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Joshua 5:13-6:21


Intro: After forty long years Israel is finally ready to begin the process of claiming the Promised Land. The very first city they face is the walled city of Jericho.  In its day, Jericho was a formidable fortress city.  Scholars tell us that this city was surrounded by two great stone walls.  The outer wall was twenty feet tall and six feet wide.  The inner wall was thirty feet tall and twelve feet wide.  These two walls were separated by a fifteen foot wide, guarded walkway.  The city only covered about nine acres, but it must have looked like an impossible city to conquer to people who fought with only spears, swords and arrows.

      Jericho was a big hindrance to Israel.  It stood as an obstacle between them and the rest of the Promised Land.  Before they could go deeper into the land the Lord had given to them, Jericho had to be defeated. Our text is all about how Jericho was defeated and those impossible walls were brought crashing down.

      We may wonder what a battle that was fought more than three thousand years ago has to do with us today.  The fact is the battle that was fought over the city of Jericho has much that it can teach us about our own walk with the Lord.

      You see, before Jericho could be defeated, the walls that surrounded it had to come down.  Israel could not get into the city.  They needed those walls torn down!  Israel could go no farther until Jericho was destroyed.  They needed those walls torn down!  That city stood before them as a barrier between them and God’s best for them.  If they were going to get all that God had for them, those wall had to be torn down!

      You might not even realize it today, but many of us have walls in your own lives.  These walls stand between us and our receiving God’s best for our lives. 

  • It might be some besetting sin that stands between you and God’s best.
  • It might be some old hurt that has grown into a root of bitterness and now it stands as a barrier between you and all that God wants you to have. 
  • It might be a cold and indifferent spirit that has invaded your life and has erected a wall between you and God’s best for you. 
  • It might be a bad attitude; an unforgiving spirit; pride; anger; or something from your past. 
  • But, whatever it is, it stands before you today and it keeps you from going deeper with God. That wall must come down if you are going to walk forward into God’s best!
  • It might even be some wall that you have constructed that keeps you from coming to Jesus for salvation.  That wall must come down if you want to be saved!

      The good news is, the walls in our life can be brought down and these verses tell us how to make that happen. I want to show you the steps that must be taken if you want to see the walls in your life fall.  I want to preach about Tearing Down The Walls!



(Ill. Joshua is doing reconnaissance of the city of Jericho.  He is alone and he is busy trying to devise a plan to overcome the walls that surround the town.  No doubt, he is confused and concerned and he has no idea about what he needs to do.  Then, Joshua meets a man who is standing with his sword drawn in his hand.  Joshua confronts this man and asks him to declare whether he is friend or foe.  The stranger responds not by answering Joshua’s question, but by identifying Himself as “The Lord of Hosts.”  This is the battle name of the God of Israel!  Joshua realizes that this is no ordinary meeting.  This is a manifestation of God, and He has come ready for battle. Joshua’s reaction to the presence of the Lord is worthy of note and he reveals to us how we should respond when we are confronting the walled off areas of our own lives.)

A.  5:14a  We Must Recognize His Authority – Joshua reacts by falling on his face and offering worship to the Lord.  He understood the truth that he may have been the commander of Israel’s armies; but he was standing face to face with the Commander-in-chief!  In other words, Joshua humbled himself in the presence of the Lord and clearly demonstrated that he understood just Who was really in charge!

            The first step in achieving victory in our lives and in seeing the walls in our lives come down is to come to the place where we understand Who is really in charge.  Friend, neither you nor I are truly in command of our lives.  There is an ultimate authority and His name is God!  He expects His people to recognize His authority and to bow before Him in totally surrender and humility – James 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:5.

            Who is calling the shots in your life? Are you in the driver’s seat?  Do you determine where you go, what you do and how you live?  Or, can you honestly say, “For me to live is Christ”?  If you want the walls to come down, you must recognize His authority!

B. 5:14b  We Must Respect His Authority – Joshua, the battle hardened General, responded to the authority of the Lord by falling at his feet and bowing before Him.  This was a position of absolute vulnerability and surrender.  Joshua placed himself in a position of helplessness before the Lord.  It is as if Joshua was saying, “Lord, I am Your servant.  Do with me what You will.  Use me, bless me,  or kill me.  I am Yours!”

            Folks, that is what the Lord wants from us!  He wants us to place our all in His hands and just trust Him to do what is best in our lives. He is looking for people who will quit trying to fight their own battles and win their own victories.  God is looking for people who will sell out totally to Him and let Him have everything.  Does that describe you?  Sadly, it does not describe most of us does it?  We like to be in control.  We like to call the shots.  We like to be the boss, and it shows!  It shows in defeat; in lack of peace and joy; in our being less than we could be for the Lord.

