The story of Joshua leading the Israelites into the land God promised they could have holds a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s the underdog thing. I mean statistically speaking, the Israelites should have been decimated at the first blow. Or maybe it’s the way God makes Himself so apparent throughout the conquests. If we study the book and find the truths laid out in it, we realize that God and God alone fought every single battle those Israelites participated in. It was by His hand of grace and mercy that His people claimed the Promised Land. And still, they had a part: follow Him to the promise.
The first battle took place in Jericho. We find it in Joshua 6. Joshua and the Israelites have just crossed the mighty Jordan River, at flood stage. And here they camp, poised and ready to conquer the Land of Promise in the name of Almighty God. The God Who had led them right here.
The Bible doesn’t say much about how long they had been in this particular camping spot, but we do know that the last time we saw Joshua, he was facedown in the presence of Holy God (Joshua 5:13-16). The perfect place to begin a conquest. The perfect place to begin a race, too. And throughout the book of Joshua, we learn that Joshua held this stance through every battle. Poised at the feet of God Almighty. Joshua knew that there was no way to conquer the land of Canaan but by God’s hand. His plan. His way. Perhaps the same could be said of our hearts as we train and race on behalf of the children in Southeast Asia who don’t have the means to fight the battle that’s been waged on them. The only way to see them free from the slavery and the bondage they are in is by the very hand of God Himself.
It is here that we find God passing on His objective to Joshua for the first battle. How to take Jericho. If you look closely at His orders, you’ll probably notice the very fist command He gave Joshua:
See . . . (Joshua 6:2)
God called Joshua to nothing less than pure and unadulterated faith.
Before a toe touched ground on that just-outside-Jericho dirt, Joshua had to see what God considered already done.
See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands . . . (Joshua 6:2)
By God’s standards, the battle was over. Jericho had already fallen. Now it was time to put feet to their faith. Joshua had to use faith-eyes in order to lead the Israelites to the sure victory that was theirs to claim. He had to see what God said and believe it for truth. It was a faith walk like none other. One that marched them around Jericho and straight to victory. And the amazing battle of Jericho was complete with the strike of God’s Word before the Israelites even had a chance to attack.
The same holds true for us today. Jesus came to “proclaim freedom for . . . captives” (Is. 61:1) such as those kids in Cambodia and Thailand. And we get to be His feet that walk the race and see Him work in their lives. Like Joshua, we are called to see the truth of His promise by faith and to live accordingly. Undiscouraged by a bad run. Undistracted by the the puddles that soak our shoes through to the toes. Knowing that, by Him, the battle is already won. The race is already finished.
And all we have to do is put the feet of our bodies on the promise of God and watch Him do what He’s already promised.