Jericho: Inheriting the Promised Land
About the Guest
The old song tells us that "Joshua fought the battle of Jericho..." but according to Max Lucado, the real warrior on the battlefield that day was the Lord God Almighty. Find out what you need to know about battling your Jericho.
Max LucadoMax Lucado is a Minister of Preaching at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, where he has served since 1988. He has been married to Denalyn Preston Lucado since 1981, and they have three grown daughters—Jenna, Andrea and Sara—and one son-in-law, Brett.
The old song tells us that “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho…” but according to Max Lucado, the real warrior on the battlefield that day was the Lord God Almighty.
Jericho: Inheriting the Promised Land
Bob: When we walk by faith, what we are doing is walking with confidence that what God has said is true is really true and, when He makes a promise, He’ll keep His promise. Joshua understood that when God called him to take the city of Jericho. Here’s pastor and author, Max Lucado.
Max: Joshua did not go forth hoping to win. He knew that God had already won—won. He did not fight for victory; he fought from victory. You can do the same. You can fight from victory, not for victory.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, October 22nd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. There are a lot of lessons we can learn from Joshua and the battle of Jericho about what it means to live life in victory. We’ll hear some of those lessons today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. You know, there are some speakers, where they just start speaking and I just reach for my cell phone, because I know I’m going to be tweeting just over and over again things they’re going to say because they are going to say something and I’m going to go: “Man, I’ve got to tweet that,” “Oh, I’ve got to tweet that.” That happened not long ago when our friend, Max Lucado, showed up, here at FamilyLife.
Dennis: It did. He’s speaking about the battle that people are facing today. I’ve got to tell you Bob, I think our listeners are really going to benefit from the faith that this encourages you to have as you face battles in your marriage, with your kids, in the culture, as you make choices. I mean, all of us need courage in the battle to follow Jesus Christ and to do what’s right.
Bob: Before Max spoke to our staff, he had some nice things to say about FamilyLife / about you and me. I told our team we should edit past that. They came back to me and said: “No! We want to leave that in. We want the listeners to hear Max say nice things about you and Dennis.” So, I said, “Okay, alright.” So this message begins with Max saying some nice things about us.
Max: I sure do think highly of Dennis and Bob. I don’t know how they stay so young-looking after all these many years. Bob helped us begin a radio ministry, and it’s still on the air to this day—just a daily 60-second program. It’s had a long life. Bob, you were a great influence in those early days; and we deeply appreciate you. Dennis, you are just a hero—just a hero—steadfastness, and friendship, and just rock-solid. I think, if our generation has an Apostle Peter, you might be him—
—just solid and dependable. God bless you.
Bob: Well again, our team insisted that we let our listeners hear that. Honestly, it’s kind of nice to hear it again.
Dennis: It was. It was fun.
Bob: We appreciate Max and appreciate his ministry. This is what he shared with our team about the Book of Joshua and about the battles that we are all facing in life.
Dennis: If you don’t know who Max Lucado is, just Google® him and look him up on Wikipedia®. His books have sold more than a hundred million copies.
[Previously Recorded Message]
Max: Here’s what you need to know about Jericho—the walls were immense. They wrapped around the city like a suit of armor—two concentric circles of stone rising a total of 40 feet above the ground—they were impenetrable.
Here’s what you need to know about Jericho’s inhabitants—they were ferocious.
They were barbaric. They had withstood all sieges / they had repelled all invaders. They were guilty of every imaginable crime and sin, including child sacrifice. They were a bronze-aged version of the Gestapo. They were ruthless tyrants on the plains of Canaan until the day Joshua showed up.
Here’s what you need to know about Joshua—contrary to what that old song says—Joshua did not bring the walls down. He never swung a hammer. He never dislodged a brick. He never rammed a door. He never pried loose a stone. That shaking, and that quaking, and that rumbling, and that tumbling—God did that. God will do that for you. I want to talk for just a moment about your Jericho.
