I was inspired by an Internet website to see Joshua 6 as an excellent roadmap for how we are to take down spiritual strongholds.
When I read the passage, I saw a good battle plan!
1 Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in.
2 But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors.
3 You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days.
4 Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns.
5 When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town...”
20 When the people heard the sound of the rams’ horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it.
21 They completely destroyed everything in it with their swords—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep, goats, and donkeys. (Josh. 6:1-5 & 20-21 NLT)
The word “stronghold” in Greek means “a castle” (Strong’s). When we read about Joshua conquering the first stronghold or fortified city in the Promised Land, we find a powerful analogy here.
Joshua’s name in Hebrew means “the LORD is salvation” (Strong’s). Jesus’ name in Hebrew means the same thing—the same as Joshua’s name. So, making this comparison has merit.
Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in.
Strongholds are where people hide. But we are called to be different in Christ. 1 Peter 2:9 declares:
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (NIV)
That is who we are. We don’t hide and we are not afraid. We have the King of kings and Lord of lords on our side. The Promised Land is ours because we have salvation in Jesus and He is always with us.
Sadly, the world is full of those who do not know Jesus and do not care. The world is equally full of those who know Jesus but are living behind a wall, filled with fear and condemnation. They don’t want to go out and they certainly don’t want anyone coming in. So, we have to show both groups that we are victorious in Christ. We walk in His freedom and shout the praises of God. That kind of faith brings results.
But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors."
The Lord had already given Joshua the city. Even though it stood there, looking invincible, God had other plans. Addiction, fear, condemnation, doubt, deep hurt, unforgiveness, and unrepentance: they all look invincible, whether we see them in ourselves or in others. But the battle is won in Christ. We need to take this promise and boldly walk up to the city walls.
"You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days."
Marching showed the people’s faith in God. But it also showed obedience to a God-ordained process. Whatever process for recovery and growth God shows you—a counselor, a mentor, a doctor, therapy, medication, fellowship with believers or all of the above—do it. Joshua did not question the process of conquering Jericho. Once God reveals His plan, we step out in faith, knowing it is for our best. Yes, God could have caused the walls to immediately tumble down, but He was out to build the character of His people. A character centered on faith in God will be able to move mountains. Why? A mature character knows of God’s goodness in the past, how God doesn’t change and how He will come through in the future:
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Rom. 5:3-5 NIV)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4 NIV)
Faith is a walk. Joshua and his men boldly walked out and around the walls, focused only on the mightiness of God and His love. Compared to that, the walls seemed rather puny!
"Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns."
We serve and follow the High Priest, Jesus. The Ark contained the covenant was made between Moses and God. Jesus is our Covenant with God. He died for us and we die to self. He lives in us and we live in Him. We are His own. As we walk behind Him each day, we are reminded how much He loves us, even if our walls haven’t fallen. YET.
"When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town...”
The process that Joshua and his men engaged in will take days. Our process of building and acting on faith takes time as well. We are walking, focused on our High Priest and His love covenant for us. Then, just as God had the people walk around seven times on the seventh day, our day of freedom dawns. The stronghold begins to weaken, for our heart is growing stronger in Him. The walls lose their power to instill fear and a sense of never-ending slavery. The priests blow the horns one last time and the people shout. We work together with our High Priest; we follow His lead and we shout for joy in His presence. The trumpet of His love drowns out the whispers of Satan that sin is who we are, we can never recover, hope is for other people, and condemnation is all we deserve.
The trumpet blast of His declaration of “It is finished” from the cross drowns out all of the lies of Satan. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is ours:
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
(Rom. 8:11 NIV)
When the people heard the sound of the rams’ horns, they shouted as loud as they could.
Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it. The Holy Spirit rushes into our city as the walls collapse to give us hope that the city will not rise up again. Now, the Lord is occupying our city in His power:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20 NIV)
They completely destroyed everything in it with their swords—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep, goats, and donkeys.
It may sound harsh to our modern ears, but what is sinful must be removed completely. If we have an addiction, we may have to walk away from friends, family, and certain environments to keep the city from rising again. We may need to bag the computer, or put it out in the living room, facing where everyone can see it. Whatever needs to be removed for your recovery and to remain free in Him, do it! Do Jesus’ words sound any less harsh than what was said to Joshua?
If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. (Matt. 5:29-30 NIV)
God does not compromise with our sin in any way. Why? When we compromise with sin, Satan gets actively involved. When we surrender an area of our lives to God, Satan now has one less area to operate on in our lives. It’s a process, but God is faithful! The walls of Jericho fell down after the warriors followed and were obedient to the leader and the priests. We (the warriors) must follow our Leader and High Priest (Jesus) to bring the city (whatever strongholds we face) down.
He is faithful.
The battle is won.
He fought and died for us.
We need to be faithful by remaining obedient.
We wield the Sword of the Spirit in one hand.
What do you think we do with the other hand?
We keep it firmly in His nail-scarred hand.