Partnering with God to live a victorious life
Part Two: Living God’s Word – Applying Joshua 6 to everyday life
Last week, we finished an extended Part One of our Bible commentary on Joshua 6. We discovered how the Israelites penetrated the impregnable walls of the city of Jericho and thereby took over the city from the hands of their enemies, the Canaanites (Joshua 6: 20).
Although they were outmatched in military experience and weaponry, the Israelites had an ace up their sleeves that assured them victory before the battle had even begun – the blessings and favor of God.
The Israelites knew that God had promised them the land of Canaan as part of their inheritance. However, they also knew that the land was occupied by their enemies, who owned the land. In order to come into the fulfillment of the plans that God had laid out for them, they needed to trust God, obey, have faith, and praise Him before they saw victory.
Now that we have studied Joshua 6, let us explore how we can take the lessons of this phenomenal Bible chapter and apply them to live a victorious life full of faith, praise, and fellowship with God.
Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash
See with the eyes of faith
“For we walk by faith, not by sight”
Before the Israelites approached the formidable walls of Jericho, the Bible states that Joshua, the leader of the Israelites, was by the city (Joshua 5:13).
Looking over the arid plains to the formidable fortress walls of Jericho, one wonders what Joshua was thinking. For to the human eyes, Jericho could not be compromised – especially not by a nation of former slaves with no military experience and inferior resources.
However, God encouraged Joshua to look at his situation with eyes of faith. He himself came to speak to Joshua – what is known as a theophany – who proclaimed that Jericho had already been given into the Israelite’s hands (Joshua 5:13-15, Joshua 6:2).
By God’s spirit, the walls of Jericho would fall down, but Joshua not only had to believe it for himself, he had to convince the entire Israeli nation to believe it too. They had to see the walls of Jericho flattened to the ground by faith, before they saw it with their human eyes.
This is exactly what happened:
“By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days.”
As a modern translation of this principle, living a victorious Christian life not only means to have faith that God exists and that He loves us. It also means that we need to believe that God can make all things work out for our good – especially when the odds look like they are against us. We need to see with eyes of faith.
God does not think like the world does. He is not bound by the expectations of society, nor is He motivated by likes on Instagram or thumbs ups on Facebook. God always has the final say in our lives – not people, not bad breaks, and not adversity.
So, the next time you face a difficult situation, don’t worry about how it’s going to work out. Don’t spend sleepless nights trying to figure out a solution. Like God promised the Israelites a favorable outcome with Jericho, so He is promising you a favorable outcome to your dilemma. However, you need to accept that promise and believe it will come to pass – you need to see with eyes of faith.
The power of the believer’s weapons
“For the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds.”
The battle the Israelites faced as they stood in front of the walls of Jericho was not a physical one. If so, they would have failed dismally in penetrating the impregnable walls of the fortress city. They were former slaves, who had spent the last 40 years wandering the desert; their lack of military expertise would have cost them their lives at the hands of the Canaanites, who were seasoned warriors and armed to the teeth in weaponry.
No, this battle against the Canaanites was a spiritual one. Therefore, in order to incur a spiritual victory, the Israelites had to engage in spiritual warfare.
The warfare we face today is also spiritual: sickness, financial struggles, marital discord, just to name a few.
They are brought on by an enemy – the devil – who wants to see us live a life of defeat and misery.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
However, God wants us to live a victorious life, full of joy and fulfilment. Look at the second part of this Bible verse:
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
God provided the Israelites with spiritual weapons to fight, and we can use these same weapons to live out the blessings and promises that God puts in our hearts.
Let’s explore what these weapons are and how we can wield them:
We talked in the previous section about seeing with eyes of faith. Joshua and the Israelites acted in faith by following God’s plan to walk around the walls of Jericho for 7 days.
As a further step to seeing, God wants us to step out in faith. This means that we follow a course of action with the belief that God is going to make things right, even if we aren’t sure how the end is actually going to pan out.
Instead of fretting and plotting our own course through the landmine of troubles in your life, hand over your situation to God today. God is faithful: If you reflect on past problems, did they not all work out in the end? That was not the result of luck or coincidence – that was the favor of God in your life.
Therefore, put your faith in Him again – if He’s helped you once, He will do it again!
