The Walls Come Tumblin’ Down
January 29, 2023
The Walls Come Tumblin’ Down
Sunday, January 29th, 2023
Psalm 66: 1-8 Call to Worship
The name of this message is inspired by John Cougar Mellencamp and his song Crumblin’ Down. The walls come crumblin’ tumbling… down.
But his message is not the message we’ll focus on today. We’ll be looking at how our mighty God once again, performs a miracle to bring a fortified city down to rubble, to make His name known throughout the nations, and to uphold His promise made to Abraham long ago. It was another moment causing Israel to be filled with awe and wonder at the miracle-working power of God, who was truly for them.
Have you had those moments in your life, where you are filled with awe at how God works and the grace He pours out upon you? I hope you have, many times over, because the truth is, God is still working miracles today and He is still pouring out His grace in ways that leave us in awe and wonder.
This entire journey I am on is one that frequently leaves me in awe of God.
First of all, why me Lord? Right? I’m sure several of you asked the same question at some point-why her?
I can’t answer that for sure, but I can certainly see how He is using me for His purposes to be made known and it’s deeply humbling.
The fact that I am standing before you as a pastor, is truly amazing to me. In many places yet today, this would never happen. The fact that He made an opening for me to serve on our district board and to later have this board-that is otherwise men- vote me to serve as their Chair- when ministry is highly dominated yet by male ministry leaders- leaves me in awe at how God did that; and why God did that. For 4 years straight I have served as Chair in our district-this wasn’t just a one-year fluke.
The fact that in the last 7 years, I have not only earned my master’s degree in theology, but I am within a matter of months- one more course- of earning my doctorate degree in ministry leaves me in awe. How did you do that God?
I am not standing up here boasting in all my success-quite the opposite. I am standing here in awe of our God and the ways He causes walls to tumble and opens a path for us to accomplish that which He is calling us too. None of these things would have been possible for me without God’s divine provision and grace.
These are truths I keep forever in front of me. I am very aware of who it is that has His hand upon me and who receives the glory. This is important for each of us to keep a heart of worship and reverent awe as we watch God work in and through our lives.
The other reason all of this has been brought about, is because I have been obedient to carry out the steps He has called me to take. There have been many, many steps of faithful obedience taken over these past 8 years of ministry; each one trusting God would show up and provide; each one bringing me closer to that which He showed me He had for me, and ultimately this church.
Not perfect obedience on my part mind you; but steadfast obedience in faith that if God has called me to it, He will surely equip me to accomplish it.
Sometimes I like to step back-almost like an out-of-body experience if you will, and just take it all in and say wow God…. You are so cool! You are so awesome! Look what You do and no one comes against what You purpose.
He has proven His faithfulness to me over and over again. I surely need it to be a shepherd to all of you. And I have chosen to believe by faith, in what He has spoken to me and how He will bring it about.
This is our message today as we look to the Israelites who were getting ready to take on the people of Jericho. Remember Jericho got word of what God did on the other side of the Jordan River and they were melting with fear, as Rahab told the spies. They knew it was a matter of time before God’s chosen people, would come upon their kingdom and they were tightening everything down in hopes of keeping them at bay. Do you remember when Joshua sent the spies and told them to scope out the land, especially Jericho? He wanted to know exactly what they would be up against as they came upon this Canaanite kingdom.
They would soon find out, it wouldn’t matter how secure their wall was; what God has spoken will come about and victory always belongs to God. Let’s look today at God’s plans for Israel to defeat Jericho as the beginning of many victories to be had on this side of the Jordan River. Look at what God spoke, what He showed them, and then how Joshua and the people responded in faith. Their response of faith was key to their victory.
Joshua 6: 1-5 NKJV
Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. 2 And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. 3 You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do for six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.
5 It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”
I want to share some things I have learned about how God works using this example, so we might all be encouraged in our own faith as we come upon mighty walls that seem impossible to get through or over.
- Receive the Rhema Word of God.
First, God will always give us a spoken word about His intentions and purposes. When God speaks to our hearts, that is called “Rhema”. It is His spoken Word. So when God was speaking to Joshua, that was rhema. As we read what He spoke to Joshua, that is called “logos”, which is His written word.
So in this case, we know God has already spoken to Joshua and told Him the great purpose He had for Joshua to lead the people of Israel into the promised land. We know God said, “into the land, I have given you.”
In this text we see God speaking again and here is what He said:
Joshua 6: 5 5 It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”
God was very specific about what the people were to do and what would happen when they obeyed His instructions. He gave Joshua a rhema word of victory and encouragement-but Joshua had to receive this spoken word as truth. He had to believe what God was telling him would come to pass as He said.
Joshua had to receive the rhema word first before anything else would happen. God would not release any miracle until Joshua believed in this word and let it penetrate his heart as truth.
This is the same way God worked through Abraham. Look at what God said to Abraham when he called him:
Genesis 12: 1-3 NKJV Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country,
From your family And from your father’s house To a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you, And in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
We need to remember Abraham was not a young man when God called him. He was already growing in his years and he had no children at this point. God was calling Abraham to walk away from all that he knew in his life with his family heritage and follow Him into unknown lands. Risky? Scary? Unsettling? Yes, Yes, and Yes… so in order to have the courage to do something so great as this, Abraham had to first receive this rhema word and believe if God has spoken it, He will surely do it. This is living by faith.
