Intro: The walled ancient city of Jericho was very well built. It was surrounded by two massive stone walls, according to history. Six feet thick and twenty feet high, the outer wall 12 feet thick and 30 feet high, the inner wall Between these two walls, there was a guarded walkway 15 feet long. It was almost impossible to penetrate from a military perspective.
The walled city of Jericho prevented the Israelites from claiming the land that God had promised them, both physically and mentally. The walled city of Jericho had to fall before they could advance further into Canaan. The ancient city that stood in the way of Israel winning is a symbol of the things that are deeply ingrained and ingrained in our lives. It symbolizes the obstacles that prevent us from deepening our relationship with God. Even if you want to believe that you are pious, there are things in your life that make it hard to walk with God. You may be unable to grow more deeply in the things of God because of a terrible sin. It could be a source of resentment and unforgiveness that prevents you from achieving God's best for you. You may be being held back by an old, negative attitude. It could be a problem you struggle with on a daily basis that comes from your past. You might consider someone else to be more important than God. You might be unable to move forward with God because you have been hurt or treated unfairly. Whatever it is, it prevents you from achieving what God intends for you and serves as a stronghold in your life. Whatever it is, it has you stopped dead in your tracks, and you won't move on until you get over that grip on your life. That stumbling block must be removed before you can ever receive everything God has for you! We can find the assistance we require to overcome our own barriers as we reflect on this pivotal moment in the history of Israel. As we talk about Overcoming Our Strongholds, take note of the lessons that are presented in this passage with me. I. 5:13–15 THERE IS A LESSON ON SUPREMACY I realized that we looked at these verses last week, but they have a lot in common with the passage we are currently reading. Let me briefly refresh your understanding of these verses' meaning and content. A. There Is A Supreme Being: Joshua meets a person outside Jericho's walls who refers to himself as "The Captain of the host of the Lord." This is nothing less than a personal appearance and manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ prior to Bethlehem. Jesus Christ appeared to Joshua in person! The subject of salvation is discussed in this. We must first begin our journey before we can ever experience victory. Salvation is the beginning of the journey. Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior right now? Has there ever been a specific time in your life when you realized that Jesus was the only one who could save you and that you were a sinner who was headed to Hell? Do you recall the time that you were saved by God's grace and power? You will be aware of it if you have experienced it! You will be aware of it whenever someone the size of God enters your body! Have you ever been in direct conflict with God the Person? This is just a thought; however, Joshua bows in worship after meeting the Lord, verse 14. Have you noticed that? Your relationship with God is heavily influenced by your desire to worship. You will worship, but you will also bow, when you are saved, verse 14. B. A Supreme Position - Joshua is then informed by the Lord that He is the "Captain of the Lord's host." That is to say, He always comes out on top. Even before the battle is fought, he is the one who is walking in victory. He is the one in charge of every circumstance. Joshua is being reminded by him who actually fights the battles! This refers to our purification. We need to get to the point where we understand that any victories in our lives will be won by His power, not our own. We must comprehend that we are to submit to His power in all aspects of our lives and that we are to put our faith in Him to win every battle. Therefore, sanctification is our attainment of the point at which we commit our lives to Him and rely on Him to lead us to victory. Recognizing Him as Lord in every aspect of our lives is sanctification. Is that the case with you? Or, are there aspects of your life that God cannot enter? True sanctification is aware of the fact that either He is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all! It is aware that He requires the master key to all aspects of life. Have you realized who actually holds power? In the meantime, sustained victory is out of the question; you might as well get used to losing. C. There Is a Supreme Power Joshua and this man meet, and there are a few odd things about their encounter. First, Joshua's challenge is met by the Lord's response. Joshua inquired, "Are you for them or for us?" The Lord's response was "No!" That is completely bizarre! The next issue is what Joshua is instructed to do by the Lord in verse 15. He is instructed to remove his shoe from his foot there. Why merely one? Moses was instructed to take off both of his shoes when he met the Lord at the burning bush, Ex. 3:5. That certainly