Often in life, situations arise that can daunt us. People can say things that can make us feel threatened or afraid. The pain of past experiences makes us fearful of stepping out of our comfort zones.
As they walked around the walls of Jericho, the Israelites had to gather their courage. They had a prime view of the defense fortifications of the walls, including a 28 ft stone tower. The Canaanite giants were kitted out in weapons and were probably within distance to launch offensives from the safety of the parapets. However, the Israelites just kept on marching, because they knew that God had their back.
When faced with adversity, we too need to confront the problem with courage and confidence that God is with us. He will not allow us to face a difficult situation on our own. In fact, He goes with us.
One particular Bible verse that gives me courage is Deuteronomy 31:6:
“Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.”
Listening to God and fulfilling His instructions is not always an easy thing to do for us. God has given us free will, and as humans we are accustomed to being in charge of making our own decisions in our everyday lives.
However, God is omnipresent: He can see situations from multiple perspectives simultaneously and is not hindered by space or time. So, when He asks us for example, to wait, or to not follow a certain path, He is only doing it out of concern for us.
Obeying God doesn’t always mean it makes sense to us.
The Israelites didn’t likely understand why they had to walk around for 6 days around the walls of Jericho – in silence. However, they did it. When God told them to shout on the 7th day, well they did that too. And what happened? The walls of Jericho came tumbling down!
God knows what is best for us. So, the next time God asks you to do something and you don’t understand the point of it, just remember that He is asking you to trust Him. Put your human reasoning behind you and just try obeying Him. You will be amazed at how things turn out bigger and better than you thought they could ever be!
Do you know the excitement you feel, when you start a new project or even a new diet? You’re full of enthusiasm and can almost reach out and grab that positive future picture you have of yourself.
However, as time goes on, the project ends up consuming all of your free time, and the lack of significant progress frustrates you. Eating green salads for every meal becomes monotonous; you start fantasizing about eating carbs again. You begin to doubt whether you have what it takes to keep going to realize your goals.
Can you imagine how the Israelites felt walking around the formidable walls of Jericho for 7 days, especially when it didn’t make any sense to them? I wonder if some of them got up on day 4 and thought, “Do l really have to spend my day walking around those blasted walls, getting jeered at by my enemies, who are obviously stronger and bigger than us? I mean, what’s the point? Everyone knows the walls can’t be breached.”
And yet, the Israelites continued to get up every day for 7 days and walked around the walls of Jericho. They endured through their adversity and their endurance paid off.
What would have happened if the Israelites had stopped walking on day 6? They would never have known that their victory was waiting for them the next day.
Be like the Israelites: Keep on persisting when you don’t see a change in your situation, keep on enduring when you feel like giving up. You never know, you might be on day 6 of your own walk. Endure through it and walk into day 7, where your breakthrough is waiting for you!
This particular weapon is something that God has been especially putting on my heart this year. He has been teaching me the importance of praising Him before l see a breakthrough in my convalescence with depression and burnout. Why? Because He wants me to remember that He is greater than illness, or any problem on this earth, for that matter.
”Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
After 6 days of walking in silence, God asked the Israelites to give one almighty shout on the 7th day, as they stood positioned in front of the walls of Jericho. So, as the low bellowing sound of a single ram’s horn reverberated throughout the Israelite formation, the children of God raised their voices in praise – and the walls of Jericho fell down.
By praising God during the midst of your current strife, you’re showing Him that your focus is on Him and not on your problem. It tells Him that you trust Him to make a way for you where you see no way. It shows God your faith.
There are other situations in the Bible where people praised God before they saw a breakthrough in their situation.
In 2 Chronicles 20:22, the combined armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir turned on each other, when King Jehoshaphat of Judah appointed singers to praise and worship God.
In Acts 16:25-32, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God in prison. In response, God brought about an earthquake that shook the foundations of their confinement, released captives from their chains, and brought a Philippian jailor to Christ.
If you too are looking for a breakthrough, l can only recommend that you lift your hearts, voices, and hands and praise the Lord, the One who makes all things possible and that no spirit, might, or power can stand against!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
Tear down strongholds
“Now Jericho was shut up inside and out because of the Israelites; no one came out and no one went in.”
