passage. For instance, no credible military strategist would ever endorse an invasion plan that involved marching around a metropolitan area for a week. Yet, that was the tactical plan God issued to the people of Israel. Thus, faith recognizes that God may choose to fulfill His purposes in unusual ways.
We can also say that faith sometimes requires patience. Remember that the walls of Jericho didn’t fall immediately; and the people of Israel had to exercise patience in order to see the result God intended for them.
Joshua 6:20 identifies something else we can learn from this example: faith acts on what God has promised…
“So the troops shouted very loudly when they heard the blast of the rams’ horns, and the wall collapsed. The troops charged straight ahead and captured the city” (GW).
So the people of Israel acted upon God’s directive first. Then they saw Him fulfill His promises on their behalf. This is a characteristic of faith that is often repeated throughout Hebrews chapter eleven.
So the walls of Jericho came down, but not everyone perished in the city’s destruction…
“Joshua said to the two men who had scouted the land, ‘Go to the prostitute’s house and bring the woman out of there, and all who are with her, just as you swore to her'” (Joshua 6:22 CSB).
That portion of Scripture will lead us into our look at the next hero of the faith from Hebrews chapter eleven.