From the book of Joshua, Chapters 1-6.
I want to speak with you, today, about perseverance. At this moment in time, many of you are struggling, holding out hope against hope for the manifestation of the promises of God. This might be manifestation of financial promises, ministry promises, promises regarding family, and promises regarding professional vocation.
On this day, I speak life into you and say, “BE STRONG and VERY COURAGEOUS.”
I. The Foundation.
Three times in the opening of the book of Joshua, Joshua is told to “be strong and very courageous.” Joshua 1:6, 7, 9. God also states, “Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you.” Joshua 1:5.
Perseverance starts with courage in the face of adversity. In the face of pain, in the face of obstacles, in the case of a feeling that there is no way out, this is where perseverance starts.
The word “strong” as used in the Old Testament, which was recorded in Hebrew and Chaldean, is the word “chåzak” (khaw-zak), which means to fasten upon, be obstinate, bind, and cleave. Joshua was to cling or bind himself or be obstinate about God’s word, that God had given Jericho into Joshua’s hands. Joshua 1:3, 6:2.
When God spoke to Joshua, He spoke in the prophetic perfect. It was already done. Jericho was already in Joshua’s hands despite the wall not having come down and despite the children of Israel not having marched, yet. Joshua 1:3, 6:2.
In Joshua 1:9, Joshua is further told not to be dismayed. In the Hebrew, the word for dismay is châthath (khaw-thar´). This word means to go prostrate, break down by confusion or fear, or to be discouraged or terrified.
Oftentimes, as humans, while waiting on the promises of God, we become quite fearful to the point of depression (going prostrate), breaking down in confusion or fear (running in circles), becoming discouraged (not being able to move on), or arriving at a place of sheer terror as funds run out, rent becomes due, and one is face with the question of what one will eat, how one will purchase gasoline, or how one will take care of a spouse and children. These circumstances can make a person feel weak, cowardly, and/or discouraged. Amen?
Whatever God has told you, it will be. In many cases, it IS (prophetic perfect). You must bind yourself to God’s word on the matter and be obstinate about it. Cling to it. God is not man that He should lie, nor son of man that He should have to repent. Numbers 23:19. God’s word will not return void. Isaiah 55:11.
II. Exercise Strategy.
In chapter 2 of Joshua, Joshua sent spies to look over the land, “particularly Jericho.” Joshua 2:1. In the course of things, the spies were pursued by the King of Jericho, hidden by Rahab the harlot, they ultimately departed Jericho, then they hid in the hills for 3 additional days until their pursuers turned back. Joshua 2:2-7, 16, 22. Finally, they had to come down from the hills and navigate a river before returning to Joshua. Joshua 2:23.
It took a lot of effort and time for Joshua to exercise this reconnaissance mission. Joshua 2:23. Joshua exercised strategy by sending out the spies. And, we must exercise strategy when dealing with the enemy who may be hindering the answer to our prayers and problems—like Daniel, from the moment you set your mind to gain understanding and humbled yourself before God, the angels began battling in the heavenlies. Sometime the prince of Persia (who in scripture represents satan) is stubborn and Michael the arc-angel has to be called upon BY the OTHER ANGELS. Daniel 10:12-14.
III. Wait, Rest, Receive Further Instructions
In chapter 3, Joshua and all of the Israelites set out, came to the river Jordan where they camped for three days before crossing the Jordan. Joshua 3:1-6.
In this season, Joshua and the people of Israel were in a season of wait and rest. On the third day of camping next to the Jordan, the children of Israel received further instruction from their leaders, Joshua and the Levitical priests. Joshua 3:2-6.
The Levitical priests instructed the children on avoiding death as they crossed the Jordan. Joshua 3:3-4. From Joshua the people received instruction on consecrating themselves. Joshua 3:5. Then, the priests received the “forward march” order from Joshua. Joshua 3:6.
Joshua received further instruction from God. This instruction from God involved specific step-by-step direction and what to expect. Joshua 3:13.
Sometimes, the stress of our problems can wear us down and before God brings us into the solution, we are to rest in Him. Set up camp, if only for a moment, and just rest.
While you are in your season of wait and rest, look for your instructions. You may get further instruction from your religious leader (the Levitical priests), from those walking in the prophetic office (Joshua), or from God, Himself.
IV. Remember the Lord, your God, and Celebrate the Milestone Victories.
In chapter 4, after the entire nation of Israel crossed the Jordan river, one man from each tribe was commanded to assist in building a memorial to the Lord’s mighty work of cutting off the waters of the river Jordan so that the nation of Israel could cross. Joshua 4:1-7.