            If we truly want the walls in our lives torn down, then we must come to the place where we literally give up; place our lives in His hands and trust Him to do with us what He will.  You may not like the sound of that, but it is an essential step in obtaining true victory!  By the way, God is not out to hurt you, Jer. 29:11.  Whatever He decides to do in your life will always be for your good, Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17.

C.  5:15  We Must Rest In His Authority – Then, we see Joshua as he removes his shoe and hands it over to the Lord.  That is an Old Testament way of saying “I can’t do this, but you can!” (Ill. Ruth 4:1-12) Joshua has just scrapped his plans!  He has turned over the reigns of the army of Israel to the Commander-in-chief.  He does not know what the Lord is going to do, but he trusts the Lord to do right, Gen. 18:25.  So, Joshua has reached a place of total and absolute surrender.  He has given up on his plans, his abilities and his strength.  He is merely resting and looking to God for any victories that come.

            That is the secret to seeing your walls fall down.  You must come to the place where your all is at His feet; you have stopped your struggling and you are simply resting in His ability and in His authority.

            Are you there? Have you come to that place in your life where you have surrendered to the Lord and His will for your life?  Have you symbolically taken off your shoe and said, “Lord, here I am.  I need help and I can’t do the things that need to be done.  But, I know you can.  So, I stop my fighting!  I surrender my plans!  I relinquish my will!  All that I have and all that I am I yield to you.  Do with me as you please.  I am just going to rest in Your authority and trust you to do what is right”?

            That is a hard place to reach, but it is essential to seeing your walls fall down that you get there.  God is looking for people who will lose their lives for His sake, Matt. 16:24-25.


(Ill. As soon as Joshua surrenders himself to the will of the Lord, God tells him how to go about defeating the walled city of Jericho.  The Lord’s plan is a bit unconventional, but in the end, it was absolutely successful.  Let’s examine this plan because it teaches us something about God’s plan to tear down the walls in our lives.)

A.  6:1-2  It Is A Simple Plan – For Joshua and Israel the plan boiled down to one simple word: faith.  God is telling Joshua, “Just trust Me!  Those walls might be tall and they might be thick, but I have already given you the city.  In fact, Joshua, the people behind those walls already know what you haven’t figured out yet!  They know they are defeated (6:1; 2:9-14) and you will know it too in a few days.  Just trust Me!” 

            You see, God did not bring Israel out of Egypt just so they could fall at Jericho!  He saved them to walk in victory in Canaan.  The same is true in your life and mine.  God did not save us so that we could live every day of our lives in defeat.  He saved us to walk in victory, 1 Cor. 15:57!  He is telling us to do the same thing that He was telling Israel: “Just trust Me!”  If you want the victory over the walls that have been erected in your life, then that victory will be found in following God’s plan.  And God’s plan is a simple plan! Here is His plan as simply as I can give it to you:

·        If you are lost – Acts 16:31

·        If you are saved – Mark 9:23; Mark 11:22; Heb. 11:6; Heb. 11:1

·        God’s plan for victory, regardless of the wall you need to see fall in your life is as simple as this, “Just trust Him!”  Ill. Just as Israel was to place the tangible symbol of God’s presence, the Ark of the Covenant, at the head of their march around Jericho, the first step to victory is to place God first.

B.  6:3-20a  It Is A Strange Plan – As the Lord details this plan to Joshua, it must have sounded strange to that old soldier’s ears.  There was no talk of armor or armaments.  There was no talk of soldiers, swords or spears.  There was no talk of sieges, of strategies or of secret weapons.  God’s plan involved the Ark of the Covenant; priests; trumpets and people.  God said, “Joshua, take the Ark, have seven priests blowing seven ram’s horn trumpets go before it and have them blow those trumpets.  Then, have the rest of the people follow along behind.  Don’t say a word.  Don’t shout.  Don’t taunt the people of the city.  Don’t even speak!  Just walk.  Walk once around that city every day for six and then do it seven times on the seventh day.  When you finish that last lap, stop and shout the victory and the walls will fall down flat.”

            Now, I don’t care who you are, that is a strange plan!  From a human standpoint it makes no sense.  From a military standpoint, it makes no sense.  From a logical standpoint, it makes no sense.  Yet, it is what God said to do!  Strange plans call for strong faith! Imagine the people of Jericho as the people of Israel marched around and around the city.  Imagine the people of Israel and what they endured as they marched: ridicule, danger, and humiliation.

            God’s plan boils down to this: walking.  They were to walk in the right order; in the right path; for the right period of time; and they were promised the victory.  This plan involved no input from the people; all they had to do was walk.  Now, to carry out this strange plan required great discipline on the part of these people.  God just wanted them to settle in and do it His way.

