What About the Waiting?
There is a story in the Old Testament book of Joshua, chapter 6; a story about a man called to leadership who would be responsible for the nation of Israel – a people that had spent the 40 years before Joshua’s leadership wondering in the desert because of their actions, attitudes, motivations, and defiance toward God.
If you spent any time in Sunday School or a few summers attending a Vacation Bible School, it’s more than likely that you’ve heard this story before…
Moses is old in age. He’s at the top of the mountain where he can visually see the Promised Land that had eluded him and his people for so long. God informs Moses that he will not be the man to lead the Israelites into the land flowing with milk and honey, rather, Joshua would. Moses calls Joshua up on the mountain and gives him both encouragement and instruction. Moses then calls the nation of Israel and reiterates the encouragement and instruction that he gave to Joshua for all of Israel to hear. Moses dies. Spies go into Jericho. People are confused; afraid; filled with question. Joshua is obedient and follows through on God’s plan in expectation of receiving His promise.
Now this is only a fraction of what leads up to the story packed away in Joshua 6, but gives a good idea of the backstory and the challenges facing Joshua and his mighty men.
Well, here…I’d love for you to read a few verses for yourself, which will set up what I want to share with you:
The Fall of Jericho
6 Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. 2 And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. 3 You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. 4 Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat,[a] and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” 6 So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” 7 And he said to the people, “Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord.”
I don’t know about you but when I read this story, it’s seemingly easy to get excited because I know the outcome – I know that Joshua and his mighty army do as the LORD instructed them, and on the seventh day, the walls come down and Israel takes the land.
It’s a story of suspense and excitement; a story of an underdog becoming an overachiever. This story is one filled with so much that it’s easy to get sucked in and draw parallels from the life of Joshua and his leadership and into our lives or what we would hope our lives to be about. Valiant warrior! Leader of a great nation!! Passionately following God with reckless abandon!!!
But if you stop for just a minute:
Do you ever wonder what the 6 days leading up to the day of promise would have been like?
Think about it for just a moment. God is making His will and way clear. You have your marching orders. You think you know what to expect or at least you plan the best you can with an expected outcome or set of results.
And so you start out your journey with the end in mind.
But what about the waiting? What happens in the days leading up to that moment in time when Joshua and his mighty men storm the walls of Jericho and capture the promise of God?
What about the waiting?
If you stop for a moment and try to read this story through Joshua’s first-person perspective, through the eyes of the warriors that woke each day, put on their armor, gathered all of the men in accordance with God’s instruction, and made the walk around the city of Jericho, all without knowing what the full extent of the outcome would look like; what do you think would be going through their minds? What would you be going through your mind?
This is where I find myself…in the waiting…
If I were to draw any parallels from Joshua’s story, I would like to think that God is preparing me for battle; to lead a group of His people into battle, to storm the gates of Jericho if you will, and into God’s faithful promises. I am confident that God has called me to be a leader and a warrior for Him. I know like I know that He has both gifted me and been readying me throughout my life to do His good will, purpose, and plan. I can see with great vision the works that I believe He wants me to be a part of and give influence and leadership to. And I’m excited!
Yet in this moment I find myself waking each day and seemingly walking around the city of Jericho, knowing that God is preparing me for battle and looking forward to, with great expectation, what He has in store. I can see the day of battle before me. I know it’s coming. Yet I am experiencing a season in which God is calling me to wake up each day, get geared up for battle, start marching toward His leading in my life, and…
I’m looking forward to overtaking the walls of Jericho in my life and ministry and I’m confident that this season is right around the corner. Until the battle horns are blown and the shouts are bellowed, my responsibility is to continue to get up each day and ready myself for what God has for me in each moment; to walk the city and, out of obedience, march with expectancy and great anticipation.
And so I march…