When the Canaanites first discovered that an attempt was being made to besiege them, they shut themselves in – physically and spiritually.
Firstly, they positioned themselves behind a physical stronghold – the fortified walls of Jericho – so that the Israelites could not compromise their position.
Secondly, they set up a spiritual stronghold of pride in their hearts, refusing to repent for their idolatry and adamantly refusing to accept Yahweh as their one true God.
So, what exactly is a spiritual stronghold and how does it apply to us today?
A stronghold can mean two things. It can be a fortified place to take refuge in whilst under duress. In Psalm 27:1, David makes us aware of the importance of making God the stronghold of our lives in times of adversity:
“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?”
However, a spiritual stronghold can also be a mindset, philosophy, or opinion that goes against the knowledge of God.
As we mentioned earlier in our section on seeing with eyes of faith, the warfare we wage today is spiritual. And although we have an enemy who wants to see us live a life of defeat and fear, we can’t always give him the blame for everything that goes wrong in our lives. There are times when our mindsets, more explicitly, our thinking or belief systems, can also cause problems in our lives.
So, how can our mindsets cause us problems?
First of all, strongholds find their origins in pride. We are all prone to it.
Furthermore, we can make life difficult for ourselves when we prioritize the things of this world over God’s values. This includes pursuing materialism, giving too much importance to our appearance, or even seeking to further ourselves instead of helping others.
As long as we continue to follow such thought patterns, we are erecting spiritual strongholds in our mind that prevent the truth of God to come in.
Paul accentuates the need to tear down such strongholds and make ourselves obedient to the will of Christ in 2 Corinthians.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
Therefore, in order to be able to hear God more clearly and fulfil His wonderful plans for your life, try looking inside yourself today: See where there are any mindsets that you are insisting on pursuing that go against God’s Word.
Seek God’s voice in the silence
“Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”
The world we live in is a busy one. As soon as the alarm goes off, it is a race to get out the door, pack the kids in the car for the school run and rush off to work for that first meeting. When we try to put aside time to spend with God, we get distracted by our phones or by the nagging mental to-do list that we need to work through.
As a consequence, God’s voice gets drowned out through the noise and hectic of our lives.
The Scriptures say that the voice of God is small and still. Elijah the prophet experienced this firsthand (1 Kings 19:12 (KJV)).
Therefore, in order to hear God, we need to find a quiet moment of the day and slow our minds down in order to receive His Word.
“For God alone my soul waits in silence,
for my hope is from him.”
The Israelites knew the importance of seeking God’s presence in the silence. While they marched around the walls of Jericho, they literally didn’t say a word – not even the children in tow.
Instead, they used that time of marching to keep they eyes on God, listen to the trumpet fanfare that represented His voice, and seek His presence.
So, how can we develop our own cone of silence to hear God’s voice?
Set aside time in the day for God
God time is also known as “quiet time”. Therefore, block out a specific amount of time in the day to spend with God and guard that time preciously. During this time, put your phone away, disconnect the house phone and encourage a quiet atmosphere around you.
Let other people in your household know that this is your time with God and that they should not bother you during it. You can also encourage the entire family to use that time for their own “quiet time” – even the children. Everyone can go to their own designated area of the house and develop that routine of spending time with God.
Alternately, you could get up 30 minutes before the rest of your family does, or have your “quiet time” after everyone goes to bed.
Create a peaceful space
In order to promote a feeling of stillness and quiet, make your space peaceful and tranquil. That could mean setting up some big cushions on the floor or lighting a few candles. Make your designated space a haven that you look forward to going to every day to be with God.
Prepare yourself for God’s voice
Get yourself mentally prepared to hear God’s voice by playing some worship music. Also, read some verses from your Bible.
By doing this, you slowly lay aside the hectic of the day and prepare yourself mentally and spiritually to receive God’s voice.
Prayer is communicating with God. For me personally, l talk to God like l would to my own biological father – simply and directly.
l always start my time with God by expressing my gratitude to Him for all the good things He has done for me that day or that week. Following that, l praise God for the many ways He is good – His mercy, His grace, His understanding of my weaknesses, to name a few.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.”
Write down what God tells you
Have a pen and a journal on hand and write down what God speaks to you about.
