4. Faith means perseverance.
The Battle of Jericho was not a one-day affair. Israel was instructed to march around the city for seven days. Furthermore, on the seventh day, Israel had to walk around the city seven times. Again, and again, and again, Israel journeyed around the city trusting that, eventually, God would bring the walls down. Israel had to persevere.
Too easily today, faith gets set aside in favor of that which is quick or convenient. After all, we live in a world of instant gratification. Yet Jericho was not taken in a day. We see the call to perseverance throughout all of scripture. God’s work often occurs over a span of time.
There is no opportunity to grow if God’s plan was always revealed at the snap of a finger. More importantly, nor would there be any opportunity to join in what God is doing. Israel’s march around the walls of Jericho gave Israel the time they needed to exercise the fullness of their faith. The marches also gave Israel the ability to anticipate their involvement in God’s victory over Jericho.
The same is true in our lives. Our life with God is one of trust and perseverance. When we are in the position of waiting, we must remember that this gives us the ability to grow in our faith. Furthermore, perseverance opens the door to our participation in what the Lord will do in our midst.
5. Recognizing the larger story of redemption.
Prior to the battle at Jericho, we read that Joshua sends spies to sus out the city’s military capability. On this trip, the spies meet Rahab the prostitute, who, in a seemingly strange act of faithfulness to Yahweh, aids the spies in the promise that she will be spared. Indeed, this is what occurs. After the defeat of Jericho, Joshua commands the spies to return to Rahab’s house and rescue her and her family. This is the last we read about Rahab.
This is not, however, the last time Rahab is mentioned in Scripture. Scripture makes abundantly clear that Rahab becomes the mother of Boaz, who later marries Ruth. This makes Rahab the great, great, great grandmother of King David and an important figure in the lineage of Jesus. In fact, Matthew takes particular care to mention Rahab within the lineage of Jesus’ ancestry (Matthew 1:5).
What does this tell us? Our individual battles are part of the larger story of redemption. God weaves together that which is beyond the scope of accomplishment and merit to fully establish God’s glorious kingdom on earth. God’s ways are not based on merit or deserving, strength, or prowess. God’s kingdom is established through the way of grace, and in grace, we participate in the larger arc of God’s redemptive work. Rahab’s place in the lineage of Jesus shows us that our individual lives are important elements in God’s salvation plan.
Like every story in Scripture, the Battle of Jericho lends itself to multiple lessons. We can never exhaust the truths that God reveals through the pages of Scripture. So, I invite you to take the time needed and read the opening chapters of the book of Joshua. Read through the story of Jericho and see what other truths Lord has for you.