puzzles me. However, these two occurrences offer insight into the subject of surrender. The Lord responded, "No!" when Joshua asked if He was for Israel or Israel's enemies. "Joshua, I didn't come to take sides; I came to take over!" is what the Lord is saying. Joshua is being urged to give in to the Lord's authority during the battle at Jericho by this. Joshua learns that the power that will lead to victory belongs to God, not Joshua. What a valuable lesson for the church. We must learn that we will never be able to determine our own success or victory. Just as He did Joshua, God is merely reminding us that He is here to take control, not to choose sides in our conflicts. Why did the Lord only request one pair of shoes? The answer comes from old custom. When two people made a covenant, one of them had the power to keep it and the other didn't, so the weaker person gave the stronger person one of his shoes. He used it to say, "I can't, but you can." Ruth 4:6–8 demonstrates this. This presented Joshua with a challenge because it required him to acknowledge his own weakness and failure to win. It was an appeal to his submission to the Lord. We must discover the truth that He can, while we cannot. You've been trying to win your battles on your own despite the presence of some in this room, but you keep getting whipped. You need to take off your shoe, give it to God, and say, "Lord, I can't fight these battles, but you can!," removing it from your foot. You can win the victories I need, but I can't!" What I'm trying to say is that we need to give up everything! To that location where God is seated with us and everything we have. To the point where we are ready to declare, "I can't Lord, but You can!" once and for all Ill. Keep in mind that Joshua is a warrior, please! He put himself in a vulnerable position when he kneeled before the Lord. He let his neck show. He put himself in a position that prevented him from using his own sword. He put himself in a very vulnerable position. He completely gave in to the Lord! There will never be victory over the strongholds in our lives until we reach the point where we recognize His supremacy in everything. I. A Supremacy II Lesson Is Included. 6:1–5: A LESSON ON SUBMISSION The second important step toward spiritual victory over life's strongholds is to have faith in the Lord. Joshua displayed total submission in three locations. These ought to be accurate for us as well. A. v. 1-2 Before Joshua goes to battle against the city of Jericho, he was submissive to God's promises. He is brought back to the promises made by the Lord to grant Israel victory. Josh, there were previous promises. 2:9 also mentioned Josh's Present Promises. 6:2. Joshua was brought back to the actions that the Lord had previously promised. These promises had been known to Rahab for forty years. Joshua was reminded by the current promises that the Lord had not changed His mind. God's intention was still for Israel to win this battle. As we take a gander at our fortresses today, we might believe that we won't ever see them fall at our feet. We should always keep in mind that God will always fulfill His promises! The victory has been promised to us, and it will be ours, 1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:37. According to Romans, God is perfectly capable of fulfilling His promises. 4:21; Eph. 3:20. He did not save you so that you could be held captive in a walled city for the rest of your life. We have His previous assurances: Isa. 43:2. His current promises are for us: Heb. 13:5; 2 Cor. 12:9. B. v. 3-5a He Was Submissive to God's Plan - God's strategy for Israel's victory appears utterly bizarre on the surface. After all, what exactly did Israel have to do to tear down the walls of Jericho? Nothing! When it comes down to it, all that was required of them was to follow God's plan, and the walls would collapse flat. What was His strategy? The ark was to be preceded by seven priests carrying seven trumpets. The people were to follow behind the ark as the priests blew the trumpets, and the whole parade was to walk around the city once a day for six days. They were required to yell at the end of each of their seven walks around the city on the seventh day. The walls would fall flat when this occurred. Walled cities like Jericho, which were built on hills and had walls, were typically only conquered after lengthy sieges. Military might was rarely used to conquer cities like Jericho. They were also not taken over by seven-day-long silent armies. As the inhabitants of the walls starved to death, they were conquered by time. If I've ever heard of one, that's an odd plan! In fact, this strategy is absurd from a human and purely logical perspective! God dispels any notion that Israel will win this battle on her own in this instance. Faith in the Lord, His promises, and His power must be used to carry out the plan that God has crafted. He wants Israel to be aware that God's plan will prevail despite human efforts failing. When we carefully examine what the Lord instructed them to do, I believe there is a lesson here for us. 1. Seven priests were required of them. The biblical number for completion or fullness is seven. Priests are a symbol of a protector who stood in the way of men and God. This depicts an ideal or complete Advocate. The Bible says that the saints have a perfect advocate. 