Yesterday I mentioned that we would visit with Joshua today. I sort of copped out on the end of the story of Gideon. You have to know how it all turned out, before I tell you the really cool story about Joshua. Gideon had gone from an arm of 32,000 men to 300. God told Gideon to get rid of men who were afraid (aka worried). That was one way of weeding out the worriers. So the leftover men went into battle with trumpets and jars. I would have been worried – especially if I were the wife or child of a soldier. I would have been objecting – loudly! But the soldiers – well the soldiers, soldiered on. They burst into the warzone broke the jars, sounded the trumpets and shouted, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” The opponents got scared, confused, and fled. Just like that …. Case closed. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that those victorious soldiers were praying through. Seriously, how could they not?
So what about Joshua? There’s lots to tell about Joshua, but for today, let’s talk about an act of faith and how he and his army must have had plenty to worry about, but they literally stepped out on faith and dispelled the worry wart out of themselves. If you want to read the whole story, it’s in Joshua 6:1-20. Let me quickly summarize what happened. So in the end the city of Jericho was destructed, but how did it happen? We have a burly army of macho men suited up for battle. Swords, shields, pepper spray – well, probably not the pepper spray, but they had the armor. So their standing around waiting for the battle cry and Joshua says “Hang tight guys. God has a plan. It’s kinda weird so I need to go back and check with him, but God says we aren’t going to need any weapons for this one.” OK – confused looks from the soldiers ready for battle. Huh? That’s not possible. Some of the guys had probably scoured the internet for the best deal on a new sword all sharpened up for the occasion, and now they had to leave it at home.
Joshua went back into conversation with God who confirmed the action plan. “Look Joshua. You have to trust me [God} on this. Give each of your guys a trumpet. Yes, there’s a line item in the budget. Stop worrying. Oh! And Joshua, here’s the game plan.” Can you imagine the looks, the speculation, the shock even when Joshua came back to his men and laid it out? “Guys, you each get a trumpet. I hope your boots are in good shape because here’s what we’re gonna do. God says to march around Jericho once a day for six days. Then on the seventh day, march around it seven times. And the walls are just going to fall down. [blank stares from the men] Listen, guys. God told me himself and we have to do as God commands. And we have to spread this around. Post it on Facebook and Twitter because we want everyone involved in the final round. We will shout to the Lord and the walls are going to fall flat as a pancake.”
And they did! Now, I believe there was a lot of worry started there. But I just as firmly believe that when worry started, it had no chance to germinate and take root because the army and the people prayed it away. And I also believe they thanked God for his provision along the way. God is the same today as he was then. Hebrew 12:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Joshua had no way of seeing the future. And Joshua didn’t visibly see God. But he prayed and had conversations with him.
This scripture doesn’t talk about Gideon or Joshua, but it has direction for our day. Daniel 2:20-23 “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. 21 He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. 22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. 23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
So what about this strategic placement of worry in acts of faith. You’re kidding, right? There is no place for worry when you’re acting out of faith.