How do you know when God speaks to you? It’s like a sudden idea that pops into your head, or a spontaneous flow of thoughts. They are great, encouraging, and beyond what you would have thought of on your own.
Read back regularly what you have written down and most importantly, act upon it! These are in part the plans and promises that God has blessed you with. He wants you to live them out!
Give God your first fruits – the importance of tithing
“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to make this freewill offering? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.”
In ancient times, God proclaimed laws to the Israelites through Moses. These decrees became known as the Mosaic Law.
These decrees were designed to give God’s children revelation of who He was, how to worship and honor Him, and live in a manner that was pleasing to Him. However, the laws had also been written to protect them and set them apart from other nations.
One of these laws was the law of tithing. According to the Old Testament, God required His people to set aside the choicest agricultural produce of the new harvest – the “first fruits”.
Why the first fruits of the harvest?
Gold or other forms of currency were not given as offerings, as it was about giving God the first and best of the agricultural fruit from the promised land of Canaan, the inheritance given by God to the Canaanites.
“The best of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God.”
The amount of their produce that the Israelites were required to set aside for tithing purposes was 10%.
“Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.”
Deuteronomy 14:22 (NIV)
In fact, the word “tithe” derives from an Old English word to mean “a tenth”.
Is tithing still relevant today?
There is dispute amongst Christians today, as to whether tithing is still relevant according to the covenant of the New Testament.
However, Jesus states the following:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.”
The New Testament doesn’t command us to tithe, as was the case in the Old Testament. Instead, we are encouraged to be “cheerful givers”.
“Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Tithing for us today is done with our finances – we are no longer required to offer animal sacrifices and many of us don’t earn our living through agriculture.
Giving a financial offering is an act of gratitude towards God – a thank you for all He has done for us. The more we grow in our faith walk, the more we want to show God our appreciation for His salvation, His provision, His mercy, and His grace.
With increased revelation of God, tithing becomes less of a duty and takes on a quality of joy. You honestly become happy at the prospect of giving back a part of what belongs to God in the first place.
For me personally, l know that everything l have in my life – my home, my loving husband, my little one-eared pussycat, the food that l eat and the clothes that l wear – are through the grace of God. By tithing, l show Him how much His love and provision mean to me.
One reason people tend to tithe is because they believe God will bless them over and abundantly for their sacrifice.
I personally believe that God does honor our offerings:
“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.”
This promise of abundance is repeated in the New Testament:
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
That being said, l believe that tithing is best approached from a position of gratitude and not entitlement (Luke 18:9-14). Tithe because you love God and you want to show Him that – not because you want something in return from Him.
How much do l tithe?
This is a good question. As we have already established, under the Mosaic Law, the amount of offering was pre-determined at 10%
However, since we have a new covenant with Jesus, the New Testament does not specify an amount. Instead, we are encouraged to give with our whole heart.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
What does this mean? Whether we give 10% or any other amount, is not so important as showing God our heart to honor Him.
Consider the following Bible verse, where Jesus watched people tithing:
“He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
Although the poor widow tithed less than her wealthier contemporaries, her sacrifice cost her more to make, as it was literally the only money she had. And yet, she gave it all to God.
Now, no one is saying you must give your entire next month’s paycheck as a tithe. But if you do, seek God in prayer and then do it with a heart of love for Him. The same goes for any amount of money you offer. Remember it’s not about the amount, it’s about the heart.
My former pastor used to say about tithing, “Give an amount that hurts a little to part with.” I have remembered these words of advice every time l tithe, because it is that point of discomfort, like the widow experienced, that makes my financial gift a worthy sacrifice to God.
To whom do l tithe?
I think it’s good to give your tithe to your church. After all, it is the place that gives you spiritual nourishment, and it’s where you have experienced good fellowship.
Churches need funds to keep running. The flyers and pamphlets they give out, the communion bread and wine (or sometimes it’s grape juice!), the cleaning of the church and the monthly electricity bill all need to be paid for.
Tithing to your church does require trust, as you don’t have a direct say in how the funds are being used. However, as a giver, your commitment is to honor God. The church’s commitment is to use the funds you give in a responsible fashion to promote the spreading of God’s Word.
Therefore, give your tithe to your church in faith. If you want to give financially to an additional ministry, then you can always make the decision to make another offering in that direction.
