Heb. 11:30, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.” There can be no doubt, especially considering where in Hebrews this verse is found, that Jericho’s fall was an act of faith. There are other interesting things to learn from that story in Jos. 6:1-21 as well, though. When you read it, you cannot miss two things – God’s timing and perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds. Firstly, God does things according to His timetable, not ours. God is patient. He does not act before He thinks – something we humans tend to do. We live in a world that is all about speed.
Mcdonald’s and other fast-food companies can have your food ready by the time you have paid for your order. Amazon can deliver products to you within a few days, and even the same day in some cases. We live in a world that demands things get done ever quicker. Even patients who have had serious surgeries can go home much sooner than one would think possible. Everything is about speed, speed, speed. That can be great when you are waiting for the new “whatever” you recently purchased online or are particularly hungry, but that same “need for speed” often gets us into trouble.
The “get-it-done-yesterday” attitude has resulted in impatience. We are no longer willing to wait till the time is right for something to happen, and we demand that whatever we need or want is done without hesitation. Let’s say we apply for a new job somewhere. We half-heartedly research the company and then put all our eggs in that basket. We write our resumes to impress the recruiter, even if we have to “fluff” the details a little to suit the position. But, because we did not wait for the best opportunity, it does not take long for us to become disillusioned, and we become just as unhappy as we were in the last job we had. God sees the future; we do not. The advantage is that He does not just open the first door we walk up to. Sometimes it is not even the second, third, or fourth one. We may have to wait for the tenth one, but we will love the outcome if we trust God’s timing.
The second thing we discover when reading the passage is that “perseverance pays.”; something closely linked to God’s timing. We need to continue the fight until the war is won, even if a battle or two along the way is lost. Joshua and his army had to persevere for seven days. Now that may not seem like a long time to you but imagine just marching around the city once a day for six days and then seven times on the 7thday. That must have felt like a lot of doing nothing, and who would blame any of them for asking “Why?” during that time. But, because they listened, they received the prize they were aiming for – the fall of the city of Jericho.
We all have our own Jericho. We face what appears to be insurmountable odds, just like the fortified city facing the Israelites. We call out to God to give us victory in the form of that new job, the man or woman of our dreams to marry, or victory over disease, praying He will hear us. Of course, God hears the pleas of His children, but do we take the time to listen to what He is directing us to do. Are we prepared to trust Him? Are we prepared to walk around our “Jericho” for seven days, following His directions until we are handed the victory? Or do we demand that He does it this very minute, only to become angry and frustrated when He “ignores” us? Be patient and persevere until God hands you the victory – it will be worth it.