JERICHO MARCH: Bringing Down The Walls
During a consideration of what it will be like after Monica’s miracle, her early life was remembered. She loved for us to hold her hands and let her feet touch the floor; she would high step in trying to walk, and sheer joy would be on her face! A full, infectious smile and deep laughter would often engulf everything and everyone around her. Oh, how happy she will be when her miracle allows her to get up and walk! Uncontainable joy, happiness, and laughter will again engulf everything and everyone around her! But the thought occurred; how will we ever get her to sit still through church? After these many years that she has been bound we cannot stop the pure joy that she will feel. We should get in behind her and have what churches used to call a Jericho March! Let us consider the physical occurrence at Jericho;
Joshua 6:1 – 5 NOW Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out and none came in. And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go around the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
Each day and each time that the children of Israel marched around the walls of Jericho they were weakening the walls, but also showing their obedience and diligence in following the purpose and plan of God. The children of Israel had to hear and follow the pattern of God completely. The seven days and the seven times on the seventh day represent the repetition of our battle; they could not quit, not after the first time or even after the twelfth time, and see the promise totally fulfilled. Neither can we quit hearing and obeying, or we will not receive the fullness of the promises of God. A Jericho march was to the church physically declaring the continuation of the spiritual battle. It is spiritually similar to the physical example of the sacrifices in the Old Testament;
Hebrews 10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
The Jericho march acknowledges the spiritual necessity to change, and declares to God the willingness to change. The church today must repent and return to the spiritual battle in hearing and obeying God, and not walk in the complacency and repetition of the pattern of man.
Then God led to consider: what will be the promise or purpose we will be marching for? There must be a purpose for the march – to bring down the walls we have built or allowed in our walk! If we have a divided heart, hanging onto things of the flesh, we will not be able to conquer as God desires for us to. As in the scriptures about Jericho … none came in, the walls prevent the spiritual walk we have been called to. If our flesh is in control, we only leave a minimal, partitioned, area for God. God will not dwell in the cubicle of your choosing!
Let us return to further consider the spiritual object lesson God gave of the apartment door that had “stripes” of light, or shadow, on it. We were discussing The Light, Jesus, at that time and did not go into depth on the walls that can block the light. To refresh our memory; inside the door, and adjoining the connecting wall, was a strip light with four bulbs. All four bulbs shone fully on the first stripe on the door, and it was very bright. In a very short distance the wall blocked the light from the first bulb, and then each additional light. As each was blocked or obscured by the wall, each succeeding stripe became correspondingly darker. There was a fifth level of darkness that received only the reflection of the light from the walls of the room.
After some time God led to understand that if something is used to block even the reflection of light from the walls another level of darkness can be seen. This is similar to our prior walk in our sin; that darkness or absence of light is where we were spiritually; we did not even recognize or comprehend The Light shining in those around us. Our salvation allowed us to begin seeing the light. But after coming to a saving knowledge of God there remain walls that obstruct the light; the walls of sin, the walls of iniquity, the walls of flesh, the walls of complacency, or the walls of unbelief that we build up or leave in our heart will obscure the amount of light we can see or receive. We continue through life turning at those walls, following the former paths; a maze of not finding the blessing and purpose God has for our lives. Let us consider a few examples, to allow you to examine your own life for walls.
Profligacy: Prodigal Of The Things Of God
Upon waking one morning in Topeka, Kansas in 2011, God spoke one word; profligate. If it will help, a synonym for profligate is to be prodigal. The word profligate is not in the Bible because it was not in the English language prior to the King James Bible being translated; how many know the word prodigal is not in Luke 15? There are two general secular definitions for the word profligate. The first is dissipation; to be a spendthrift, or wasteful, of the things you have been given. It is intemperate living, with excessive spending, drinking, and acts of self-indulgence. The second definition is licentious; marked by a disregard for strict rules of correctness, lacking legal or moral restraints, especially disregarding sexual restraints. It is the end result of the dissipation, with the ends justifies the means living, and where the lusts of the world have overcome all propriety. If you want words to search that are in the Bible, synonyms for dissipation and licentious include concupiscent, corrupt or corruption, lascivious, lewd, lust or lustful, perverse or perversion, and wanton.
