The Walls Of Jericho

Posted by on Jan 20, 2008

By Pastor Mike Withem

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

January 20, 2008

Sunday Morning

“The Walls Of Jericho”

 

Scripture Text: Hebrews 11:30-31

Introduction:

 

A.   The city of Jericho was a fortified city.

1. The wall around the city was a massive structure.

2. Some city walls of this period, we are told, were wide enough on top to drive two chariots side-by-side.

3. Jericho was a virtual fortress, and its walls were designed to withstand the strongest enemy attack.

4. By the standards of that day, the city of Jericho was virtually impregnable.

 

B.   Not only was Jericho a fortified city, but it also stood right in the path of Joshua and the children of Israel as they were preparing to make their entrance into the promised land.

1. Forty years had passed since Israel had crossed the Red Sea by faith, but that was the last faithful act of any consequence that they had collectively exhibited.

2. The trip through the wilderness of Sinai that should have taken less than forty weeks, because of their lack of faith, actually took forty years!

3. But, finally, they arrive.

4. Now they find themselves about to enter the land that God had promised their great-grandfather, Abraham, many years earlier.

5. But wait, there’s a problem.

6. There’s a huge obstacle standing in the way, the fortified city of Jericho, and from a human perspective, it seemed like an insurmountable obstacle to the ragtag multitude of ex-slaves who had been wandering in circles for so many years.

7. However, to God, Who is all powerful, this was not an insurmountable obstacle.

8. This is why our text says in Vrs. 30, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down.”

 

C.   Now there were actually two heroes of the faith who were involved in bringing the walls of Jericho down. The first hero, of course, was…

 

I.       Joshua.

 

A.   It’s interesting that Joshua’s name is not mentioned in our text, however, he was definitely involved in the miracle that God performed on that day.

1. How was he involved?

2. Well, he was God’s appointed leader of the children of Israel at that time.

3. You see, Moses had died, and God had handed over the reigns of leadership to his apprentice, Joshua.

4. Turn with me and let’s read Josh. 1:1-5, “Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,…Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel….Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses….From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast….There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

5. And so, Joshua was now God’s appointed leader of the children of Israel.

 

B.   After Joshua had led the children of Israel across the Jordan River, the first Canaanite city that they came to was Jericho.

1. Turn with me to Joshua 6:1, “Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.”

2. In other words, knowing that the children of Israel were coming, they had closed and barricaded all the gates leading into the city, and were now prepared for the coming attack.

3. Now this raises a question.

4. How were the children of Israel going to take this fortified city?

5. This would have been a formidable task for a well-equipped, highly trained, and well-seasoned army of Roman legionnaires, let alone for these Hebrews who were barely more than novices in the art of war.

6. How were they going to take this city???

 

C.   The Lord gave Joshua the answer in the next few verses here in Josh. 6, let’s read, beginning with Vrs. 2, “And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour….And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days….And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets….And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.” (Josh. 6:2-5)

1. In other words, God said, “Joshua, you have your army march around the city once for six days in a row, then on the seventh day you have your army march around the city seven times, and after you’ve marched around the city the seventh time, you have your priests blow their trumpets and you have your soldiers shout, and then I will cause the wall to fall down flat, and when I do, you have your soldiers enter and take the city.”

2. That was God’s battle plan for the taking of Jericho.

 

D.   Now I would imagine that to any general besides Joshua, this would have seemed like a ridiculous plan. (Don’t you think?)

1. Any general besides Joshua would have insisted on…

-ramming the gates with battering rams, or

-scaling the walls with ropes or ladders, or

-cutting off the food supply and starving the people.

2. Any general besides Joshua would have insisted on ramming the city gates.

3. But not Joshua.

4. Joshua had faith.

5. Joshua believed what God told him.

6. Joshua was convinced that if they would follow God’s instructions, He would do exactly what He said He would do (bring the walls down).

 

E.   Did God honor Joshua’s faith?

1. He most certainly did.

2. Look with me at Josh. 6:20 what happened on the seventh day, after the priests had blown the trumpets and the people had shouted, “So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.”

 

F.    And so, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down.”

1. But as I said earlier, there were at least two heroes of faith who were involved in bringing the walls of Jericho down, Joshua being the first of the two.

2. Who was the other?

3. Her name was…

II.      Rahab.

 

A.   Let’s look again at Vrs. 31 of our text, “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.”

 

B.   What happened was this.

1. Before Joshua even led the children of Israel across the Jordan River, he sent two spies into to the land to get an idea what they would be up against.

