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The proven faith

So Joshua called together the priests and said, “Take up the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, and assign seven priests to walk in front of it, each carrying a ram’s horn.” Then he gave orders to the people: “March around the town, and the armed men will lead the way in front of the Ark of the Lord.” After Joshua spoke to the people, the seven priests with the rams’ horns started marching in the presence of the Lord, blowing the horns as they marched. And the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant followed behind them. Some of the armed men marched in front of the priests with the horns and some behind the Ark, with the priests continually blowing the horns. “Do not shout; do not even talk,” Joshua commanded. “Not a single word from any of you until I tell you to shout. Then shout!” So the Ark of the Lord was carried around the town once that day, and then everyone returned to spend the night in the camp. Joshua 6:6-11 NLT

Joshua laid out the plan of conquest of Jericho; first to the priests carrying the Ark of the Lord, then to the people of Israel. Although the strategy seemed to be complete nonsense, there is no record of the people questioning it or complaining about it. The people of Israel have been given reasons to believe God and to trust His ways. The Lord had opened the Red Sea and destroyed the Egyptian army. After the exodus, God cared for His people in the wilderness. Then by His mighty power, God opened the Jordan River and brought His people safely into the Promised Land. What else do they need to do but trust to God’s presence and His Word! This is why this generation whom Joshua was leading learned from the grumbling, unbelieving generation that had preceded them. The obedience of the people was due to their faith in the word of God. Faith is believing God even when what He tells us seems nonsensical to do so. The Ark of the Lord was mentioned several times not only in this text but in the previous chapters (see Joshua 3 & 4). It is important for the people of Israel to see the presence of God was with them symbolized by the Ark of the Lord. They could march around Jericho until they all get spent and tired and the priests blow the trumpets until they all run out of air; but without the presence of God in their midst, there will be no victory. It is only by having faith in God and trust in His plan that success is possible. “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5).


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