I’m going to ask that, for a second, you imagine yourself in Joshua’s shoes.
Moses has just passed, and you’re now proud leader of an estimated 2 million loud-spoken and stubborn Hebrews. Your objective? To [finally] get these people into the land God has promised them – a land that you’ve spent 40 years waiting for. You’ve seen the land and how good it is, so you know God’s word about it and promise to be true – now all you have to do is actually get there. Easy right?
Errrr…Not so much. And you’ll soon see why.
SO! God gives you your first set of instructions to get to the promised land:
“Cross the Jordan!” He says.
No biggie. You’ve crossed seas with these people – this is only a river. You’re good. You got this. Or rather, God got this.
“Circumcise yourselves!” He commands.
OK, this might be a little painful, but you’re down. Your forefathers have gone through this torture for centuries – it’s culture and all that. Might take a little persuasion and some holding down, but no problem. You got this too.
So now, you’ve crossed the Jordan and got all the men and boys circumcised and you’re still recovering from all the pain and trauma when God sends the next set of instructions:
God spoke to Joshua, “Look sharp now. I’ve already given Jericho to you, along with its king and its crack troops. Here’s what you are to do: March around the city, all your soldiers. Circle the city once. Repeat this for six days. Have seven priests carry seven ram’s horn trumpets in front of the Chest. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, the priests blowing away on the trumpets. And then, a long blast on the ram’s horn—when you hear that, all the people are to shout at the top of their lungs. The city wall will collapse at once. All the people are to enter, every man straight on in.”
Now let’s get a couple things straight here: you, Joshua, are a military leader. Like any good military leader would, you’ve sent out spies to check out the enemy and the territory of this land you’re trying to get into. You know that the walls of Jericho are 6 feet thick, 26 feet high, and sitting on top of a 46-foot embankment, making the city absolutely impregnable. You know that the city has been shut up tight and no one is moving in and out – you couldn’t even get your spies back in there for reconnaissance if you wanted to. You have sat down and strategized every possible scenario with your commanders and there is absolutely NO PLAUSIBLE WAY into this promised land. And now the word of God comes to you and asks you to [simply] circle the city 13 times. No digging underground tunnels or throwing dung bombs or fire catapults. No angels swooping in with heavenly swords or deadly plagues. And you won’t be brandishing weapons – no, you’ll be playing musical instruments.
I don’t know about you, but if I were Joshua, I’d be thinking “what absolute foolishness IS this????”.
Walk around a heavily armed wall for 7 days???? Out in the open with no protection, open to attack with nowhere to run and take cover, and with only instruments as a defense? To a military general that has to be the single worst strategy you could EVER EVER come up with. If I was Joshua and one of my commanders came to me with such a plan I’d think he’d been sent by the enemy and shoot him straight up lol.
If Joshua knew anything, he knew war – and what God was asking him to do made no sense to the facts of war. What God was asking him to do was essentially crazy!
And I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in Joshua’s shoes before. In fact, to be honest, I’m in Joshua’s shoes right now. The facts of the situation say : IMPREGNABLE. UNDOABLE. UNATTAINABLE. And I’m like, this must be it – I’m really going to be stuck in this place of in-between forever. In between captivity and freedom. In between where I was and where I want to be.
But God says, you’ve never been to this place I’m trying to give you before. You’ve crossed seas, and you’ve cut away things before – so that’s old news to you. You could do those things any day of the week. But this? This is new territory. And to get to new territory you have to be willing to do some crazy things that don’t make sense – and when you step out on faith to do some crazy things that don’t make sense, you will see me move because you’re creating an atmosphere of expectation that can only come with faith.
To get you to where you need to be, like Joshua, God will ask you to do some crazy things! He might ask you to move to somewhere new and foreign, or take a position so far out of your field of study. He might have you serve in a ministry you think you’d be horrible in, or apply to a job you’re not qualified for. He might even ask you to stop watching TV and spend three hours a day locked in a closet reading His word. I dunno what crazy things God has asked, will ask or is asking you to do, but over and over again in His word, we see that crazy always ushers in a whole new level of promise.
You know the first thing Joshua did when he was given these crazy instructions? He shut everyone around him up. He told the Israelites not to open their mouths until he said so. Because the thing is, whenever you’re about to do something for/with God that seems crazy to you, I promise you it’s crazy to other people too, and they will be the first to remind you just how crazy and irrational what you’re setting out to do is.
“Be realistic.” they’ll say.
“That is so out of your league.” or “You’re better than that.” they’ll say.
“Why don’t you try this instead – it’s a better choice.”
“She’s not that attractive – you could do better.”
“Adopting a child? That isn’t advisable.”
To take the promised land, sometimes you have to silence the voices around you that might very well mean well, but just don’t know what you do or haven’t received the instructions you have. I remember when I first started getting serious about my faith, I would be in church 4 days a week. My father used to joke that I was the one who opened and closed the church doors, because he understood that I was being grounded in the faith, but my sister thought I’d gone bat shit crazy. I love her with everything in me, but I had to silence that voice in my life for a season and just not talk to her about my goings and comings. She was not going to understand what I was doing until she physically saw the manifestation of what God was doing in me. Today, you wouldn’t believe it if I told you that every time I talk to her these days, we’re always sharing about what God is speaking to us about in this season. I never in a million years would have thought she would get it. But if I had allowed her to speak into the craziness of that season, I might not be here today writing what I’m writing right now.
I don’t know what impregnable walls you’re facing in your life right now. Maybe there’s an area that seems shut up tight and you can’t see how you’re going to get in or out of it, and you’re at the end of your rope. Lucky for you, we serve a God who specializes in end-of-the-rope situations, and He’s waiting to work it out for you, but you have to be open to the possibility that He might ask you to do something crazy to get there. Like the Israelites, you have to be willing to do some things you’ve never done before, and look like an idiot in the process – the things God would do in and with us if we didn’t care so much about looking like idiots!
And when people (including ourselves lol) try to tell us it’s a crazy idea to do what the God of the universe told us to do, we just gotta say, “I know, right????”, and do it anyway.