Joshua 6: 1-20 is the description of the defeat at Jericho by Israel. Jericho was the key city for the Israelites to begin taking the promised land of Canaan. There was no other way into Canaan except through this city. Jericho could not be bypassed, gone around, or forgotten. It had to be conquered.
The problem was, Jericho stood as a monument to 40 years of fear for this generation of Israelites. One year after coming out of Egypt, they had sent 12 spies into Canaan from the border city of Kadesh-barnea.
Only two spies, Joshua and Caleb, came back with the good report that here was a land filled with abundance, and God would give it into their hands. The other 10 reported that every evil could be found in Jericho: Giants, thick walls, and large, well,trained armies were especially concentrated in this border city.
For the following reasons, all of Israel’s fears about their ability to take Cannan would be destroyed when the city of Jericho fell:
1. Jericho was a Gateway City: It was the doorway into Cannan as well as a doorway out of the wilderness. I want you to see exactly what that represents to us in our Christian life.
I have heard the wilderness described as “the land of lack” when used as an analogy for the Christian walk. This is not true! Egypt was the land of lack, and Satan ruled over it. Once we are born again (coming through the Red Sea on dry land is a type of salvation), God never brings us into a land of lack!
The wilderness is “the land of just enough.” It is the place where God supplies all of our needs, where He gave manna to the children of Israel; but only enough for each day. When the people tried to collect more, it spoiled.
God wanted to lead them into a land of abundance, which was Canaan. He described the new land as a place where the Israelites would eat “bread without scarceness” and “not lack any thing in it” (Deuteronomy 8:9). Jericho was in the way.
How to Leave the “Land of Lack”
Would you like to move out of “the land of just enough”? Would you like to leave a daily life of hand-to-mouth, paycheck-to-paycheck existence, where only your needs were supplied? Would you like to move into “the land of abundance”? Then Jericho must be conquered!
2. Taking Jericho required preparation: Before they took the city, God commanded the men of Israel who had not been circumcised in the wilderness to be circumcised (Joshua 5:2). This act represented the judgment and removal of the flesh, which would hinder the blessings the families would receive.
In moving into prosperity - the land of abundance - we must first judge the flesh, would desire to use all of the blessings selfishly. Therefore, our first priority in moving into greater blessings is to use our money for the Gospel. God’s kingdom must remain our highest priority. (See Deuteronomy 8:18 and Matthew 6:33).
After the flesh was dealt with, God directed Joshua to have the people march around the city of Jericho every day for six days in complete silence. Each day, they confronted their fears and excuses as they faced the city walls and then returned to their camp, where they meditated on God’s promise that the city would be theirs. Every day for six days they met their fears and excuses with God’s word.
On the seventh day, fear was gone. At God’s command, they marched around Jericho seven times and then shouted in faith. They saw God perform a miracle as the walls crashed to the ground in front of them! The land of abundance now lay before them!
God had said the land already belonged to them, and everywhere they placed their feet was theirs by inheritance. The Canaanites were trespassers on the land given to Israel by God. Although the land was already given to them , Israel had to possess it and drive out the inhabitants. Their feet had to step out on God’s promises.
Like Israel, abundance is already ours, but we must deal with our fears and excuses, step out in faith, and watch our walls fall. Then we can leave the wilderness of “just enough” and watch God begin to meet the desires of our hearts beyond our wildest dreams!
3. Jericho belonged to the Lord: In Joshua 6:19, God told the children of Israel that Jericho belonged to Him, and all the possessions in the city belonged in the treasury of the Lord.
After Jericho, all the possessions of the other cities they conquered could be taken by the people, but Jericho was the firstfruits of the land of Canaan, and its spoils belonged to the Lord. The people would give the riches and wealth of Jericho to the Lord as an act of worship and gratitude to Him.
What is Jericho?
Jericho represents the tithe, the firstfruits of all our financial increase. God tells us, “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Proverbs 3:9-10). The tithe, the firstfruits, is the gateway out of the land of “just enough” and the gateway into “the land of abundance.”
The fear of the tithe has to be conquered. We cannot go around the tithe or ignore it, because we cannot enter the land of abundance any other way.
However, two of the tribes of Israel decided not to go into the land, because it seemed much more comfortable on the wilderness side of Jordan. How sad that, in the same way, many Christians today are accepting and settling for less than God has for them by not tithing.
The tithe, like Jericho, is our test. It is our place to really come to grips with our flesh, our fears, and our excuses in the light of God’s promises. Do we believe Him or not? Many have passed over and are calling back to us, “Come on in! The land of abundance is wonderful!!” What God has done for others is also true for you, too. He is not a respecter of persons.
How long will you stand at Jordan and look across? How long will you halt between two opinions? I encourage you to conquer Jericho by giving the firstfruits of your income to the Lord, joining many others who are already prospering in the land of abundance!