Profligacy will throw up walls that stop our spiritual growth. Let us first digress for a moment to consider the fleshly matter, and then consider spiritual profligacy. How do ministers of God fail or fall into adultery? Profligacy has run rampant in their lives, and they have disregarded all propriety. I never got to hear it from Sister Schoonover, but I love the analogy “thoughts will fly through, but don’t let them make a nest in your head”. John warned us of these things;
I John 2:15 – 17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Being profligate is often the result of lust for the things of the world. Are you seeing and desiring fleshly lusts; spouse, wealth, fame, fantasy, illicit thoughts and actions, or even the latest invention? While we feel many of the physical things we have are “needs”, how did people live without them a hundred years ago? Without going to the depth of possibility of the illicit thoughts or fantasies, you can allow your mind to be consumed with thoughts of a donut or a certain food. It does not matter if you are not physically doing the lust of your mind, the enemy has occupied you in the thought of lust for that food, or whatever sin he can trap you with! Jesus told us of the lust being in the heart in the beatitudes;
Matthew 5:27, 28 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Often thoughts are not manifested in sins that others can see, but the iniquity is already in the heart. The example Jesus gave is to the extent of adultery, and many would say I haven’t done that, but it applies to any lust that you have for the things of the world. In Noah’s time, before the flood, the Word says;
Genesis 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
The prophets repeatedly speak of the evil imaginations of men, and we do not think that speaks of our selves. But anything that is a love for the things of the flesh or world can become sin to us. While in Topeka, God let me know if I thought about being home with my wife, I was being wasteful of the time He had given to spend with Him! If your mind is on fleshly things you will not be able to have the mind of Christ. What does the word tell us?
I Timothy 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
This verse does not say to divest yourself of everything else, but to be content with what you do have. Paul expounded this thought to the Philippians;
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
That is to say that having a spouse, home, cars, technology, or wealth is not necessarily wrong, but the desire or lust to have them is of the flesh and will hinder or stop your spiritual growth.
I Timothy 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
Underlining was not effective with this scripture, because so much of it would have to be underlined! The lust for the things of the world will leave walls in your spiritual life that can destroy you if you do not recognize and remove them. This was the lust of the prodigal son when he said, … Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. (Luke 15:12) The thoughts of his heart resulted in the actions, failing, and falling that followed. Do not fall prey to the prosperity doctrine, and miss out on the spiritual wealth that God has for you!
While most can now recognize the walls of sin and iniquity, let us also consider spiritual profligacy. Are you wasting the spiritual wealth that God is giving you? When the anointing is spent on the Word and His servant, do you fail to hear it? Even if we do hear it, if we fail to do it we have been profligate or prodigal with the anointing spent. Even if the evangelist stirs and revives your soul and spirit, does it only change you for a short time, and in a few weeks you are back to the same old life? With a play on words, it is “hear” and gone. You were bought with a great price; God owns you, and you are His temple. God wants you in, and to be, His holy habitation, but by coming unprepared, and with our minds on other things, we are spiritually profligate. God told Ezekiel of this fact;
Ezekiel 33:31, 32 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.
The hearing must be followed with the doing! If we hear the evangelist or preacher and fail to obey God we are prodigal. If we fail to do, a wall can be thrown up to us;
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
If you would consider it, although they were not yet filled with the Spirit, the disciples were spiritually profligate in the garden, when they were told to watch;
Matthew 26:40, 41 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Due only to their inability to stay awake and their failure to watch and pray the disciples were upbraided for the weakness of their flesh. After we hear, we must do.
Let us also consider some of the general examples of walls of complacency and unbelief on a congregational level. Without arguing the validity of doctrine, does the doctrine allow men to make … provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14)? As Jesus overturned the man-made doctrine of the Pharisees by healing on the Sabbath, let Him be your guide on doctrine. If a church does not believe in the fullness or baptism in the Spirit there is a wall of unbelief that will not let the church or individuals go beyond that point. If the church doctrine believes there is no place for women in ministry there is a wall of unbelief that will prevent receiving the fullness of what God has for individuals or the entire body. If a church is dogmatic about the doctrine of eternal salvation it will propagate walls of complacency in people that they have no need to go further in God. If the church doctrine does not believe in the continuing five-fold ministry of Ephesians 4:11 or of the gifts and ministries of I Corinthians 12: 28 – 31 it will result in both walls of unbelief and complacency. There are also doctrines of man that twist the scriptures and result in bizarre beliefs, again preventing the fullness of the light of God.
