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Sermon – 9/15/02
The Wall - Joshua 6:5


The Wall

And when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him” (Joshua 6:5)

Tuesday is very much a WORK day for me, which is fine, because I like it that way.  My wife Genevieve works on Tuesdays (like the other weekdays) but she also attends class on Tuesday evenings, and this is my day to get in 8-hours of preparing studies and writing sermons.  I am also completing a Children’s Commentary on the Book of John, and you can visit the Children’s Commentary at www.fridaystudy.org.

During weekdays from 7-1:30, I’m the Human Resources guy in a factory.  My job is to make work better for people, and that’s what I do in the mornings.

In the afternoons, evenings and on weekends, I’m a pastor.  All I’ve wanted to do for the last thirty years is TEACH God’s Word.  As time went on, it looked like that was closed to me.  People were concerned, asking questions like, “Do you have a retirement built up?”  I did a lot of temporary jobs in those years and would respond something like, “No, I guess I’ll just drop dead working somewhere” (which is what I really thought would happen).

They would shake their heads and I would go back to working at the next job, and the next, and the next, and so on.  And I would prepare Bible studies.  Whether or not I was actually teaching seemed less important than responding to Him.  So I would prepare, deciding that it was His job to bring me to a place where I would actually DO what He had been preparing me for.  But the formal ministry seemed to be surrounded by a “wall” that kept me out.

Do you have “walls” in your life?  Physical or emotional “walls” can be temporary (actually, all of them here on earth are temporary). but they can also last the rest of our lives.  I just spoke with a man on the phone from New York who told about his recollection of “Ground Zero”.  It was very personal to him because of what happened to his wife.

She works in a store which is about two blocks north of Ground Zero, and the cloud of smoke and debris went right up her street.  She was trapped in the store for what seemed “forever”, and then she managed to get out and go to the apartment of a relative, further up Manhattan Island.  The telephones were not working right and it was many hours before her husband knew she was alive.

The destruction of the Twin Towers occurred, of course, on September 11th.  Because her place of business was so close, they were not allowed to enter the store until December.  She did not lose her job because it was a family owned business, and they managed to pay ALL the employees, even though it closed for a long time.  Even after being allowed by the authorities to enter the store in December, they still could not open to customers, because there was “a foot of ash on the floor and the goods were damaged.”  Other businesses in the area somehow survived, as well.  My wife and I were in the area during June of this year.  We saw first hand that many businesses survived, but others did not.

During the time the store was closed, the local government would not let them enter.  The rules, which were for their safety and the safety of others, were like “walls” that kept the owners from making a living.  When the store was finally cleaned and ready, they still could not operate it, because they needed merchandise for the store, but were not allowed to bring a truck to the area.

You have “walls” in your life that can be very frustrating.  Even if you are not hampered by them right now, they blocked you in the past and it certainly will happen in the future.  You may wonder about God’s intentions toward you, because “walls” can seem unnecessary or even unfair.  And then, after months or years of waiting and (hopefully) praying, suddenly the “walls” are down, and your life takes a whole new direction. 

Hannah Whitall Smith spoke about Joshua’s encounter with the walls of Jericho.  You’ll recall that instead of directly attacking the city, Joshua’s forces were to march around the walls for several days, and then the walls would fall.  It was an unconventional strategy, and for once, Israel acted on God’s direction.  Hannah Whitall Smith pointed out that God told Joshua, ‘I HAVE given into thine hand Jericho…’  He did not say, ‘I WILL give,’ but ‘I HAVE given’” (Joshua 6:2).  Just like He has given –everything– to you.

Ms. Smith continued, “No one can suppose for a moment that this shout caused the walls to fall.  And yet the secret of their victory lay in just this shout, for it was the shout of a faith which dared, on the authority of God’s Word alone, to claim a promised victory, while as yet there were no signs of this victory being accomplished.  And according to their faith, God did unto them; so that, when they shouted, He made the walls to fall.” 

Centuries later, the Holy Spirit recorded this triumph of faith in the Book of Hebrews:  “By FAITH the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days” (Hebrews 11:30).

For those that trust in Him, Jesus Christ has promised to knock down every wall that ever blocks us.  It’s the same for you as it was for Joshua, for “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).  Our only problem is that we tend to look at outward things instead of that which is infinitely more important.

Just like the man’s wife in Manhattan still had her job after months of waiting, so you have an eternal inheritance in Christ Jesus, if you have received Him as Savior and Lord.  You may seem to be surrounded by impassable “walls” right now, but they will eventually be gone.  And you will see that NOTHING “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39.  Nothing!  Where it counts in life, you already have the victory in Him.

Father, we bring You our sadness and our fear.  Many times we just barely believe that You will deliver us, not really comprehending that the victory has already been won.  Forgive us, Lord, and heal our unbelief.  Thank You.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
www.fridaystudy.org
ron@fridaystudy.org
P.O. Box 92131
Long Beach, CA  90809-2131

"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

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