Ever had a day where everything seems to loom over you like the shadow of a giant fortified city? You look for a way through and there seems to be no way. We seem so small and the difficulty seems so large.You look for a solution and you need a degree in McGyverism to make a plan.
In Joshua 5 we find Joshua in such a place. Jericho is staring Joshua in the face, with its imposing, impenetrable walls towering over him. Overcoming this city seems impossible. More than anything, this city was the greatest obstacle preventing the Israelite’s from possessing their Promised Land. It was in the shadow of Jericho where Joshua had an amazing encounter with God that changed his life and destiny.
The good news is that God was on scene before we were. That means the world belongs to Him. He designed everything in creation with a specific purpose. The world not only belongs to Him; He knows the best way for it to operate. He knows the way forward. He knows everything that influences today and tomorrow. He has the blueprints for our life. He is the commander of the army. He calls the shots and gives the orders. He has the battle strategy.
Joshua’s question in Joshua 5:13 “are you for us or for against us?” is a bit like how we can see God sometimes. Is he on our side or their side? Are we on His side or my side? Sometimes He’s on our page, sometimes we can be stamping our foot and going “seriously!”
But the reality is we need to be on HIS page. He is God and I am not.
“This is God’s universe and he does things his way. Now, you may have a better way of doing things, but you don’t have a universe.”
It’s the wisest decision to let Him be in complete control. It makes sense that if He is the Commander in Chief that we would not only consult Him in all things but that we would surrender to Him in all things. Not just because He is the Lord of Lords and the Creator of the Universe, but for more personal, intimate reasons.
God gets you.
He sees you.
He knows your fears and dreams, your flaws and your strengths.
He is not far away but just as He was with Joshua, He is right beside us.
God met Joshua beside Jericho. Jericho represents that thing that is standing between us and the Promised Land. That obstacle looming on the horizon that we wonder how we’ll get past.
What is the Jericho you face?
Each of us will face situations that may seem like they are a great big fortress – a Jericho in our life.
Life can sometimes be messy. Families can be messy. Discovering who you are can be messy. Finding your feet in the world can be messy. Bills can be messy. Emotions can be messy. Health can be messy.
Your Jericho may be discouragement or fear. It may be an area of sin that you want to once and for all overcome but seem to keep on returning to. It may be failure and compromise.
But I want to assure you today that what looks to us to be impenetrable and undefeatable is defeatable when we surrender to Jesus. No sin is greater. No sickness is greater. No situation is greater. No spiritual force is greater. No darkness is greater. No failure is greater. Greater is He in you than he that is in the world.
The first step to overcoming the Jericho in your life is to surrender to God. To recognize His rule in our lives.
We need this in two ways:
This means we surrender our lives to God and have faith that Jesus can save us and remove the guilt that separates us from God.
God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son. And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. Colossians 1:19-22
Faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour makes us near to God.
When I was 16 Jesus became my Saviour. I had been brought up as a catholic so I went to church pretty regularly, even got 98% in my religious education class when I was 13. But there is a big difference between knowing about Jesus and surrendering your life to Him and asking Him to rescue you.
Without Jesus we are lost and broken and heading for an eternity without God. Our situation is more dire than we could ever imagine. Because God loves us, because He loves you, He sent Jesus to rescue us, to die on the cross and take all the punishment we deserve. Its like we trade our sin for Jesus’ perfect record so we’re now acceptable to God.
It is wonderful to know that Jesus is your Saviour, to know you’re a child of God, loved and accepted.
But you must also know Jesus as Lord. He isn’t after just warm fuzzy feelings. It’s not about unicorns and roses and good hair days.
Jesus is after complete surrender. He is out to change you and transform you.
Lordship is demonstrated when you do what He says. Whatever He says. He is the commander. We are not.
We have to declare our allegiance to Him. Just as Jesus replied to Joshua when Joshua asked “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” Jesus replied “Neither, butas Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” It’s not a question of whether God is on my side but whether I am on His.
Surrendering to God is not a one off thing. It may begin with a moment where you come up the front and make a decision to give your life to Jesus but it continues into your everyday life as you say YES to Him, everyday. It’s not about adding God as an optional extra or as an upgrade to winning at life. God doesn’t want to be just Lord on Sunday. God wants be Lord of everything. He wants to be Lord of your friends, of your job, of your relationship, of your future, of your money, of the internet, of your entertainment, of everything.
Sometimes the first step in overcoming your Jericho is to surrender to God. Are there areas where you know you’re running away and living your own way? Are there areas where you know you’re “not listening”? It’s not about living according to rules – because grace says we cant earn it or repay it, but it is about living within the beautiful and perfect boundaries that God sets because He loves us and is God. His universe remember. And when we surrender, when we bow… oh wow. You see often we can focus on the cost. Hrumpf, if I surrender then huh. Grumpy. But what we get in return is God’s favour. Relationship with God. Think about that. Put it on a scale. My own kingdom or His kingdom?
“Forgive me, Lord. Today, I’m changing my prayer. Not my will, but let your will be done. Take my Jericho. You fix it, you resolve it as you see fit. Use me, Lord to accomplish that.”
Don’t let YOU be your own Jericho standing in the way of freedom. Surrender.