Psalm 37:3-7 (NIV)
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
God is a good God. He have a very specific and highly detailed plan for each of us that always results in our prosperity – mind, soul and body. With this thought in mind, it is not always easy to stay true to our inclination, vision or the nudging of the Holy Spirit when the world and everything in it seems bent against that which the Lord has promised us. The vision is exciting. The dream seems so real. But in the waiting and preparing, sometimes our heart loses sight of that which is to come. The barriers seem too high. The obstacles too challenging. The opposition too great. The enemies outnumbering. It is in that moment of counting the cost that one must decide if they believe. The sum total of our life is weighed on a scale not of what we amass in this life but rather what we believe. The trend and tendencies of our life are formed and fashioned by what we believe.
To believe that God is good and His Intentions for me are true means that I must trust Him. I cannot always see what He is doing, hear what He is saying or feel His Closeness in my life but I know what He has promised in the Word of God. We live on the edge of breakthrough. The moment that we take a promise and decide that it is true pursuing it wholeheartedly. The covenant entered in with Jesus Christ contains more than a promise of life after death. It promises a new life before you die as well. For those who choose to pursue Him wholeheartedly and live in His Promises, this will be a daily challenge to trust the Lord and do good no matter the circumstances, situations, obstacles, pain and process. To delight in the Lord. To commit our way to the Lord because we believe He will do exactly what He promised. To live a righteous life without compromise, no substitutions, apart from sin just to know Him more. This the covenant that allows us to have the life of promises carefully scripted for us to read and written on our hearts by His Spirit during our daily encounters. What are you waiting for today? Do you want the life promised to you? Do you have a dream? Do you have a vision that seems too far in the distance to even comprehend? So did Joshua and the Israelites as they stood just outside of Jericho.
Joshua 6:1-2 (NIV)
Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.
God. Such a kidder. Just reading the first two verses of Joshua 6 will sum up just about every endeavor of pursuing the Promises of God in life. The gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. They were prime enemy number one. The warriors on the wall were waiting and to attack the first one who tried to gain entrance to their city. The Lord tells Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its kind and its fighting men.” As my kids might say, “LOL”. Can you imagine Joshua, hands on his hips, feet in a battle stance, looking up the side of the concrete wall, maybe just a little sarcastic – “Yes Lord, I see that you did.” Or maybe since Joshua was way more holy than I, he quietly waited for the Lord to tell him more. Ok here’s the plan. Walk around the walls for six days carrying the Ark of My Presence out in front. Now on the seventh day, walk around seven times and then shout. In that moment, the walls will collapse and everyone is to straight in. (Verses 3-5) What does Joshua do? He goes directly to the people and instructs them to do exactly what the Lord tells them to do. (Verses 6-14) This is exactly what Joshua, the priests and people did for six days straight.
These are the moments just before Jericho. When standing just outside the thing that keeps us from having all that the Lord has promised and claiming it. This is the most important part of the process. It is completely based on what we believe molding our attitude and motivating our actions. I think if we could learn from Joshua what to do just before Jericho more and more Christians would be stepping over barriers, overcoming obstacles and living to the Glory of God every single day. There would not be sporadic miracles, occasional healings, and once-in-a-while deliverance but men and women coming to know Jesus and turning their hearts and lives over to the Lord. We cannot ask of another what we are not willing to do. We must live wholeheartedly for Jesus to ever expect another to do the same.
God gave Joshua His Word. Though the walls around the city were fortified, barred and armed, God told His Man this is your city. This is the destiny of My People. Just do what I say, and I will hand it over to you. Placing it directly in your hands for My Use. What did Joshua do? He saw the mighty walls before him, but He kept looking up until He saw God’s Face, heard His Voice and decided to take Him at His Word. Whose got the final say in your life today? Has the Lord promised you something that the world denies? Who do you believe? It matters.
God’s Plan may have seemed a little off or even a bit crazy. Joshua did not add to it or take from it but delivered it directly to the people. He told them exactly what God said to do with the sole intent to do exactly that – nothing more or less. Faith in God will always require absolute trust in His Direction and His Timing. The Lord will lead you into your promise unless you choose to look for it your way or make it happen when you want it. This is spiritual rebellion and will cause an abortion of that which is perfect in its own time.
Joshua 6:15-19 (NIV)
On 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. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! The city and all that is in it are to be devoted 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. But 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. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.”