1 John 2:1 refers to him as the Lord Jesus Christ. He is also praying for us before the throne of God, Heb., as we confront the obstacles of life. 7:25; Rom. 8:34. 2. They were to bring seven trumpets made of ram's horn. Atonement was represented by the ram. Do you remember when Abraham executed Isaac by taking him to the top of Moriah? The atoning and redeeming price Isaac received came from a ram. Therefore, we require complete or perfect atonement. This has already been discussed tonight, but are you certain that you are saved? Until you are saved by God's grace, there will be no real, lasting victory over the flesh and the world. You are given the ability to triumph over and be free from the power of sin in your life when you become a partaker of God's plan for your salvation through the blood of Jesus, Rom. 6:1-14. 3. The Ark of the Covenant was to be taken by them. The Lord Jesus Christ in all of His splendor is represented by the ark. The golden pot of manna, which symbolizes His complete supply, was contained in the ark. Additionally, there was Aaron's developing rod. This spoke of the life and power of Christ. Additionally present were the legal tables. These serve as a reminder to us that He is the Law's fulfillment for each of us. This is the concept: We can find everything we need to defeat our life's obstacles in Jesus. He provides us with everything we need to fight. He controls everything on earth and in heaven. He empowers us to walk in life's newness. He has liberated us from the Law's power and requirements, allowing us to live in power and victory for the Father. 4. They were just supposed to carry these things around the city. As a result, God promised them that Jericho's walls would fall! To put it another way, all they needed to do to win was trust in God's plan and follow through with what He had given them. He wanted them to simply follow their faith! Jericho was a nine-acre city. To walk around it would have taken about 30 minutes. They then stood up, gathered, and marched around the city before returning home. They only moved and walked! We learned a lot from this! The following is the key to living a Christian life, triumphing over your scourges, and seeing your barriers destroyed: You cannot succeed! It is impossible to lead a Christian life! Jesus has already lived it, so you don't have to! Gal., you will rejoice in His victory as you submit to His plan and allow Him to live through you. 2:20. God only wants you to relax in Him and stop trying. The victory has already been his. By doing nothing, we win! We enjoy the victory that only He can provide by simply being in Him and having complete faith in His plan. C. v. 5b He Was Submissive To God's Power Israel was about to discover that victory belonged to the Lord rather than to them. They were about to take part in the most bizarre victory ever. They believed that simply putting their faith in God would be sufficient to secure victory rather than exerting effort. Are you not getting sick of attempting to live a Christian life but failing? Stop doing both then! You will stop failing if you stop trying! Put more faith in yourself! Simply learn to rest in Christ's finished work. Realize that God is the only one you can please. And if you believe in Jesus, He already loves you! I am not in favor of lazy living. Not at all! You will be more holy than ever if you live God's way, but you won't have to work as hard to enjoy it. He is the ideal defender. He is the most suitable Atonement. He is the Law's fulfillment for us. We can only take pleasure in the journey to Heaven and rest in the finished work of Jesus. Why do you believe that in John 19:9, He said, "It is finished"? Since it is! When all they really need to do is rest in the finished work of Christ, Matt., far too many people are defeated because they are attempting to live up to some standard that has been imposed on them by men. 11:28-30. The victories that Jesus has prepared for us will be ours if we learn to walk in what He has already done for us. He has already completed everything. Walking is all that remains for us to do! I. A Supremacy II Lesson Is Included. A lesson titled "Submission III" is included. 6:6-21: A LESSON IN SUCCESS These verses recount the thrilling story of Israel's victory at Jericho. What must have occurred to the city's inhabitants? The fulfillment of the Lord's promise to the Israelites came to pass. I'd like to bring up a few facts here today, just as they did. A. v. 6-15: "They simply did it God's way." Success required determination. They might have considered fighting. After all, the Israelites terrified the people of Jericho! Yet, all they did was walk! God instructed only that! There will always be victory when you follow God's instructions! When are we going to learn this? It has nothing to do with novel approaches! We do not require a brand-new service or Bible. We will try this devotional strategy in our own lives to gain His power; or, this type of prayer emphasizes being enthralled