“By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days” ( Hebrews 11:30 )
This account of defeat of Jericho truly belongs in the Hebrews hall of fame. This was a crowning moment for Israel as they trusted God to make good on His promise to them. After wandering the desert for forty years, due to their unbelief, the first mission in the Promised Land of Canaan was to conquer Jericho, a fortified city whose walls were thick and impenetrable.
Previously Joshua had sent two spies into Jericho to scope out the city and their report was vastly different than the report given back to Moses the first time spying out the Promised Land. Instead of doubt, dissension and unbelief, the spies told the people, “The LORD has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us” ( Joshua 2:24 ).
As they prepared to defeat the city, instructions were given about how to do it. The entire army was to march around the city every day for six days. On the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times.Then the priests were to blow their trumpets while the people shouted and the walls would fall down for them to enter and fight. The Ark of the Covenant would go before them to remind them of their covenant with God.
Joshua also gave further instructions, “Joshua had commanded the people, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” ( Joshua 6:10 ). This was wisdom on Joshua’s part after witnessing the repercussions on the entire nation of Israel, caused by the ten spies who had made negative reports. ( Numbers 13:26 - 14:4 ). The people of Israel had allowed these negative words talk them out of God’s promise and His best for them, As a result they ended up wandering the desert for forty years until that entire generation died.
Since the idea of marching around the city day after day, believing at the end, the walls would cave in to deliver it into your hands takes faith, Joshua was helping them along forbidding them to speak any doubt. In fact, I believe each day it probably got harder and harder to march around the city, I’m sure there were people camped on the walls shouting insults which only got worse with each passing day. I’m sure it would have been easy for the Israelites to talk themselves out of the victory even if only one person started voicing doubts. Instead they remained silent which allowed them to walk out their faith in what God had instructed them to do.
The result was complete and total victory. On the seventh day, they marched around the city seven times, blew the trumpets and shouted their war cry as they entered and defeated Jericho, burning it to the ground. They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing, just as they were instructed. Only Rahab and the family that was with her was saved.
By faith the walls of Jericho fell and the people of Israel enjoyed great success. They took God at His promise and carried out His instructions and God did exactly what He promised He would do. What a great lesson in faith for all future generations to study and examine.