On the seventh day, what would be the final hour, Joshua believed that the city would be theirs that day so right before they were to shout, he instructed them on what to do once inside. What amazing faith! Six days of marching around a wall may have seemed pointless, but Joshua was planning with each step asking God for direction and making the final preparations for once they stepped inside. How about you? As you walk out these days just before Jericho, are you preparing to make your entrance into the promise for which you wait? Those who truly believe the Word of God is true will begin to prepare when the barriers are tall, obstacles many, naysayers plenty and the promise humanly unattainable. This is the place where the believers who refuse to relent will dare to dream past today, cast vision for tomorrow, envision victory and claim the win. It can also be a bit scary in the moment preceding the breakthrough when the enemy questions every single belief we have mocking our commitment to God reminding us of every other time, we quit, gave up or walked away never achieving that which God promised. It was not because God was not intent and fully committed to bringing it to pass. It was our inability to wait, plan, prepare and push through in that final hour that snatched victory, success and prosperity from us. “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.” (Joshua 6:20)
Are you just outside Jericho? Is this the day just before you will march over the wall and step into God’s Promise? Only the Lord truly knows. What matters is our level of commitment to the Plan of God and His Promise, are we wholeheartedly pursuing God with all our mind, soul and body today? It does matter how big the enemy, high the wall or solid the mountain when it comes to God and His People, He will do anything to take care of His Children. “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.” (Hebrews 11:7) It is time for God’s People to reclaim the faith and commitment of men of God like Joshua and Noah who before they could see the victory, claimed it and lived for it. Noah began building the ark before this world even knew what rain was or where it came from. God told Noah what to do and by faith Noah began to plan and prepare for what was to come. This is the life of a true believer unchanged and unaffected by the world and its perception but fully motivated and committed to see the Word, Will and Way of God come to pass in their everyday life. Changing things from ordinary to extraordinary. Moving from what is possible into the impossible possibilities given to those who choose to live by faith with confident hope in God alone.
Hebrews 10:19-23 (NIV)
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
The days of our life that lead us to the day before our breakthrough are ordained by God with purpose. He prepares as we go through life for what comes next in life. His Purpose is that His Children will one day have a sincere heart and full assurance of what faith brings. This will be a journey of peaks and valleys as we learn to walk with the Lord, follow Jesus and stay true to Him in season and out. He molds and shapes us to enter His Kingdom one day which will require total trust and commitment of one’s heart, mind, soul and body to Jesus Christ. The steps of life are designed to lead us to that very moment when we claim forever with the Lord. Until then, we face obstacles, challenges, and barriers in order to see how far our personal faith will take us. How near we will draw to His Word. Whether or not we will obey and remain true to our covenant with the Lord. What is our covenant?
The Lord instructs people to follow His Decrees and Commands for righteousness sake. We must carefully observe them with all our heart and soul. Why? We have declared that He is our God and that we will walk in His Ways. We were not forced but chose this life on the day we said, “YES!” to Jesus. I was the one who promised to give Him my life and seek Him wholeheartedly. So the Lord now calls me His Treasured Possession and treats me as such. The moment that I decide to stay committed to our covenant, walk in His Ways and follow Jesus – my life becomes praiseworthy. The Lord says that He will lift us high above other nations. (Deuteronomy 26:16-19) God does not waver. He does not lie. He never changes His Mind. He set out to love us and He does. He desired to save us and so He did. He opens the doors to His Kingdom and says come on in weary sinner and I will give you rest. He is always keeping His Promises and true to His Word. So if my life does not add up to what He promised, where is the disconnect?
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Are you just before Jericho today? Is breakthrough about to come? You will never know if you stop walking with the Lord, watching for Him, waiting on Him and hold back your shout! Words hold power are you welcoming the promise or pushing it away with fear, doubt and negativity. God is doing exactly what He promised and just as He planned. Nothing has changed. So neither should you? Or me? We must press into His Presence today. Praise Him for His Promise that is sooner than we think, more than we asked for, greater than we know and that will bring us closer to Him than we ever thought possible. Are you weak? Good, now Jesus will be your strength! Are you tired? Good, now He can give you rest. Are you heavy laden? Let the Lord remove the yoke from you as you prepare to break out in praise. Are just before Jericho today? Awesome! You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Victory is coming! If you choose to go in! I wonder how all those people felt walking around the city unarmed and silent each day. I bet by day six they were thinking they lost their minds. Questioning their decision to follow the Lord listening to Joshua. God was not doing anything. Joshua must be crazy. Why must we walk? Why must we wait? I bet they forgot all those things when they walked right in the very next day. Trust the Lord. Do good today. Delight in Him. Your breakthrough is coming. Who knows? It may already be here. Why not praise Him like it is? Or at least, like we believe it just might be!
Galatians 6:8-10 (NIV)
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.