by God. We just need to walk with God with patience, consistency, and humility and carry out His business in His way. Simply walk when life does not make sense. Just walk when others give up. Walk whenever someone wants to fight. Simply walk when someone suggests a new strategy. Getting the victory, on the other hand, is God's business; compliance to Him is our own! He will grant grace for a daily walk that is consistent. However, those who wait on the LORD will regain their strength; They will mount with eagle-like wings; They will run without getting tired; and they won't faint as they walk,” Isa. 40:31. B. v. 16-20 Success Required Dedication Israel spent six days walking around that city. What happened to the city's walls when they did that? Nothing! What took place on the seventh day when they walked six times around that city? Nothing! utterly nothing! Why? In Rev. 13:18, the Bible frequently uses the number six to represent man's number. Man can exert as much effort as he wants under his own power, but he will never win! But Israel shouted seven times as it marched around that wall, and the wall gave way! The number seven represents God's completeness or completion. Israel continued to dedicate themselves until they entered the realm of God's power, passing from their own power! They would have been too worn out to fight after seven marches around that city! A miracle took place when they got to the place where they couldn't, but knew He could, and the stronghold fell flat! Before the wall collapsed, that's why they yelled! Even before they could actually see the victory, they were praising God for it! That is the essence of faith, Hebrews. 11:1. The Lord is honoured by that kind of faith! Keep in mind that when we get to the point where victory is entirely in His hands and not ours, we will triumph over our barriers! When we move into the realm of God's ability instead of our own, we leave the realm of our own power. When we live a life completely devoted to Him, we will see what God can accomplish! C. v. 21: Death Was Part of Success: After the walls fell, the Israelites entered Jericho and killed everyone who was still alive, with the exception of Rahab and her family (vv. 22–25). Do you think this is too extreme? God was aware that if the Jerichoites were allowed to continue living, they would influence the Israelites to turn away from Him. Therefore, when that stronghold's walls fell, the entire city was forced to perish. When you reach a point in your life where you are able to identify the obstacles in your way and God uses His power to knock those obstacles down for you; You must stand up and ensure that those things are eliminated from your life forever! Some of these people need to bring some stronghold before the Lord and destroy it! There are some things that must not exist! That stronghold will reestablish itself in our lives and become even more potent than ever if we fail to eliminate the underlying cause of the issue even though we defeat them today. It will be harder to bring it down the next time! Ill. Samuel's treatment of Agag after Saul spared the evil Amalekite king: "32 Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites." Agag then carefully approached him. And Agag stated, "Surely, death's bitterness is over." 33 Samuel replied, "Thy mother shall be childless among women, as thy sword hath made women childless." 1 Samuel describes how Samuel tore Agag to pieces in front of the LORD in Gilgal. 15:32-33. Agag is a representation of the flesh, and in order to defeat the flesh, it must be slashed to pieces. They must perish in order for you to prevail over your strongholds! The city was not the issue with Jericho! The population of Jericho was the problem. They had to die because they detested God and everything he stood for! I implore you to take immediate action to conquer your life's obstacles, no matter what it takes! You will be able to see those things put to rest forever thanks to God! Conc: I am grateful that God was able to grant the Israelites victory over Jericho as we reflect on this passage. It was an incredible miracle when those ancient walls were torn down. However, the Israelites were made aware by the removal of Jericho that God was with them and that He would grant them victory over all of their adversaries if they would only confront them in the Lord's way. That's what He's telling you right now. Have you identified the barriers that stand in your way of deepening your relationship with the Lord? Are you prepared to be completely free of them? They must be destroyed if you will. On your knees before the Lord in humble worship and submission to His will, you can fight your strongholds. If you are not saved, I challenge you to listen to the voice of the Lord and ask Him to save you before His presence. There is help in the Lord for you to reach a place of victory in your own walk with God if you are struggling in it. Our lives and the church need to be toppled from their strongholds. We must submit to Him, place our swords at His feet, acknowledge that we cannot, but that He can, and adhere to His strategy for victory.

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