When it comes to being a faithful Christian, finding personal, inner peace is indispensable. Do you sometimes catch yourself dwelling on things which make you feel helpless, which you assume cannot change? Lingering strongholds are the root of reoccurring discontentment. We must monitor our hearts while asking God to pinpoint what needs to be dealt with to maintain peace of mind. Here we can learn how to deal with strongholds which stand between us and taking possession of God's greatest blessings.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
When God is doing something major, it isn't uncharacteristic for Him to take His time. None of this happened over night; Yahweh stretched this out over "seven days". God intends for it to take awhile, as He brings us to maturity and victory. As you will see, God removes the obstacle between them and their peace, and they took possession because they were willing to believe Him. We must do whatever it takes to demolish what threatens our inner peace. They also kept their word to Rahab and her family who helped them "when she had received the spies with peace." Here is the actual account of these events as recorded by Joshua:
1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. 2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. 3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. 5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
At this time, Jericho was one of the oldest cities in the world. It was close to the Jordan River, what is known today as the West Bank. The city was a strategic stronghold for the Canaanites, commanding the entrance into the land from the east. It was the first city Israel attacked as they began thier conquest of the Promised Land. In order for them to have peace and take possession of that portion of the Promised Land, Jericho had to fall.
Jericho was essentially on lockdown "because of the children of Israel." Fear swept over the inhabitants of the city, as the reputation of Yahweh preceded Israel's arrival. This is the way it's supposed to be when it comes to us and our Father's enemies. In what God was setting up to accomplish, this notorious reputation was definitely on the line. Since this ordeal stretched out over a week-long period, there was lots of time for the Israelites to think about what God would have them doing, and what He said He would do. In the unseen realm of faith, we must learn to manage our thoughts, while finding and maintaining peace, no matter how long it takes.
Notice, God speaks to Joshua in the past tense in regards to Israel's conquest of Jericho: "See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour." In the unseen realm, God declares the end of a thing to you from its beginning. While the strong city still stood, God was directing Joshua to imagine that what He declared to him was already accomplished in the spiritual dimension. God wanted Joshua to be convinced ahead of time that this would truly come to pass before their eyes. God has plans for us beyond what we consider reality, while working it all out by controlling everything in time, space, and matter. What can you imagine God making you a part of, before it's all said and done?
God then explains to Joshua what they are to do: carry the ark, blow trumpets, and shout, while moving around the city. These things were within their capability, though it doesn't sound like much of an attack strategy at all. God doesn't need our plans and tactics to accomplish His will. Yahweh proclaimed that "the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him" therefore that was what was going to happen. God also can help us remove our personal strongholds in similiar fashion:
II CORINTHIANS 10:3-4
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
"For though we walk in the flesh" (or live in fleshly bodies), the way to victory for us is not to "war after the flesh". "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but" must therefore be internal and spiritual, making us "mighty through God". In other words, what you long for can only be achieved in the unseen realm of faith. The objective "of our warfare" is peace up to and beyond taking possession. This occurs by "the pulling down of strong holds" in our lives. The war is waged in our minds by recognizing and then eliminating whatever stands between us and having a sustaining peace. The way we know God is bringing us to victory is when we are experiencing peace due to this "pulling down of strong holds". This is necessary if you want to take possession of what God has for you and live an abundant Christian life.
There's no doubt, God's destruction of Jericho was a historical event. It is yet another of those extraordinary miracles on par with many others throughout the Scriptures. At the same time, this can be used to illustrate how God removes strongholds in our lives within the unseen realm of faith. There are so many strongholds or unnecessary things we lean on in life other than God, things which prevent us from having strong faith. Having dependency upon man-made institutions and entities stands between us having a lifestyle of direct dependancy on God, which He requires. It goes without saying that conditions such as addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, or pornography would be considered strongholds as well. Despite modern ideas and trends, spiritual maturity and strength do not run in proportion to one's independence of God or truth, rather to one's total dependency on Him. God can and will demolish any and every stronghold if we will only trust Him.