Now, remember, the PROMISE was that they would take Jericho, a walled city. Joshua 6:1-2. However, on the way to the promise, God is “doing some things.” Before the walls of Jericho fall flat (Joshua 6:20) and the Israelites go in and possess, the river Jordan parts like the Sea of Reeds. Joshua 3:15-17, Exodus 14:21-22.
Take time to celebrate the milestones and victories experienced on the way to the full promise of God. He wants His work to be celebrated and remembered. Joshua 4:6-7.
Sometimes, in answer to a prayer, God is not answering just our prayer. In fulfilling His promise to us, He is answering the prayers of a nation. We must take the time to set up an altar of remembrance and thanks even before our promise manifests, because God is good all of the time and He will not let us down. Joshua 1:5.
V. Circumcision, Healing, and Passover.
Chapter 5, in the book of Joshua brings us to the circumcision at Gilgal. At this point, all men had to be circumcised. By now, so much time had passed between Moses leading the nation of Israel through the wilderness and up to the promised land, to Joshua leading the nation of Israel into the promised land, an entire generation had died off. This new generation was not in covenant with the Lord by virtue of “cutting the covenant” through a blood sacrifice. Joshua 5:2-7.
For our purposes, under the new covenant through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our hearts are circumcised. We become in covenant with God through the blood sacrifice of Jesus. Romans 2:25-29.
All had to be re-dedicated to the Lord and committed to the promise.
Then, they had to remain in the camp until they were healed and the reproach of their past (Egypt and slavery) were rolled away. Joshua 5:8-9. In the Hebrew, this word is “cherpâh” (kher-paw´). This word means disgrace, rebuke, and shame.
While one is on this journey, unable to meet personal and financial obligations, not always feeling at one’s best, struggling with depression or anxiety, not being able to explain to others what the heck is going on, enduring the finger pointing of those who say, “Ah ha, ah ha, God is not with you or you would not be struggling so much,” facing betrayal by those around you, seeking but not finding the emotional and spiritual support needed to endure and get through while going through…. you get the picture… often, one feels the warm cloak of disgrace, shame, and rebuke slowly cover one’s face, neck, shoulders, and back like a chenille scarf and shearling coat on the dankest, darkest, coldest of nights.
That burden of reproach must be rolled away.
Then, we celebrate Passover. Joshua 5:10. This is celebration of the angel of death passing over us in our iniquity and shame after offering up the blood sacrifice. Exodus 12:11-13.
The first Passover was done in a spirit of haste, in anticipation of what the Lord was about to do. Exodus 12:11.
Notice something. While all of this is going on… while you are waiting, resting, receiving instructions, memorializing milestones, solidifying your covenant with the Lord, experiencing your healing from reproach, and celebrating that He has passed over you from death, BY GOLLY!!!, you are STILLL EATING MANNA!!!! Aarghhh!!!! Joshua 5:11-12. Manna represents having just enough. No excess. Total dependence on God. It necessitates one’s stepping out in faith that God will provide day-by-day and moment-by-moment.
Baby… God sent me to tell you, manna is about to cease. Joshua 5:10-12.
The wall still had not come down. The promise still had not exactly been fulfilled. Israel still had not marched. The wall had not fallen.
But, what they may not have realized is that when they ate some of the produce of the land on which they stood, they were now on Canaan land, eating on the desert plains of Jericho. And my bible tells me that THE MANNA CEASED. Joshua 5:12.
They did not need manna, because they had already started eating of the promise.
Sometimes, before we receive the promise of the Lord, we must rededicate ourselves to Him, be healed in our iniquity, being brought back into covenant and have our reproach rolled away, and then we can celebrate that He passed over us, snatching away the keys to death, by sending Jesus as our Savior.
VI. Obstacles Loom!
Oh, dear! We have yelled, “Hallelujah.” And, we have exalted, “Praise the Lord!” Our faith has been renewed, we have strategized, waited, rested, received instruction, honored the milestones, experienced circumcision of our hearts and God’s healing power, we have celebrated passing over from death into eternal life, and Glory Be!, we arrive at the promise and there is a wall between us and it.
Waaahhhhhhh!!!!!! Makes you want to cry, does it not? You say, “Oh, Lord! I have been through so much! I have believed your word, I have been faithful to your people and the body, I have served others from my place of lack, I have submitted to the Holy Spirit, I have grown in Spirit, Truth, and Wisdom by leaps and bounds, I have tried to keep my chin up. But, Oh!!!!, Lord!!!!, this is TOO MUCH.
The bible tells us that the sons of Israel arrive at Jericho and it is a “tightly shut up” walled city. Jericho knew Israel was coming and everything went on lock down. Joshua 6:1.
How many of you can give a witness that as you make your way toward the promise of God, the closer you get to actual manifestation of the promise, the enemy uses every man, woman, child, beast, and demon in hell to present itself as an obstacle and stop you from seeing things through? Can I get a witness?
