Leadership brings with it a myriad of challenges. Many of them are outside of ourselves, yet many of the most challenging are from within. I’ve been reading through the book of Joshua again to help gain a clearer perspective on the connection between leadership and faith.
I think we often forget that being a leader requires the ability to walk in faith and trust God regardless of what obstacles we may face. One of the biggest ones Joshua faced was the city of Jericho.
When God commanded the Israelites to march around the city of Jericho, they did it. I am always amazed when I read that. The thought that they would do something seemingly ridiculous like stand before a great city and just march around it seems absurd. I can imagine that the people inside probably thought so too!
I think the inhabitants of Jericho were probably laughing. What a bunch of fools! Look at these guys! Maybe they were throwing things at the Israelites or dumping garbage on them like the Veggietales adaptation? Who knows?
But in spite of the absurdity of doing it and whatever ridicule they may have experienced, every day, they would march around the city.
Now God could have just knocked down the walls and given them the city. So why did God let them do that? What was the point of them marching around the city day after day?
I think one reason is that He was giving the inhabitants of Jericho an opportunity to repent. These people were wicked. They were into every kind of idolatry, perversion, and sin.In other places in the Bible, God was patient with people, on many occasions allowing them to turn from their wicked ways. With Nineveh, God gave the people warnings through Jonah. God patiently endured the evil of the Canaanites from the time of Abraham to Moses, a period of 400 years. So with Jericho, they had plenty of opportunities to repent before the walls fell. The Canaanites knew the Israelites were coming. Their reputation preceded them.
Another reason I think God told the Israelites to march around the city was so they would see what a formidable obstacle it was and that they couldn’t handle it on their own. I think one of the biggest issues we all struggle with is our own pride. We live life as if we can do it without God’s help. The reality is, we all face challenges that are beyond our own capacity to deal with. And when those things come up, what do we do?
As believers, we have our “Jericho(s)” in life, so to speak, problems that loom large and things that we can’t handle on our own. And sometimes the Lord will have us march around them so we will see that we cannot rely on ourselves. One of the greatest difficulty for many of us is to get to the place where we are willing to admit that the whole thing is simply too big for us to handle. God sometimes wants us to say, “I can’t do this on my own.”
Do you have a “Jericho” right now? Maybe it’s an incurable illness. Maybe it’s an unsolvable problem. Maybe you are having problems finding work? Maybe it’s a hopeless marriage. Maybe it’s a prodigal child. As you think about it, you don’t know how you will resolve this conflict. That, in effect, is your Jericho.
Regardless of what it is, know that we have a God who knows all and is over all. We can take these things to Him and trust Him to work all these things out for His glory and our good. When we find ourselves staring at Jericho’s walls, ask God for help. He will always bring them down.