            By the way, God’s plan for His children is a bit strange also.  All He asks us to do is nothing!  The secret to living the successful Christian life is this: you can’t do it! It is not about what you can do, but it is all about what He can do.  It is not about trying and failing.  It is all about learning to abide in Jesus, and in drawing one’s strength from Him, John 15:1-8, Gal. 2:20.  The Christian life can be condensed into that one word: abiding.  If a believer can just learn to abide in Jesus; the walls in his life will come crashing down!  If we can just learn to go with God and abide in Jesus, even when life makes no sense at all, we will see Him overcome the walls we have in our lives.  What I am referring to is a simple, disciplined walk that looks to God by faith.  By the way, when you walk by faith, your life is bound to raise a few eyebrows.  Don’t let it get to you.  Just keep walking and the Lord will bless.

C.  6:20b-21  It Is A Successful Plan – When they did things God’s way, He gave them the victory.  They marched around that city, blowing those trumpets for six days and nothing happened.  On that seventh day that did it seven times and nothing happened.  Then, they lifted their voices in a victorious shout and the walls fell flat.  They were able to enter the city and claim the victory God had given them.  His way worked!

            Learning to walk in faith and learning to follow the Lord, even when His plan makes no sense, will always result in victory for the child of God!  Do you want to see those walls in your life come down?  Do you want to see those things that have hindered you in your walk with the Lord gone from your life?  If you do, the way to see that happen is to determine today to stop fighting your way and surrender to God’s way.


(Ill. When the walls came down, Israel was able to go into the city and defeat it for the glory of God.  They saw the walls fall down and they enjoyed the victory.  But, before the day was finished, they had to finish what the Lord had begun.  These verses tell us how to finish the right way, after the Lord flattens the walls in our lives.)

A.  Some Things Must Be Claimed – God gave Israel absolute victory over the city of Jericho. All they had to do was enter the city and claim what He had already given them.

            The fact of the matter is this: many people never enjoy real victory over the things that hold them back.  But, God has given us absolute victory in Jesus.  All we really have to do to enjoy that victory is claim it by faith.  Now, I am not promoting some “name it can claim it” kind of theology.  I am telling you that there really is “Victory In Jesus” and you can have it, enjoy and live it all the time if you want to! (Ill. 1 Cor. 15:57; 1 John 5:4-5.) Do you want that victory in your life today?  It is in Jesus and it is available by faith!

B.  Some Things Must Be Conquered – When Israel entered Jericho, they killed every single person in that city.  Nothing associated with Jericho could be allowed to live.  You see, the problem with Jericho was not the city itself.  The problem there was the people in the city.  They had to be destroyed or their ways would have corrupted the children of Israel.

            The same is true in your life and mine.  When the Lord does give you victory and those walls come falling down in your life; you must rise up and put away everything that is associated with your Jericho. 

    • Maybe someone needs to be forgiven. 
    • Maybe you will need to develop a new circle of friends. 
    • Maybe you will need to change the way to go to and from work. 
    • Maybe you need to change the kind of TV you watch or books you read. 
    • When God gives you the victory in your life, take whatever steps are necessary to see that the problem in your life is totally conquered. 
    • That is the path to lasting victory. (Ill. 1 Cor. 15:33; 1 Cor. 5:6)


Conc:  I read about a massive oak tree. A vine had grown up along its trunk. The vine started small--nothing to bother about. But over the years the vine had gotten taller and taller. After many years, the entire lower half of the tree was covered by the vine's creepers. The mass of tiny feelers was so thick that the tree looked as though it had innumerable birds' nests in it.

      Now the great tree was in serious danger. This huge, solid oak was quite literally being taken over; the life was being squeezed from it. But the gardeners in that park had seen the danger. They had taken a saw and severed the trunk of the vine--one neat cut across the middle. The tangled mass of the vine's branches still clung to the oak, but the vine was now dead. That would gradually become plain as weeks passed and the creepers began to die and fall away from the tree.

      How easy it is for sin and other seemingly little things, things which begins so small and seemingly insignificant, to grow until they have a strangle hold on our lives. And yet, Christ's death has cut the power of sin and of anything else that would entangle itself around our lives seeking to choke us out.   

      What kind of vines do you have in your life?  What kind of entanglements are choking out your spiritual life today?  What kind of walls are standing between you and your going deeper with the Lord?  Whether or not any one will admit it, many in this very room have walls of all sorts in their lives.  These walls are hindering your walk with the Lord.  In some cases, these walls are keeping you away from the Lord altogether.  Today would be a good day to bring those things to the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is still leveling Jericho’s and bringing down the seemingly impossible walls in our lives.

      What is keeping you from going deeper with the Lord?  Is it worth it? Wouldn’t you like to get past that thing so you can go a little farther with the Lord?  If so, you can begin the process right now.  Fall at the right feet; follow the right path and finish the right way.  Do that and you will see the walls in your life obliterated and you will enjoy the victory that only Jesus can give.  If you want Him and what He can give, He is available.

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