I made one crucial mistake when we put our house on the market: I prayed that it would be an answer to prayer for the family that would buy it.
The listing posted, and the days ticked by.
One, two, three, four, five…
The market is hot right now, I thought. God’s got this! It won’t be long before he sends the right person.
Ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen…
Okay, God, what is the deal? I thought for sure that we would see an offer by now.
We had been preparing for and believing for the sale of our house for months—God gave us the idea to begin with.
Maybe I should pray harder. “Okay, God, please do it!”
Seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty…
I know! I'll fast to show God how desperate I am.
I’m pretty sure the Big Man gets a good kick out of my frustration and antics (much like my husband). I imagine Him sitting up there with a big grin, shaking His head in amusement, waiting on me to come to this conclusion:
I can’t make the walls fall down. Only He can do that.
You see, I’ve been reading in Joshua, about the Israelites’ final days in the desert. First, the miracle crossing of the Jordan, before entering into the Promised Land. If that’s not enough to boost your faith, then I don’t know what is.
But then, the walls of Jericho. Oh, how I love this one. Who doesn’t love an overcoming-the-impossible drama?
I. Was. Pumped. Yeah, God! I’m going to keep marching around these walls until they fall!
But God began to give me a deeper revelation. As I began to study the walls of Jericho, details surfaced that challenged the way I thought about the age-old lesson.
First, the walls of Jericho were a three-tiered system. The highest wall, from where they marched, would have stood a daunting 46-feet over them. In other words: there was no way they were bringing those walls down on their own. Neither was there any way they were getting over them. And since “the gates of Jericho were tightly shut,” (Josh. 6:1) they were completely dependent on God for the victory.
God had given the Israelites very specific instructions. Mainly, walk around the town silently (except for the priests blowing horns) once a day for six days, then seven times on the seventh. Then shout loudly, and the walls would collapse.
I find it interesting that God directed them to be quiet. It was probably for their own good, lest they return to the complaining that had kept them wandering for forty years in the desert. What I find odd is that He didn’t even ask them to pray or worship. He didn’t ask them to beg to see the miracle happen.
Can you imagine how crazy the Israelites must have felt? Walking around silently, on nothing other than faith in God’s promise that He would make the walls found down?
The second tidbit of information I discovered in my study was what struck me the most. Did you know that, while Jericho was well known for its fortifications, it really wasn’t that large? The town measured approximately six square acres— nine, when including its walls. Which means that the Israelites daily walk around the perimeter of Jericho would have only totaled about a half of a mile.
All my life I’ve always imagined the Israelites walking for much of the day in the sweltering heat of the desert sun. Instead, what I thought was a marathon was more of a morning walk.
If I were an Israelite I would be thinking, Are you kidding, God? Surely there is something more I should do.
But no. No, there wasn’t. And there still isn’t.
Remember Moses’ sin that kept him from entering the Promised Land? He struck the rock, attempting to get water out, when God had commanded Him simply to speak to it.
I could be wrong, but I feel like Jericho may have been one last test to see if the Israelites had learned the lesson: Will you simply seek me, obey my instructions, then trust Me to do the rest?
Joyce Meyer always says, “We are partners with God.” Man, I love that truth. But the reality of it is God can’t do my part, and I can’t do what only He can do.
I can lay the mulch, paint the trim, and hire a realtor— but there’s no amount of willing and pleading that can make the house sell. I’ve done my half-mile lap. Now, He simply wants me to be still (Ps. 46:10).
Here is one thing I know: if God starts something, He will bring it through to fruition. Not in my time, but in the right time. He is faithful, and He will do it (1 Thess. 5:24).
How do I know? The same way the Israelites did: years of experience. All I have to do is look back to see his unfailing faithfulness.
I don’t know what your wall is, but I know we all have them.
(If nothing comes to mind immediately, finish this sentence: I thought for sure ___________ by now.)
Okay, you have your answer? Now ask yourself this: “Have I done my part?” If so, then friend, all that’s left to do is rest.
God, our good Father, is taking care of it. When temptation comes to take matters into your hands (strike the rock), resist and give it back to Him. These three simple words have been my mantra lately, “God, I trust You… I trust You… I trust You.”
Or maybe you’ve stopped showing up for your half-mile responsibility. I’ve been there, too. But God doesn’t work that way. Your obedience is faith expressed in action, and He honors that by making what only He can happen.
The Israelites got a lot of things wrong in their day (and I have too). But Jericho wasn’t one of them. They did exactly as the Lord commanded, and on the seventh lap of the seventh day they blew their horns and gave a mighty shout. Sure enough, in an event archeologists can only describe as a well-timed earthquake, the walls came a-tumbling down.
Yours will too. And so will mine.
Hear God. Have faith. Be obedient. Rest in Him.
Nothing is impossible.
P.S. I'm not on social media right now, as I'm focused on some pretty big projects.
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A little about me...
Hi, I'm Katie!
Wife to Craig, mom of three, author, writer, Jesus-follower, Bible teacher, and coffee enthusiast.
Follow me as I follow Christ and share my heart throughout the journey.
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