Obeying God’s Strange Commands Yields Amazing Results

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. IS 55.8

God calls us to trust and obey him, even when his ways don’t make sense to us or the world around us. The fall of Jericho illustrates that God’s strange ways always result in victory when we obey him in faith. Joshua chapter 6 begins with Israel facing a hopeless situation:

Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. (1)

Jericho is locked up tight. There’s no way Israel can conquer this city. It’s massive. Israel has no catapults, no battering ram. They don’t even have any horses. They hadn’t fought a single battle and no experience in war. How are they going to take this city? God tells them how he is going to do it. And his ways are surprising. God’s ways are not our ways.

And the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” (2-5)

Imagine Joshua repeating this back to the Lord: “So we’re to have armed men, then 7 priests blowing 7 horns in front of the ark of the covenant, then a rear guard, then all the people, and march around the city with the priests blowing the horns, and all the people are totally silent. We walk around the city 1 time each day for 6 days and on the 7th day we do this 7 times then we give a shout and the wall will fall down. And we go up and take the city. Right.”

God’s ways aren’t our ways. They don’t always make sense to us. What do you mean I’m supposed to love my enemies and bless those who curse me and do good to those who abuse me? What do you mean I’m supposed to keep myself sexually pure before marriage? What do you mean I’m supposed to forgive people who sin against me? What do you mean I’m supposed to humble myself and lay down my life and serve others? What do you mean I’m not supposed to be anxious about tomorrow when I can’t see where the money’s going to come from? God’s ways are not our ways. He calls us to TRUST AND OBEY

So Israel trusted God and obeyed. They walked in silence carrying the ark of the covenant around the city, blowing trumpets, once a day for 6 days, then 7 times on the 7th day. Can you imagine how foolish this looked to the people of Jericho? The priests were blowing “useless” trumpets. The soldiers on the wall were probably laughing and mocking: “Look, a marching band. Ooooh how scary! Oh, those trumpets are so terrifying! Wow, I think I felt a vibration. Hey, do you guys know anything by Louis Armstrong? How about Winton Marsalis? Hey, marching band, can you guys do the theme from Star Wars?”

Well, you know the story. On the 7th day after marching around the city 7 times, the Israelites gave a shout – another “useless” thing in man’s eyes – and the walls came a-tumblin’ down.

God’s ways are not our ways. They often don’t make sense to our minds. They run counter to the world’s way of doing things. But when we obey God in faith he will give us spiritual victory and success. 

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.