These doctrinal walls of man are keeping us from receiving all things spiritual; being used of God, full of the Spirit, operating in the gifts, increasing in the fruit of the Spirit: if we allow Him to be King and ruler on the throne of our heart we will receive the promise of being chosen and faithful, and our calling and anointing will be greater. In Genesis 15:1 Abram was told … Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward. We must grasp this promise and allow Him to shield us from our failures.
In my own personal walk my practice of reading the bible through in a continuous, and sequential manner had established a wall. While my reading had me completing the Bible in just over fifteen weeks, and then starting over, God wanted me hearing from Him, obeying, and growing spiritually. It was not optimal while reading, for instance, the “begats” in I Chronicles. While you are in the word it will always edify and build you, but you cannot grow spiritually at the same pace as when you are hearing and receiving from The Word, Jesus.
Scripturally you can find doctrinal walls in the early church. The early church did not believe that salvation and the Spirit were available to the Gentiles. God had to break down this doctrinal wall;
Acts 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
Seeing this example that was in the early church, you deceive yourself if you say you have no walls hindering your growth spiritually. Consider yourself; what walls have you left or built that are preventing your spiritual vision? How much is the light shining into your darkness? You have no ability in the flesh to break down these walls. It is only in spirit that you can begin overcoming these walls. If you have difficulty, God will bring the walls down, but we must be willing for the walls to be removed, and prepared and obedient to do the “marching” or walking. As with the wall between Jew and Gentile, God can break down these inner walls if you give it to Him;
Ephesians 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
A greater witness to us is Jesus removing of the veil. Jesus physical life and works were not enough for us; it was in His death that he reconciled us and made it possible for us to, as Brother B. H. Clendennen said, “move beyond the conventional boundaries of religion”. We need to move beyond the boundaries of man-made doctrine: march off the map and find the place of God’s holy habitation that Jesus has opened for us;
Matthew 27:50, 51 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
By His death he not only reconciled us to God, but He gave us the ability to enter into the holiest;
Hebrews 10:19, 20 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
Jesus removed the veil (or wall, if you will) and gave us the ability to enter the holy habitation of God! Why would we stop before receiving it? Stopping will throw up a wall of sin or complacency. Let us consider some examples of stopping short. Terah, the father of Abraham, started out for the Promised Land and stopped;
Genesis 11:31, 32 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
Terah began the journey to Canaan, but was stopped, and dwelt in Haran. Scripture does not tell us why he stopped (what was his wall?), but if he had continued his journey would we be saying father Terah instead of father Abraham? Where have you or will you stop marching? after repentance? after baptism? after teaching or some other work for God? after reaching a level of knowledge, wisdom, or faith? after you experience the anointing? We should never stop, but continue marching forward as God leads throughout our life. There will be no place where you have “arrived”, and received all that God has to give. The apostle Paul was still seeking … that I may know him … and says he had not attained;
Philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Paul notes that he continues to follow after! In writing to Timothy, Paul notes that Demas had loved the world and left him;
II Timothy 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
If you should fail in your walk, do not let the enemy defeat you; repent and return to obedient marching! Peter denied the Lord thrice, yet he repented and returned, and in the power of the Spirit we see thousands saved in Acts chapters 2 and 3. Remember that it is in the fullness of His light, with the walls broken down, that the blessings and gifts of God are then available;
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Allow God to shine His light on your walls, and ask Him for the vision to see them! Then march around the walls in obedience and allow Him to break them down: your reward will be … exceeding great. In the fullness of this, God wants to establish His kingdom within you, destroy the walls, and be the light source from His throne on your heart.
Does this give a greater understanding of a Jericho March? Ask God, and He will graciously answer you. There will be times when it does not seem He is answering, but be patient; after time, if you remain diligent and obediently marching, you will look back and see that He answered, the walls were removed, and His promises were fulfilled. Find the hunger, desire, and diligence to let God break down your walls; then begin marching when He shows them to you. The hearing, and obedience, and marching will bring victories, and may help hasten the miracle for someone like Monica!