2. Josh. 2:1 tells us that these spies actually entered the city of Jericho, and found lodging in the house of a prostitute named Rahab.

3. Before the next morning, we are told, someone reported their presence to the king of Jericho, who immediately dispatched soldiers to Rahab’s house to arrest them.

4. However, when the soldiers knocked on Rahab’s door, rather than turning over the spies, she hid them on the roof of her house, then told the soldiers that the two spies had already left and that they had just missed them.

 

C.   Now this raises a question.

1. Why would Rahab hide these two spies?

2. She knew that they were enemies of her people.

3. She knew that their intention was to destroy her city.

4. She knew that they would return to their superiors and report everything that they had seen.

5. Yes, it’s true that she knew all of these things, however, she knew something else as well.

6. She knew that the God whom these spies served was the One and only true God, and that all who opposed Him would be crushed.

7. Notice with me Josh. 2:9-11, “And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you….For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed….And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.”

8. And so, the reason that Rahab helped the spies, is because she had come to believe in their God.

 

D.   She did, however, ask the spies for a personal favor, a favor for herself and for her family.

1. Notice with me Josh. 2:12-13, “Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token:…And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.”

2. After the spies had promised to grant her request, she took a scarlet colored (red) cord (rope) and lowered them down the outside of the city wall to the ground from the window of her house, because her house was actually built on top of the city wall.

3. Now notice what the spies said to her before they left in Josh. 2:18-19, “Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee….And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.”

4. In other words, “You display this scarlet rope in your window, then you bring all your loved ones into your house, and when we take the city, we will spares the lives of everyone found within your house.

5. Did Rahab believe the promise of the spies?

6  She most certainly did because we read in Josh. 2:21, “And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.”

7. In other words, she didn’t waste any time displaying that scarlet cord in her window.

 

E.   Did God honor Rahab’s faith?

1. He most certainly did.

2. Turn with me and let’s read Josh. 6:21-23, this was after the city walls had come down, “And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword….But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her….And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel.”

3. By the way, we’ve talked about how God miraculously brought the walls of Jericho down, however, there was at least one section of wall that didn’t fall, the section upon which Rahab’s house was built.

4. Yes, God honored Rahab’s faith by not only saving her, but also her loved ones.

 

F.    Did you realize that the scarlet cord (rope) that Rahab displayed in her window is a picture of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ?

1. Just like the scarlet cord saved Rahab and her family, the scarlet blood of Christ, when applied by faith to the sinners’ heart, saves from sin!

2. Rahab’s house had a lot in common with those houses in Egypt where the blood of the lamb had been sprinkled on the doorpost.

3. Just like everyone in those houses were spared the wrath of God, even so everyone who found refuge in Rahab’s house was spared the wrath of God as well.

 

G.   You know, the story of Rahab should be a great comfort to those who feel as though they are too wicked for God to save.

1. Rahab was a harlot.

2. She made her living selling her body.

3. Yet because of her faith, God saved her and then honored her.

4. How did God honor her?

5. Did you know that Rahab became the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth, the great great grandmother of David, and she thereby came to be an ancestor of our Lord Himself. (Mat. 1:5)

 

Conclusion:

 

A.   And so, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down.”

1. As we have seen, there were two heroes of the faith involved in bring these walls down.

2. First of all, there was Joshua, who believed God when he told him to march around the city once for six days, then on the seventh day to march around the city seven times.

3. Then there was Rahab, who believed the spies when they said, “Bind this scarlet cord in your window, and you and your loved ones will be saved.”

4. Two people, very different, but both heroes of the faith.

 

B.   May I ask you a personal question, this morning?

1. Have you trusted in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ to save you from your sin?

2. The Israelites trusted it the blood on the doorposts to save them.

3. Rahab trusted in the scarlet cord displayed in her window to save her.

4. Both the blood on the doorposts and the scarlet cord in the window were pictures of the blood of Christ.

5. Have you trusted in His blood to save you?

 

C.   If you have, another question.

1. Is there a Jericho in your life that is preventing you from enjoying God’s best (promised land) for your life?

2. If so, won’t you let God remove it?

3. Whatever it is, God can give you victory over it.

4. The God who brought the walls of Jericho down can also bring the walls of your Jericho down.

5. But, of course, you have to believe that He can!!