6 And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD. 7 And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD. 8 And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns passed on before the LORD, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them. 9 And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the rereward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets. 10 And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.
We do not see Joshua or the priests questioning anything Yahweh said. Joshua calls in the priests and relays God's message to them. He neither adds nor takes anything away from the Word of God. This is the way we are to handle God's Word with one another. Joshua then tells them to, "Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD." This pictures how if we will listen to Him and follow a few easy instructions, we can play a part in miraculous events.
They must begin by encircling the stronghold. The enemy (fleshly)strongholds are what prevent us from having peace and taking possession. Not only would God have us encircle the stronghold, but even draw attention to it like blowing a trumpet. Whatever it is in your life that is preventing you from having peace of mind, God can draw attention to it, if you will only listen to Him and do what He says. Like Joshua and the priests, we must be willing to obey God by dealing with the stronghold until it is gone.
Everything must work like clock work. We cannot do what only our God can do. Yet these Israelites had a role in this and they were to carry it out by faith. When He gives us certain things to do in the meantime, we do it with the best of our ability as we await Him actually making it effective thru His divine intervention.
Living by faith requires discipline. There would be a time to be vocal, even to shout, but not till it was God's time. Meanwhile, they were to keep quiet. We murmur and complain sometimes as we wait for God, while we'd be better off to listen to what Joshua tells them here, to not "make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth." In spiritual warfare, we must handle our words as we would actual weapons, especially when it comes to taking possession. We must not give others power over us and that has much to do with what we say. For once the stronghold is pointed out to us, until we deal with it and it is gone, there's really nothing to say. All we must do is prepare to see it pulled down.
11 So the ark of the LORD compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp. 12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD. 13 And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rereward came after the ark of the LORD, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.
The ark of Yahweh signified the power and presence of Yahweh God with Israel. It was their task to carry this transportable testimony which contained the rod of Aaron that budded, manna which came from heaven, and the stone tablets from Mount Sinai. These items were not to be worshipped but were representative of God's faithfulness and miraculous protection of Israel. The presence of the indwelling Spirit within us is the proof that God is with us as we fight our battles.
It says, "Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD." In the unseen realm, we are eager and ready to obey God's direction. We see no evidence of doubt, half-heartedness, or them worrying about whether or not God would come through. They were fully confident in Him and reflected it by their conduct and attitude. If we are serious about living for God, we will be eager to identify and pull down any stronghold exposed to us in our lives.
14 And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days.
So this is what they did for the first "six days." This portrays how God controls everything including the very moment He has chosen for His miracles to take place. We want things to happen immediately. But it's not meant to happen when we want it to, only when God sees fit to do it. It should be enough that He has spoken to us and has involved us in His activities in the unseen realm, no matter how long it takes. Once the stronghold is removed and peace begins, waiting is no longer a problem; everything is happening right on time.
Some strongholds (like old habits) are hard to break. It all comes down to what's in our heart to be and to do. Our priority must always be on God first. Anything that rivals God being our deepest passion and having our fullest attention is a potential stronghold. One who does not have God as their top priority, should never expect to have the level of inner peace to function effectively in the spiritual realm. Therefore, we must be open to doing whatever is necessary, no matter how drawn out or ridiculous it may seem, to remove any stronghold, while participating in His miraculous endeavors.
15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times. 16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city. 17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
The people were also eager to see God intervene for "they rose early about the dawning of the day". In the physical realm, they hadn't actually taken the city. However in the unseen dimension, it was already a done deal. They were full of excited emotion, expecting God to do the impossible.
Finally, the people got to shout! Those who live by faith discover that a lot of time is spent, waiting and listening. Yet when He gives us the go-ahead to speak up or shout, we must be ready. Notice, they were told to celebrate the miracle before it actually occurred, for "Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city." In the unseen realm, God can give us the assurance of deliverance and victory before His intervention takes place- FOR WHAT THEY ALREADY BELIEVED, WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN BEFORE THEIR EYES, JUST AS GOD FORETOLD.
