Oh how I love the story of Joshua taking his promised land! The physical and spiritual act of him crossing over the raging Jordan River, into the land of the unknown to face what seemed impossible. I love the power in this story and how his story is our story. I love the bravery he exhibits and the boldness he clings so dearly to. I peg Joshua as a strategic leader. I find it interesting that God gave him some very clear directions and he doesn’t pushback or ask questions. Could it be that he understood the validity behind the odd things God was asking of him? God asked him to pause, purge and possess the promise.
Joshua 6:3-4March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.
The pause When God tells Joshua to “take a lap," it was to prepare him for what was to come. In the same way that soccer players don’t take the field without a season of heavy conditioning, Joshua and his men were building endurance. He needed to clear his mind and focus on the kind of God that could crumble a wall of fortification in one breath. The city was theirs, but before they took it, they needed to examine it. Joshua had to take 7 laps before he could enter in. I wonder what God needed to say to him and show him in those 7 days. Joshua was ready to take that city by storm and God slows him down to pause first. When we pause, we make room for God to speak to us. We would all be wise to carefully examine each of our promises so that we are fully engaged in what are doing. God can't take you where your character can't keep you.
Joshua 6:24Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house.
The purge What about that part to claiming your promise? He had to kill every single enemy. His assignment was to clean out that city from anything that did not honor God. Anything and everything that stood against or in the way of Joshua taking possession of this promised land. This isn't the part of God that we highlight is it? It was messy, it was violent, it was hard, it involved death. When it comes to us entering into our promises, God will always order to us kill every ounce of opposition that remains in our hearts. Every sin. Every doubt. Every fear. Every act of disobedience. We can't allow inside access of the enemy to what Gods placed in our hearts. Promises require purging.
Joshua 6:27So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.The promise He took possession. Joshua inhabited all that God had for him, not an inch more and not an inch less. God blesses obedience with favor. In Joshua’s case, his character became known to those around him. The most terrifying things that God asked Joshua to do became his most fulfilling triumphs.
Here are just a handful of promises we can find from God. May we take time to pause, purge and possess them well.
John 14:27I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.Ezekiel 36:26-27A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.John 8:36If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.John 15:7-8If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.Jeremiah 29:11For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.