Your Terror Is Fallen Upon Us

And [Rahab] said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. (Joshua 2:9)

The citizens of Jericho, that great walled city, quaked as they shared stories of God’s miraculous dealings with Israel. Surely, their city would fall to this great army of the living God — and Jericho did indeed fall. But we need to take our eyes off the money-shot… you know… where the walls came tumbling down… because armies do not defeat walls; they defeat people…  and God fought that battle long before the walls fell.

“…. our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” (11)

I’m not sure why God used weak human vessels to defeat Jericho when he could have just reached down and squished the inhabitants of the land. After all, he said that he wanted them destroyed (Deuteronomy 20:17)… and “people” have a way of botching-up their assignments… I mean, look at Achan: he “took of the accursed thing” in spite of what he saw at Jericho, and Israel was defeated at their next outing because of it (Joshua 7:4). If that’s how we humans do business, why bother with us?

But the lesson of the day came after the people obeyed some very specific (albeit strange) instructions about the order of the march, the number of days, the number of circuits, the silence and the noise. Israel followed God’s instructions exactly and a great victory was theirs… but the power to melt men’s hearts? That was God’s.

You see, the story of how God brought Israel out of Egypt persisted in Canaan … and I’m sure that word spread about their crossing of the Jordan, too! But these are just two examples which add breadth to David’s later utterance that the battle is the Lord’s… but did you notice that the soldiers had to fight anyway? So the victory was theirs, too… in a way… but the glory belonged to God. Without him they were an army; with him they were undefeatable — and we Christians have the same deal.

Our omnipotent God is willing to listen, willing to help and desirous of our fellowship… yet we fight our own battles; we ignore his instructions…  and we act like he is a metaphor instead of the true and present God. But in our defense, since he insists on using us to accomplish his will… and how can we not occasionally confuse our arm for his, our strength for his, our will for his…. this is heady stuff!

The war still rages. But the real enemy, the powers and principalities, shall soon be defeated. After all, the demons tremble, too… just like the inhabitants of Jericho trembled when the power of the Lord was so imminent.

As for us, we need to pray, to listen for his battle plan and to follow his instructions… but we need to follow them even if he tells us to walk in circles.

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