18 And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. 19 But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD. 20 So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
Once Yahweh encircles and exposes a stronghold, we are to do everything necessary to see it pulled down in our lives. Even after the contents of the stronghold are disclosed, God will give you victory over it when you agree with Him it is an "accursed thing". Anything God tells you to give up always leads to something else. For He never expects us to give up something for Him unless He is going to replace it with something far better. So what do you do with it? Just give it to God.
God had brought them this great conquest so it was His choice what was done with the spoils. Can you imagine it?! The walls came tumbling down as "the people shouted, when the priests blew with the trumpets". We know Yahweh's mighty power was what brought the walls down. But He chose to include them in the process to build their faith unto righteousness. This should be our greatest hunger- a hunger for righteousness which only comes thru enduring with God. In the unseen realm we depend upon God to do the supernatural while we seek to carry out His perfect will. What He gave them to do may seem silly and insignificant, but it was thru their faith that God made it totally effective.
Though they were excited and full of emotion, they disciplined themselves spiritually until just the right moment. This was pleasing to Yahweh, for He loves for us to be full of excited emotion over what He has promised to do. If you live by faith any length of time, there are those times when you get to release all the emotions that you've held inside during the process, as the great miracle you've awaited comes to pass. Through the conquering of strongholds, the Holy Spirit takes more possession of us, therefore we should more eagerly expect to take possession of what God has for us as well.
21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.
Due to how we've all been programmed, most of our people have a real hard time with passages like this in the Scriptures. God Almighty commanding the extermination of every "man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword" expresses His hot wrath towards His enemies who inhabited and controlled this stronghold, the Canaanites. This also reflects the racial awareness of that generation of Israelites who were at the same time also full of faith. They were resolved to following their Father's instruction to take possession.
Though most of our people today do not even recognize who God's enemies are, God still hates them and will one day command us to "arise and thresh" as we will participate in their destruction. Until then we can rest assured, as with this clear example of His complete anhilation of His enemies here, our Unchanging God will one day completely destroy them all, giving us possession of it all.
22 But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot's house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her. 23 And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel.
We must never minimize the impact of those who help us in our hour of need. While in the unseen realm, we must never forget those who helped us in the process, especially once the blessing comes to pass. They are worthy of a generous portion of our blessings. There is no doubt from the Biblical record that Rahab and her family were white people as she ends up being in the geneology of Yahshua Christ the Messiah (Matthew 1:5). Also after reading Antiquities by the Judaean historian Josephus, it is debatable she was a harlot, but rather, an inn keeper.
24 And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. 25 And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. 26 And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it. 27 So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.
If you're white, though you know He is in you, you should also want Yahweh to be "with" you. Do whatever it takes to remain faithful to the unseen. We make it hard by not trusting God to do exactly what He tells us He will do. We begin to run our mouths when things don't happen how and when we want them to. We turn to so many other sources in this world for answers. Yet it was necessary that this stronghold be removed for Israel to take possession of this part of the land. Peace within is the undeniable indicator that the stronghold has been pulled down.
Our goal as Israelites is that Christ's "fame" be "noised throughout all the country". If we'll focus on following Yahweh as closely as possible, we will witness His removal of strongholds and take part in witnessing His greatest miracles. As we see, even the destruction of the city itself and the handling of the treasury, go exactly the way which honors Yahweh.
When the great walls of Jericho came down, the city was exposed and ready for destruction. Once the walls of our stronghold come down and we begin to see how superficial things really were in our old life, by faith we can conquer whatever stands between us and taking possession. One day, God will have no trouble destroying every Canaanite and all that they have established, as is previewed by His triumph over Jericho. For their descendants are the source of every bit of carnal influence that has constructed all the strongholds in our society today. Ultimately Yahweh, in and thru us, will prevail.
God has not nor will He ever change. Therefore we must seek to be like these racially-awake, faithful ancestors. This is one of those wonderful times our people were in tune with our Father and look at what Yahweh did thru them, all because they were willing to believe and trust in Him. We must be willing to do whatever He tells us in order to take possession of what God has for us even in this life. If our Father is with us, nothing can stop us.