After all of this, one may still find one’s promise “tightly shut up.” But, as Yogi Bera said, “It ain’t ova, ‘til it’s ova!!!”
VII. Obedience and Patience.
Now, the children of Israel are instructed to march around the wall of the city for 6 days, once each day. Joshua 6:3.
Wha?!?! So close, and yet so far. They had to march around an ENTIRE CITY.
This was an exercise in obedience and patience. Whatever God tells you to do, DO IT. Obedience is better than sacrifice. 1 Samuel 15:22.
“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay [tarry].” Habakkuk 2:3.
The first time the word “tarry” is used in this scripture in Habakkuk, it comes from the word “mâhah” (maw-haw´). This means to hesitate or linger. The second time “tarry” is used in this scripture, it comes from the word “‘âchar” (aw-khar´), which means to loiter (be behind) or be late.
Your vision has an appointed time. Although it does not feel like it, it is hastening toward the goal and will not fail. Although it hesitates or lingers, wait for it. It will surely come and it will not be behind or late.
VIII. Obedience and Patience and Anticipation.
On the 7th day, the children of Israel were instructed to march around the walled city 7 times in that one day. Joshua 6:4. Seven is a completion number. It means to be full, “shib’âh” (shib-aw´), or complete, “shâba’” (shaw-bah´).
God is finishing this thing off, and Israel will have more than enough. They will be full and the situation is complete.
This is additional exercise in obedience and patience (7 times around an entire city!). But, also, now there should be an air of anticipation.
If we believe God is going to do what He said He was going to do, it is coming, now. We only must ground ourselves in obedience.
IX. Obedience and Manifestation.
Next, the children of Israel were instructed that on the 7th day of marching, after having marched the 7th time around the walled city in one day, after the 7 priests carrying 7 trumpets give ONE LONG BLAST with the ram’s horn, all the people were to give a GREAT SHOUT. At the great shout, the wall around Jericho would fall down FLAT and the people could walk straight in and possess the land. Joshua 6:4-5.
Did you catch that? The wall of Jericho would FALL DOWN FLAT and the people of Israel could go up, with every man WALKING STRAIGHT AHEAD. Joshua 6:5.
Did you catch that? When the wall to your promise is brought down supernaturally, the obstacle will fall down flat. You do not have to “heave-ho,” climbing over tumbled bricks or sections of partially fallen walls. The obstacle is removed FLAT. It’s shattered into dust. In the Hebrew, it means that the obstacle has bottomed out, “tachath” (takh´-ath), from “Tôwach” (to´-akh). Joshua 6:5.
Now, let me tell you what the Lord said when he told them to shout. He told them to “split the ears with joy.” “rûwa’” (roo-ah´).
And, when the people of Israel gave the shout, the word in Hebrew switches and the bible says that they gave an “acclamation of joy” or a “battle cry.” “terûw’âh” (ter-oo-aw´).
Wow! It sounds like they were delirious with joy, and they threw in a little extra something to let the devil know he was defeated.
That same word, “rûwa’,” was repeatedly (5 times) used by God when He instructed Joshua to tell the children of Israel to “shout.” (This word also was used by Joshua when he relayed the message to the children of Israel.)
But, in the execution of that thing, the word, for the actual expression of joy, incorporated the wail of a battle cry when it finally was expressed by the longsuffering people of Israel.
Get ready to give your battle cry and expression of joy.
When you are faced with a problem or the seeming delay in the promises of God, be strong and very courageous. Bind yourself tightly to God’s word and what He said He would do. Do not allow the enemy, the adversary, the evil one, (and anyone, demon or human, used by him to discourage you), to back you down.
- Be obstinate. Cling to God’s word.
- Exercise strategy when dealing with the enemy, who may be hindering your answer.
- Camp. Wait in rest in the Lord.
- Remember, through His answer to you, the Lord may be answering the prayers of a nation.
- Celebrate the milestone victories.
- Rededicate yourself to the Lord, be healed in your iniquity, and celebrate your Passover, remembering that Jesus died for you and took on sin and death.
- Keep listening for and receiving your instruction from the Lord.
- More obstacles? “It ain’t ova ‘til it’s ova.”
- An exercise in obedience and patience; you figuratively marching around the wall (your obstacle) 6 times. (The number 6 representing the frailty and fallibility of man.)
- Obedience and anticipation… you only got one more march to go.
- Manifestation! Your wall/obstacle falls down FLAT.
- Give that shout of Joy! He knows you are weary. You have been picked on, stepped on, put down, and placed in the margin. Add to that a BATTLECRY, for victory has been given into your hands by the Lord.
by C. Blue