Your Jericho is your anger. Your Jericho is your bitterness. Your Jericho is your fear. Your Jericho is your insecurity about the future, your guilt about the past, your negativity, your anxiety, your proclivity to criticize, over-analyze or compartmentalize. Your Jericho is any attitude or mindset that keeps you out of your Promised Land. It keeps you out of joy, or peace, or rest. Your Jericho stands between you and your glory days. It’s like an ogre on the bridge of spiritual progress—it mocks you / it challenges you—but it must be moved. To enter the Promised Land, you must face your Jericho.
Such was the case for Joshua and the Israelites. You remember the story of Joshua—remember the context. They had just spent 40 years in the wilderness—they were out of Egypt—but as the old saying goes, “Egypt was not out of them.” They were free from Pharaoh; but in the wilderness, they were not free from fear.
But sometime around 1400 B.C., God spoke, and Joshua listened, and the people believed. A new era began. The Jordan River opened up, and the Jericho walls fell down, and the sun stood still, and the kings of Canaan were forced into early retirement. For seven years, the Hebrew people were unstoppable—seven years, they went undefeated. Thirty-one kings surrendered their crowns—seven years.
Evil was booted / hope rebooted. By the end of the campaign, the homeless wanderers were hope-filled farmsteaders. They built farms and villages and started life again. These were the glory days of ancient Israel. Maybe you could use some glory days.
I think the book of Joshua is in the Bible to help followers of God come out of the wilderness and enter a season of spiritual victory in their lives. It is a remarkable book with remarkable stories that tell us how to enter in to a new season of promise and victory. Of course, the most famous story in the Book of Joshua is the story of the walls of Jericho.
Just two quick lessons from this story—I know you’re very familiar with it—but here’s how it begins:
“And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See I have given Jericho into your hand, its king and the mighty men of valor [Joshua 6:2].” God never told Joshua, “Now go and conquer Jericho,”—he told Joshua, “I have given Jericho to you.” He did not say, “Joshua, go and take the city,”—he said, “Joshua go and receive the city that I am giving to you.” Joshua did not go forth hoping to win. He knew that God had already won—won. He did not fight for victory, he fought from victory. You can do the same. You can fight from victory, not for victory. This may be a new thought—so bear with me. What God said to Joshua, God has said to you.
Remember who you are. You’re not just anybody. You are a co-heir with Christ. Every attribute of Jesus Christ is at your disposal. The word, “inheritance,” appears in the Book of Joshua 60 times—5 times, there is the direct command, “Go and receive your inheritance.” They chose to live out of their inheritance instead of out of their circumstance. They believed that they had inherited the Promised Land. It was simply theirs to be received—not to be conquered—but theirs to be received.
You are a co-heir with Christ. Think about what this means. Every spiritual blessing available to Christ is available to you. You are seated with Christ in the heavens right now.
You’re not just a normal person. You may look a normal person to the guy who sees you walking through a shopping mall; but when heaven sees you, heaven perks up and says: “Oh there goes a child of God—a person in whom the Almighty God dwells—an heir of the throne of God.” Yes, a co-heir with Christ.
I want to encourage you to change your mindset. Live like an heir of Christ. Things are different, here in the Promised Land—things are different. There’s a passage in the Book of Psalms [16:6]—it says: “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. Yes, I have a good inheritance.” So, live out of that promise.
Principle number two out of this story is: Fight with God’s weapons. The reason we love this story, and we’re so fascinated by it, is because we never see a spear, we never see a catapult, we never see a hammer; and yet we see walls fall down.
Don’t you know that, when Joshua went back to his soldiers and said, “We’re about to take Jericho,” they went and they began pulling out their swords and began pulling out their spears? They began plotting the attack. They finally said: “Joshua, how are we going to do it? How are we going to see these walls come down?”
Joshua’s response was this [Joshua 6:6]: “…’Take up the ark of the covenant, let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.’” He tells the priests to blow the trumpets continually. He tells soldiers to go in front and behind the priests. He tells them to walk around the city once a day. As for everybody else, he tells them [Joshua 6:10]: “…’You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, “Shout!” Then you shall shout!’”
