Overcoming Obstacles to the Abundant Life

Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. And the LORD said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.” – Joshua 6:1-5.

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. – Acts 2:42.

One of the great stories of the Old Testament is that of the conquering of the fortress city of Jericho. The children of Israel had wandered in the desert for 40 years and had miraculously crossed the Jordan River at flood stage. Now they were confronted with an even greater challenge. That challenge was the powerful, seemingly, impenetrable city of Jericho. How would God have them to defeat this city? Would God send a tornado to knock down the walls? Would He send an earthquake to make the walls fall down? What awe-inspiring thing would God do to give them victory? The children of Israel must have been confounded by the instructions God gave to Joshua and Joshua gave to them. They were simply to march around the city every day for six days and on the seventh day march around the city for seven times. Then, they were to blow the trumpets and the people were instructed to shout. What kind of battle plan was this? “Joshua did you really hear God tell you to have us do this?”

We know what happened. The people marched every day. The trumpets were blown, the people shouted, and the walls came tumbling down. Amazing! “Joshua, what a brilliant plan!”

Most of us have some challenge, some fortress, standing between us and the abundant life (John 10:10) that Jesus came to give us. It may be any of a number of different things: financial problems, employment problems, marital problems, legal problems, lust, anger, laziness, loneliness…. God has a plan for us too. The same principle that the children of Israel employed can work for us too. It is the same principle that was used in the early church. “… they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine (the Word of God) and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” What did they do? “They continued steadfastly….” What did the children of Israel do? They obeyed and did the same thing every day until the walls fell down. God has a similar plan for you.

You see there is great power in doing what we know we ought to do as Christians and doing it every day, day in and day out. We too need to continue steadfastly in prayer, reading God’s Word, assembling with other believers, and serving others in the Name of the Lord. We may not see anything happening but we must leave that up to God. As the children of Israel marched around and around the city of Jericho they could not see anything happening either. If we persist, if we continue to follow God’s plan we will eventually see the fortress of opposition in our lives fall. “So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city (Joshua 6:20).”

(God has a plan for you which will enable you to overcome the obstacles standing in the way of your experiencing the abundant life that Jesus came to give you (John 10:10).)

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