Lifelines February 17, 2019

Jericho was locked up tight as a drum (Joshua 6).  The Lord said that He had given the city into their hands, but there was that wall.  It stood in between the promise and the reality.  What were they to do about that seemingly insurmountable object?  Should they call the army corps of engineers?  Consult a political subcommittee?  Take up battering rams?  The God of the promise was also the God of the means.  Follow His instructions, the wall will fall and the city would be theirs.

A human demolition professional did not draw up the plans for leveling that wall.  Neither did an efficiency expert.  Nothing happened on the first day of implementing the Lord’s plan.  Ditto day two, three, four, five and six.  Surely, questions popped into their collective minds about the leadership that had produced no success after a half-dozen days.  In our microwave world, impatience would certainly have rippled through the ranks.  Day seven began just as uneventfully.  It looked like certain failure.  Round-and-round they went.  Results: Zero, except maybe a little ridicule from observers.  Just be quiet and march were their directions, and so they did.

Day seven did not end the way that it began.  As they completed their seventh lap around the city walls, they shouted, the priests blasted the trumpets and the wall collapsed.  God had given them the city.  He had provided the way in which they would receive it.  The only question to be answered was whether they trusted the Lord enough to obey His commands so that they would receive His gift.  That is still the question.

Hebrews 11:30 reveals the key.  Their accomplishment was not due to the fact that they marched better than anyone else.  Nor was it because the priests were superbly skilled at blowing those horns.  No, it was faith in God that knocked that barrier down.  Faith in Him, His gift, and the way to receive it.  It is an early portrait of the interaction of grace (The gift) and faith (The way to receive the gift). 

Salvation comes by means of that same grace and faith (Ephesians 2:8).  It is a gift, but an obstacle stands in the way.  Sin looms menacing and apparently impenetrable with the Lord and salvation on the other side.  How can we possibly get that wall to fall?  What composes ours?  The next party?  Anger?  Immorality?  Doubt?  Fear?  Jealousy?  Apathy?  The bricks stack up.  Nothing but the blood of Jesus can knock them down.  All of the blessings of God both now and eternally await us on the other side of that wall.  Belief strong enough in the Giver and the gift to follow His directions will clear the way.  When that faith meets God’s grace, we march right through walls into heaven.