Daily Devotionals

Campfire Stories: Week 7 - Saturday

It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down. Hebrews 11:30

"What are you going to do this summer?" is the never-ending question that students are asked each year as summer approaches. When I was a college junior, I knew exactly how I wanted to answer that question. I wanted to be a summer camp counselor at a well-known and well-respected camp. However, there was a problem. I knew that I was not supposed to apply for this job. I had knots in my stomach and no peace about this job. This uneasiness was God's way of revealing to me that I was not supposed to apply for this job. Well, I am a little bit stubborn, and because I really wanted the job, I applied for it. I even accepted an invitation to interview for this job, knowing the entire time that I was disobeying God. When the time for the interview came, I was so nervous! The interview went terribly, and I did not get the job. I was heartbroken. If only I would have had faith in God's plan and obeyed Him, I would have avoided pain and heartbreak. Sometimes, God asks us to do things that we do not understand. We may even think we know better than Him.

Joshua was the leader of the Israelite people, seeking to lead them to a land that God promised would be theirs. There was a problem, however. The land that God promised, Jericho, was a fortified city. It had large walls and strong warriors defending it. At a glance, it looked as if there was no way that Israel would take the land of Jericho. God, however, gave Joshua a rather strange plan: for six days, the Israelites were to march around the city one time. On the seventh day, they were to march around the city seven times, blowing horns and shouting. If I were Joshua, I would have thought this plan sounded crazy. I would have had a hard time believing that this plan would help the Israelites conquer the land of Jericho. Joshua, however, was courageous. He chose faith during uncertainty. He chose to believe God's plan and commanded the Israelites to obey this plan that God had given them, and on the seventh day, the walls of Jericho fell, and the Israelites conquered the city. Joshua was a man of courageous faith, and God rewarded that faith. Joshua trusted God's plan.

I should have trusted God's plan when I was a college student, instead of applying for that summer job that I knew not to apply for. You see, later that year, I found out about the opportunity to serve orphans in Romania for the summer. I would have never gone to Romania if I had taken that summer job. I would have missed out. I was able to serve orphans who desperately needed to learn about the love of God. I had the privilege to teach them that God was their loving Heavenly Father, Who would never leave them. I should have had faith during my uncertainty and obeyed God by not applying for that summer job, trusting that He knows what He is doing.

Moving Toward Action

Are you at a time in your life when you are struggling to trust God's plan? Maybe He is asking you to do something that you do not understand, or perhaps He seems silent in an area of your life where you have begged Him to act. Joshua's story is a reminder that courage involves taking a step of obedience, even when we do not understand the "big picture." Courage is choosing to move forward in faith during uncertainty. Joshua did not waiver and question God's plan, even when it did not make tactical sense. Instead, he courageously obeyed. Think about what God is asking you to do that takes courage. Maybe God is asking you to invite a difficult friend to church on Sunday or to serve at church this weekend even though you have a full schedule. Whatever He is asking you to do, in your notes, write down one step of faith you can take this week. Then, commit to doing that thing this week!

Going Deeper

Read Joshua 6:1-27 (NLT)

Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in. But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors. You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days. Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town.”

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 got up early the next morning, and the priests again carried the Ark of the Lord. The seven priests with the rams’ horns marched in front of the Ark of the Lord, blowing their horns. Again the armed men marched both in front of the priests with the horns and behind the Ark of the Lord. All this time the priests were blowing their horns. On the second day they again marched around the town once and returned to the camp. They followed this pattern for six days.

On the seventh day the Israelites got up at dawn and marched around the town as they had done before. But this time they went around the town seven times. The seventh time around, as the priests sounded the long blast on their horns, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the town! Jericho and everything in it must be completely destroyed as an offering to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and the others in her house will be spared, for she protected our spies.

“Do not take any of the things set apart for destruction, or you yourselves will be completely destroyed, and you will bring trouble on the camp of Israel. Everything made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron is sacred to the Lord and must be brought into his treasury.”

When the people heard the sound of the rams’ horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it. They completely destroyed everything in it with their swords—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep, goats, and donkeys.

Meanwhile, Joshua said to the two spies, “Keep your promise. Go to the prostitute’s house and bring her out, along with all her family.”

The men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, mother, brothers, and all the other relatives who were with her. They moved her whole family to a safe place near the camp of Israel.

Then the Israelites burned the town and everything in it. Only the things made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron were kept for the treasury of the Lord’s house. So Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute and her relatives who were with her in the house, because she had hidden the spies Joshua sent to Jericho. And she lives among the Israelites to this day.

At that time Joshua invoked this curse:

“May the curse of the Lord fall on anyone
    who tries to rebuild the town of Jericho.
At the cost of his firstborn son,
    he will lay its foundation.
At the cost of his youngest son,
    he will set up its gates.”

So the Lord was with Joshua, and his reputation spread throughout the land.