If you haven’t yet found a church, then l suggest you give your tithe to a ministry that is dedicated to bringing others to a knowledge of Christ.
Partner-up with God
“God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
When Jesus chose His son to be the bearer of our sins, it was so that we would enjoy eternal fellowship with Him.
God performs many good works, but He chooses to perform them through us. So, in order to do that, He needs us to partner-up with Him.
God’s military plan to bring down the walls of Jericho was contingent upon the willingness of the Israelites to carry out His instructions. He didn’t need them to show the surrounding nations His might and power; nevertheless He wanted His children to be the vessels through which the enemies of God would bow down in awe and acceptance of Him.
Also, God doesn’t leave us to fend for ourselves during times of trouble. Just as He helped the Israelites with His favor, so God helps us today, if we call on Him for help.
God offers you a partnership – it’s up to you whether you take it or not.
God has great plans for your life, and He also has great plans that He needs people to carry out for Him here on earth – but He won’t force you to live all these out if you don’t want to.
That being said, if you have the chance to live a more fulfilled life than what you are living at the moment, if you have the opportunity to be a source of hope and encouragement to others who are suffering, wouldn’t you want to partner-up with the One, who can make all that possible?
Partnering with God is like being one half of a ballroom dance couple – one person needs to take the lead. In order to live a life of victory and fulfillment as a Christian, let God lead you as you dance through life together. Seek Him in prayer, listen to what He tells you, and put that guidance into action.
I assure you, if you work together with God from today, He will open doors that no man can shut and make your future paths direct and straight.
In order to partner-up with God fully, we need to surrender ourselves to Him. Let us discuss this in our last section.
Accept Jesus’ gift of salvation
“Because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
Being a Christian is more than going to church or praying. It is more than trying to live a moral life and giving regular donations to the poor. All those things are important, but these things aren’t what make us Christians.
God isn’t religion – He is a relationship.
This relationship is made possible through the sacrifice that Jesus made on the Cross of Calvary. Before His crucifixion, we were all condemned to be eternally separated from God, as we as humans are sinful and God cannot be near sin.
However, Jesus willingly came to earth and died for our sins.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Jesus’ blood that was spilled was the ransom He paid for our transgressions – past, present, and future. It is this gift of salvation that enables us to enter into a relationship with God.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
Here’s another verse that further proclaims this:
“And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.”
God wants to be in a relationship with you today. He loves you and considers you His precious child.
In order to enter into this relationship, all you need to do is accept Jesus’ gift of salvation.
There is no complicated ritual involved: All you need to do is ask God out loud for forgiveness of your sins, acknowledge Him as your Savior, and ask Him to enter into your heart.
“God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.”
In order to make it easier for you, l have prepared a prayer that you can speak over yourself; it includes the necessities you need to declare in order to be saved.
What is important, is that you speak these words with faith, for it is by grace that you are saved, not by works.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”
If you have been unsure for a while, whether you want to give God a chance, make the decision for Him today. I promise you, your life will change so much for the better!
By being in a relationship with God, you will experience peace, know joy, and have revelation over your life in ways you never can imagine. Most importantly, you will know what it truly feels like to be unconditionally loved.
This concludes Part Two of our Bible Study on Joshua 6 – Living God’s Word.
If you have been enjoying the series so far, we hope that you can join us for our upcoming third and final part of our Bible study – Studying God’s Word.
Until then, l wish you peace, joy, and an abundance of God’s blessings.
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enduring word.com, “Joshua 6 – The fall of Jericho”
thetorah.com, “How Many Years Were the Israelites in Egypt?”
christiancourier.com, “Joshua 6:2, 16 – The Gift of Jericho”
desiringgod.org, “The Conquest of Canaan”
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thejc.com, “What is Pesach?”
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biblehub.com, „1 Kings 16:34“
churchofjesuschrist.org, „Joshua 1-24”
answersingenesis.org, “The Walls of Jericho”
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biblestudytools.com, „Tithing in the Bible“
ryanhart.org, “27 Inspiring Bible Verses About Tithing and Offerings”
crosswalk.com, “Tithing in the Bible – Is Tithing for the New Testament Believer?”
gospelweb.net, “Partnership with God”