No weapon / no war cry—we just put God in the center and walk around the city.
Now what kind of warfare is this? This is spiritual warfare. Every battle, ultimately, is a spiritual battle. Every conflict, ultimately, is a conflict between God and His children and Satan and his forces. Our battle is not against flesh and blood. For that reason, the Apostle Paul urges us to be able to stand against the “wiles of the devil,”—
Ephesians 6:11—“the wiles of the devil”—the word there means the methods of the devil.
Yes, there is a devil / yes, this evil force—the devil is prowling, looking for those whom he might devour [1 Peter 5:8].
He has wiles, he has methods, he has plots, and he has plans. Consequently, we need a spiritual strategy. This spiritual strategy involves spiritual weaponry. The Apostle Paul said, “Though we walk in the flesh, we do no war according to the flesh… [2 Corinthians 10:3].” The weapons of our warfare are not carnal; but they are mighty in God for pulling down what?—strongholds / strongholds. What was Jericho? It was a stronghold—mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.
Just as Jericho was a stronghold in Canaan, we have strongholds in our lives. The apostle tells us that a stronghold is a mindset / an attitude—he said, “…the weapons of warfare… are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…[2 Corinthians 10:4-5].”
Any lofty philosophy that would cast itself against the knowledge of God is a stronghold. I like to call a stronghold a premise that stands against the promise of God—it’s a mental premise, it’s a belief, it is a belief system that stands against the promises of God.
A stronghold might sound like this: “God could never forgive me,”—that’s a stronghold / a stronghold of guilt. “I could never forgive that person,”—that’s a stronghold of resentment. “Bad things always happen to me,”—that’s a stronghold / a stronghold of self-pity. “I have to be in charge,”—that’s a stronghold / a stronghold of pride. “I don’t deserve to be loved,”—that’s the stronghold of rejection. We have these strongholds that come into our thought process. They settle over our lives like a dark weather pattern.
They block the light—they defy the promises of God and the power of Scripture.
How do we attack these strongholds? Well the apostle says we do so with divine weapons. We have weapons that have “divine power to demolish strongholds.” The strongholds you inherited from your parents don’t have to be passed down to your children. Your assignment can be: “In my generation, we’re going to demolish those strongholds so that what I was taught is not taught to my children. I’m leaning into God and I’m standing on promises. I’m not buying into the false premises.”
How does that happen? Well, you’d think it would happen through logic, or study, or intellectual capacity. I think that’s all part of it, just as you would think that Jericho would fall down because the weapons were strong and the swords were polished—
—that was part of it, later. But first, come the divine weapons of worship and prayer. That’s what we see here in the Jericho story—they put God right in the center. Remember, the ark of the covenant symbolized what?—the presence of the living God. So the children of Israel were told to put priests out in the front / priests in the back, but soldiers and soldiers, but put the ark of the covenant right in the middle—place God right in the center.
We begin bringing down strongholds as we place God right in the center of our marriages, the center of our worship, the center of our church, the center of our commute, the center of our decisions. We use the mighty weapons and any weapon we can to bring God into the center—
—songs, hymns, Scripture memorization, petitions. We turn the TV off more and open the Bible up more. We remember the promises of Jesus, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age [Matthew 28:20].” We recite verses over, and over, and over in our heads. We let the Word of God become that living source of strength within us. The minute we sense those strongholds begin to rise up, we defy them again with prayer, and praise, and the Word of God—the three weapons of spiritual warfare.
I think this is fun—we blast the ram’s horn. It’s interesting that the children of Israel were told to blast the ram’s horn as they walked around the city of Jericho. There were two horns in ancient Israel—there was the silver trumpet and the ram’s horn. The silver trumpet was called to assemble the people. Well, the people were already assembled—they didn’t need the silver trumpet. The ram’s horn was used to celebrate and signify the sovereign victories of God.
The ram’s horn begins appearing in Scripture when Abraham offered his son Isaac and God interrupted the sacrifice; and what appeared in the thicket but a ram. The ram’s horn came to symbolize the provision of God. So the children of Israel were told to go into this stronghold and just blast the provision of God—blast the ram's horn and announce: “God has provided! God has provided! God has provided!”
