(Joshua 6; 1 Corinthians 1-2)
Walking in circles never accomplishes much. It will make you dizzy, but it won’t make you successful.
That’s the conventional wisdom, and it sounds like good advice. “God helps those who help themselves,” we say, and all too often we actually believe it. Victory belongs to the strong, and if you aren’t bold enough to take what you want, then you don’t really deserve it.
In worldly terms it’s sound advice. The problem is that God doesn’t operate that way. Read the Scripture and you’ll see it: Over and over again He helps the weak, the helpless, and the small. God’s power is best observed when He overturns the conventional wisdom. “The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”
Standing at the base of Jericho’s walls, the people of Israel looked tiny. Jericho was a fortress. More than twenty feet tall, situated on a hill, populated with giants. You don’t conquer a city like that by walking circles and blowing trumpets. You don’t knock walls down by shouting.
And that’s exactly the point God intended to prove. The “battle” of Jericho was nothing more or less than a chance for God to demonstrate who was in control. Right when they entered the Land, His people needed to understand that the Promised Land would only be conquered through His power. It would not be taken by human force. The world’s way of battle never suits God’s plans.
When the walls fell down, they understood — at least in that moment — that God’s plans can only be accomplished by God’s strength.
It’s a message that would echo through the pages of Scripture and resonate across history. It’s a message that would be expressed most eloquently in the Incarnation of Jesus Himself. Weakness would be transformed into strength, and defeat would be changed into victory. The shame of the cross would give way to the glory of the resurrection. It would happen through God’s power and not at all through our own. The God of heaven would reach to the sinners of earth to once again help the helpless, with a plan that would forever destroy conventional wisdom.
At Jericho God helped those who could not help themselves. In Jesus, He did it again. He helped you and me. He gave life to the lifeless, hope to the hopeless, and strength to the weak.
And all the walls came tumbling down.
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