This is what we are to do too. When God put it in front of me to switch gears and leave all that I knew in my career and move into something in a completely different hemisphere from where I was going, was it risky, scary, unsettling- yes, yes at times, and here is the amazing part and why I knew God’s hand was upon this calling. It was not unsettling. It was the most peaceful transition I have had in fact with career changes. How this all came together left me in awe as I look back.
I very clearly heard God speak to my heart and I received His word as my truth. This is the same with my education. I have shared with some of you that when contemplating how to grow in my knowledge and my relationship with God, I was asking Him what I should do. He said very clearly, “if you want to know Me more, you will find Me here.” And I sure have!
The truth is, God is always speaking a word into our hearts. Always. Are we listening? Are we receiving? Are we believing? Because nothing will happen without this first step-receiving His rhema as our truth.
- See the Fulfillment of the Promise.
Once we receive His spoken word in our hearts, God is so gracious to show us the fulfillment of that promise through vision, maybe a dream, but He will show you what that looks like if you ask Him. Here is what He showed Joshua regarding the battle at Jericho.
Joshua 6: 1-2 NKJV Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. 2 And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor.
They locked everything down because of their great fear of Israel, and their God who was with them. God said look Joshua-see it in your mind’s eye. See it in your heart and hold on to this- I have given Jericho into your hand. See your hand holding on to it. See the king being handed over to you and all of their army. Do you see it, Joshua?
God did the same thing with Abraham. He gave Abraham the spoken word or rhema about the great purposes He had for him and through him but to solidify Abraham’s faith to carry out what God would ask of him, God showed Abraham a powerful image to hold on to.
Genesis 15: 5-6 NKJV 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6 And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
Again, remember this visual was when Abraham had no children yet-so there was no physical evidence at this point to suggest Abraham would be the father of anyone, yet what do we see? Abraham believed.
Do you know pictures are so powerful for us? What we gaze upon is what we begin to believe. So we can gaze upon our circumstances and in Abraham’s case say I have not become a father yet and the likelihood of this happening as I grow older gets less and less, so there is no way this can actually happen…. or we can gaze upon the stars every time doubt wants to rise up and we can say-but you promised Lord this is how many descendants I will have and I believe You God!
Abraham’s choice to believe is what launched all of God’s plans into motion and is what brought Joshua to this moment of his choice to believe what God was telling him. Joshua was one of those descendants through Abraham’s seed-all those years later.
What is God showing you? Do you ask Him to show you? Do you look to see what that fulfillment looks like in your marriage, in your children, in your grandchildren, your jobs, in restored health, in freedom from bondage, in using your passions in service, in traveling… Ask God to show you that which He has spoken over you. See the vision He gives you and hold on to it. You’ll need it to carry out the many steps that will be required to get there.
I would not be nearing the end of this schooling journey if I didn’t have an image to hold to of what would come through this effort. Because there have been many steps, much time is given, great amounts of humbling, and much trusting involved all along the way. If I didn’t have that vision or image to hold on to, it would be easy to quit and say I’m done. It’s too hard. Too much money. Too much effort. Not that I haven’t felt that at times, and I have taken breaks. But I press on because I have this word He spoke to me and this image He has given me and it drives me forward.
- Speak the Promise Forth.
As we see what God has given to us, we must speak about it as if it is already accomplished because in God’s eyes, it is. We have to remember this. This is why God said to Joshua, this land I have given you. God sees all aspects of time and He knew they would be victorious and the land was theirs.
Joshua had to then speak with confidence over his own thoughts and in leading the people as if it was already a done deal. We’ll look at some of his instructions to the people in just a moment.
God taught this to Abraham too and made a dramatic emphasis on the importance of doing this by changing Abram’s name.
Genesis 17: 5 NKJV 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.
So going forward from that moment, every time he introduced himself to someone else as he traveled into different nations, he would be professing he was the father of nations as he said, I am Abraham.
We too must speak forth the promises God has given us and believe it is already done. We can do this by thanking God for His provision-even before it happens-we give thanks that it is happening. This builds our faith and positions us to have our actions be ones of faith, not doubt.
- Act on the Promise.
Now, look at what Joshua spoke and how he and the Israelites acted then based on their faith in what God spoke to them. Then watch what happened based on their steps of faithful obedience.
Joshua 6: 6-7 NKJV 6 Then Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” 7 And he said to the people, “Proceed, and march around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the Lord.”
Joshua 6: 12-13 NKJV 12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 Then seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually and blew with the trumpets. And the armed men went before them. But the rear guard came after the ark of the Lord, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets.
Joshua 6: 14-16 NKJV 14 And the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. So they did six days. 15 But it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early, about the dawning of the day, and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only they marched around the city seven times. 16 And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city!
Joshua 6:20 NKJV 20 So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
Conclusion: When God speaks His purposes for our lives, let us receive His rhema as truth. Let us see the fulfillment of it and hold on to that vision in our hearts. Let us speak as if it is already done, trusting it is from God’s view, and let our actions be in alignment with this promise. When we do these things, we can trust God will bring down every wall so we can enter in and take possession of that which He has given us.
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