Now, you’re probably not going to take a ram’s horn into your house tonight and start blowing it, although, if you want to, you can. But you can rehearse promises of Scripture like: “The Lord is with me and He will not leave me [Deuteronomy 31:6].” “It is finished! [John 19:30]”—Jesus said. “If God is for us, who can be against us? [Romans 8:31]” These are ram’s horn declarations of faith. The devil cannot stand them and cannot stand in the presence of them. So, blast your ram’s horn—sing songs of redemption, declare the Scriptures of triumph, marinate your mind on the good things of Jesus.
I’ve got to wrap this up—but just remember how this story ends: “…on the seventh day they rose early about the dawning of the day and they marched around the city seven times in the same manner. And the seventh time it appeared and when the priests blew the trumpets Joshua said to the people, ‘Shout! For the Lord has given you the city.’…And so the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets; and it happened that, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the walls fell down flat. Then the people took the city... [Joshua 6:15-16, 20]” It’s interesting that the very walls that kept them out became stepping stones upon which they could climb.
I believe a great shaking is coming for our world in which God will give a shout and the world as we know it will crumble. There will be a great restoration. There will be a new day. We will see the inauguration of a new kingdom. We’ll witness the crowning of the one and only true King of the universe.
Until then, may we step forward, as children of God—believing the promises / fighting the spiritual battle—and see our Jericho walls come down. Amen?
Bob: That is our friend, Max Lucado, speaking to the FamilyLife staff recently about the battles that are in front of us and the victory that is ahead for us. Kind of makes me want that day to come quickly.
Dennis: I’m ready for it. Paul wrote about it in 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 4, [verses 16-17]—the coming of Jesus Christ—it says: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with a voice of an archangel, with the sound of the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive who are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”
Now listen to this [verse 18]: “Therefore encourage one another with these words.” Bob, I do not think we talk enough today. In fact, this is—this is actually me standing on Barbara’s soapbox. She believes we need to be talking more about the return of Jesus Christ and encouraging one another with those words. These are challenging days to make a marriage work / raise kids—go the distance in your own faith. I think we need to be reminded: “He came, and He’s coming back again.”
Bob: Yes. These are challenging days, but they can also be glory days. That’s what Max is reminding us of. That’s the title of his new book, about the life of Joshua, called Glory Days. It’s a book we have in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. You can go to our website, which is FmailyLifeToday.com.
Click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER.” You’ll see information right there about the book, Glory Days, by Max Lucado. You can order it from us, online. Or if it’s easier, you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY and order by phone. So again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link that says, “GO DEEPER,” and order online. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. That’s 1-800-358-6329—1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.” The book, again, is called Glory Days; and it’s by Max Lucado.
You know, I think about the challenging times that we’re in. I am certainly grateful that we have friends/allies in what we are doing, here at a FamilyLife—people who share the vision that we have to see homes become godly homes. We believe those kinds of families can change the world, one home at a time.
Our desire, here at FamilyLife Today, is to provide you with practical biblical help and hope for your marriage and family every day on our radio program. So, “Thanks,” to those of you who help make all of this possible through your donations. We appreciate your support of the ministry.
If you can help with a donation today, we’d like to say, “Thank you,” by sending you a unique resource that Barbara Rainey has developed called “Untie Your Story.” This is designed to promote conversation around the dinner table, either at a special meal or for a regular family dinner. These are napkin ties that have questions on them. Those questions are conversation-starters for your family.
The “Untie Your Story” resource is our thank-you gift when you support the ministry today with a donation. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link in the upper right-hand corner of the screen that says, “I care,” to make an online donation; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make your donation over the phone.
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Now, tomorrow, speaking of battles and fighting, we’re going to talk to some couples who are on the frontlines of working with men and women in the military. We’ll hear what they’re doing to help strengthen military marriages and families. Hope you can be with us for that conversation.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. See you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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