By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, etc. Let us endeavor to exhibit the principal features of this example of the exercise of faith.
I. FAITH IN THE DIVINE WORD OF DIRECTION AND PROMISE, Directions were given by the Lord to Joshua for the taking of Jericho, with the promise that on their fulfillment the wails of that city should fall to the ground (Joshua 6:2-5). This communication Joshua conveyed to the people; and they believed it, they received it as a message from God. They exercised faith
(1) in his righteous authority over them;
(2) in his power to fulfill his promises; and
(3) in his fidelity to his word.
In these respects their faith is exemplary; for his authority is supreme, his power is almighty, and his faithfulness infinite.
III. FAITH IN THE DIVINE WORD WHEN THERE WAS NO NECESSARY RELATION BETWEEN THE DIRECTIONS GIVEN AND THE RESULT PROMISED. Generally speaking, in the Divine arrangements the means ordained are wisely adapted to accomplish the ends for which they are employed. But it is quite the opposite in the case now before us. The course of action prescribed and the consequence promised cannot possibly be regarded as cause and effect. The marching round the city, the blowing of rams' horns, and the uttering of great shouts, cannot by any stretch of imagination be looked upon even as means for leveling strong city walls to the ground. Such proceedings have no necessary relation with such a result. If related at all, the relation is altogether arbitrary. The things enjoined upon the Israelites were simply conditions with which they were to comply - tests of faith and obedience; and the Lord guaranteed a certain result upon the fulfillment of the conditions. And without raising any objections or proposing any questions they believed his word.
"Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why." And if we are assured of his will in any matter, we should follow it irrespective of appearances and of probabilities as they present themselves to our minds. When he commands, it is ours to obey. When he promises, it is ours to accept the promise, leaving the method of its fulfillment to him.
III. FAITH MANIFESTED IN PRACTICAL OBEDIENCE. The Israelites proved the reality of their faith in the Divine communication by complying with its requirements. "It came to pass, when Joshua had spoken to the people, that the seven priests," etc. (Joshua 6:8-20). Genuine faith always leads to a course of conduct in harmony with its own character (cf. James 2:14-26).
IV. FAITH LEADING TO PERSEVERING OBEDIENCE EVEN WHEN NO APPARENT EFFECT WAS PRODUCED BY THEIR ACTION. The Israelites went round the city as they were directed, "but not a brick of the walls fell; and they went round a second time, and a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth time, and still all the bricks were there, firmly cemented, and the walls stood. The defenders of Jericho would look on those wonderful walkers, and one can imagine them saying, 'It is a new mode of assault you are adopting. We wonder how long you will have to walk before the walls fall; Jericho will stand for a long time if it is to be taken by walking.' Nevertheless, the Israelites held in their hands the promise, and they felt it in their hearts," and they persevered in their obedience notwithstanding the utter absence of any sign of success. They completed the prescribed process, and then their obedience was rewarded with success. And in our case, faith and obedience must be persistent, though our discouragements be great. We are called to be "imitators of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." "Ye have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise" (cf. Matthew 10:22; Romans 2:7; Revelation 2:10).
V. FAITH COMPLETELY VINDICATED BY GOD. "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down." When the Israelites had completely carried out the directions which the Lord had given them, "the wall fell down fiat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city." Thus the result fully justified their confidence and their conduct. And no one ever trusted God in vain. Faith, resting upon God's word or character, honors him and gratifies him; and he will not, he cannot, fail the soul that trusts him. If we honor him with our hearty confidence, he will honor us with his glorious salvation. - W.J.
Parallel VersesKJV: By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.