The Principles of Spiritual Victory (Joshua 6:1-21)
1Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.
2Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4Have 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. 5When 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.”
6So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” 7And he ordered the army, “Advance! March around the city, with an armed guard going ahead of the ark of the Lord.”
8When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the Lord went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the Lord’s covenant followed them. 9The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 10But Joshua had commanded the army, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” 11So he had the ark of the Lord carried around the city, circling it once. Then the army returned to camp and spent the night there.
12Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the Lord and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets kept sounding. 14So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.
15On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. 16The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! 17The city and all that is in it are to be devoteda to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.”
20When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. 21They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.
The Jericho warfare reveals the principles of spiritual victory to us. Jericho points to the world just like the Ziggurat of Babel tower. So the warfare means the spiritual warfare in Christian life. When we follow to the principles that the text suggests , we can overcome our struggling warfare.
What are the principles of victory?
First principle, it is to trust the promise of God wholeheartedly.
Verse 20 says “when the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.” Israel occupied their enemy by depending on the promise of God that God Himself shall attach their enemies to their hand, even if they had no any weapons and did not take the defending strategy but the attacking strategy.
- The promise is the covenant of God. it is the one side promise of God to his people. Such principle, “If you do it, I shall fulfill my will through you” is revealed in the covenant of God repeatedly, as Genesis 3:15 “I will put enmity between you and the woman,and between your offspringe and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” . In John 3:16 “For God so loved the world,i that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” we can find the same principle.
3)What is the victorious life of the Christian ? it is to trust the promise of the Scripture faithfully. This is true faith that Holy Spirit provides to us. Hebrew 11:6 says “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Biblical faith is to depend the promise unconditionally. The promise has the same authority of God. The promise is the Scripture. When we listen to the Word of God, we have to accept it unconditionally in our heart. Actually this faith comes out of Holy Spirit to us. Why did Jesus commend Mary more than Martha? “she chose better thing than you“ because she knew the method to listen to the word of God. She received the Word of God unconditionally and also she enjoyed it in her heart. This is the meaning of trust.
4) Our spiritual life is very simple. It is to listen to the Word of God that is the Scripture, the text as the living word of God. Then we can understand the real meaning in our heart.
As we know look at the response of the Lord. Jn 6: reveals the wonderful; event that five bread and two fish feed above 5000 people. Then the people concentrated on the miracle phenomena, but our lord pointed the Scripture. “So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Then although the disciples did not understand the meaning fully, their heart was wandering and anybody departed from him. Then the Lord “ Do you leave from me? Peter told the Lord “68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, “ Here, we can find that to believe is first than understanding. 69and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” When we believe unconditionally, we can understand it automatically. Why? The unconditional faith is the present of Holy Spirit to us. This is true faith.
A certain claimes that I believe the word after I prove it. It is wrong. It is the main point of classical apologetic as the Clement of Alexandria claimed. But we first of all, to believe first makes us known it as Tertullian claimed in his apologetic. The scripture stressed that to trust unconditionally is primary thing in our lives.
Now if we believe in the Word of God, it is the wonderful grace that Holy Spirit provide us. “We admit the order, that is, to believe makes us to know. This principle is very important to overcome our present issues in our lives. So we have to cast ourselves to the Word of God unconditionally. Although we can not understand it, we believe in it, because God commanded to me.
Second principle, it is to obey the command of God.
Verse 3 reveals that as they turn around the city one time per day and seven times at the seventh day and shout out, then the city was destroyed. (16-19) And accordingly they executed their ministry in the city according to the direction of God.(17-19) Both the destruction and the arrangement were executed by obeying of God’s order. The command of God is the main center in all things. At the any situation it is important to proclaim the word of God. If the word of God stays at the place, it works absolutely. But it does not work in it, it is nothing. So James confessed that “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (4:13-15) “ This is the wisdom. This is the way of solution of any problems. The power of spiritual life come s to us out of the obedience of the word of God. So the most insightful person is the man of obedience.
- What do you think of Samuel’s claim, “ the obedience is better than the offering.” It is not the word that despises the worship. It means that the obedience is the foundation of worship. Without having the obeying heart, our worship shall lose the meaning in our action as Cain did in Genesis 4:. Cain offered his crop to the Lord. But he did not offer himself to God because he had no the obeying heart. Disobedience of the Word of God makes us to rebel the God’s authority. Actually his external offering have no any problems because we can admit that his offering is the life of grain, just like the blood of the lamb. What was his problem? It is the false faith. Hebrew11:6 says “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. “ Where does the faith stay? It depends on the obeying heart. So the obedience is the life of whole life of Christian life. So Obeying heart makes us to offer our body as living sacrifice in our lives. If our God commands something to us, obey it with our heart, with our life, with our wisdom and with our power. Then you can find you have the power of God in your life. We cannot deceive our living God. and also we can not deceive our neighbors finally. Their false attitude, their unfaithful character surely should be appeared iobviously because God reveals in the world. “26“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. “(Mt10:26-29) This word is very horrible Word and very trembling word. The text points that Israelite obedience is the main secret of spiritual overcome in the warfare. The same stream should be continued.
Third principle is to surrender to God.
What is the principle of victory? The unconditional trust and the voluntary obedience is the way of the spiritual victory. (Joshua 1:8) So God stressed the first command to Joshua. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” It is surrender to God. Destroying the city is not the ultimate goal of God. The miracle affair is not the purpose of God’s work. After these things the surrendering attitude is very important. Why? Did God want that they destroyed all enemies in the city, the Canaanite people, goods, gold, silver and garments made by synar. Why did God stress them? Because all goods in the city is the property of God, God’s possession. It means we have to teach that surrendering is the key of spiritual warfare. What is the most serious sins in our lives it must be boasting, pride, arrogance. After they occupyed the city they could fall down into the corrupted pot, those are; pride, arrogance and boasting, Then surrendering attitude is to overcome the inner Jericho, the sinful desire. So when we praise hymn 338, “Father I stretch my hands to thee” we enjoy the peaceful state in our heart.
After the wonderful victory, if they do not learn the surrendering attitude, he shall easily incline into the corrupted state as pure food without being preserved. So we should love to follow surrendering heart to every thing in our lives.
In our school life we have to be trained by trust unconditionally and obeying the Word of God and surrendering attitude in our lives.
Actually I feel some darkness of our school our students because some students are wondering in the school life. Moreover I saw that Dr. Ezra felt strongly deeply for his students go astray in their ministry. I could feel his love to his students. One day, I had observed our students’ state in our school. What is their problems? Food? Money? Clothe? Book? lecture? No. their problem is to stay in inner false attitude before God. there are the trust, the obedience and the surrender issues.
Do not you think so? Now I challenge to you. Do you overcome your spiritual enemy in your life? if you learn this principle and apply now, you can find the wonderful world.
Cambodia churches met lots of temptation. Among them the momonism is working in the church. If our school is pursuing it, our school shall be destroyed absolutely. If anybody loses his privilege, he get nothing in his life. When we study the word of God, we have to keep the trembling and the fear before God. So we have to follow this principles today too.