Leaders keep doing what God tells them to do


Our Scripture text today: Joshua 6: 1-5, 12-16, 20

The Point: “Leaders keep doing what God tells them to do.”

The Bible Meets Life:
We all want to succeed in whatever we are doing, but many of us don’t stick it out and persist until the task is complete.
In whatever God calls us to do, the only way we will be successful is to do it God’s way and not give up.
Joshua led the Israelite army to do something repeatedly that seemed to have no results-march around the city of Jericho-but their persistence in obedience gave them great victory.

The Setting:
The children of Israel crossed the Jordan River on dry ground and entered into the Promised Land.
They made a permanent memorial of stones taken from the middle of the river to remind them, and cause future generations to inquire about, the work God did to bring them into the land.
After dedicating themselves to God through circumcising the men, the people faced their first challenge to possessing the promised land-the walled city of Jericho.

Question #1:
“When have you seen persistence pay off in a big way?”
God calls us to a life of persistent trust and obedience, and sometimes that obedience may be displayed in unconventional ways.
God desires to accomplish His mission through us and build our faith in the process.
Joshua showed persistent obedience in his leadership, and we can benefit from the truth we see lived out in his life.

Joshua 6: 1-5 (Lesson Point: “Leaders keep doing what God tells them to do.”):
1 HCSB Now Jericho was strongly fortified because of the Israelites—no one leaving or entering. 2 The Lord said to Joshua, “Look, I have handed Jericho, its king, and its fighting men over to you. 3 March around the city with all the men of war, circling the city one time. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry seven ram’s-horn trumpets in front of the ark. But on the seventh day, march around the city seven times, while the priests blow the trumpets. 5 When there is a prolonged blast of the horn and you hear its sound, have all the people give a mighty shout. Then the city wall will collapse, and the people will advance, each man straight ahead.”

Verse 1:The translation “Jericho was strongly fortified” renders the literal Hebrew “one shutting up and one being shut up,” indicating that the inhabitants had taken extensive measures to secure their city.
The security measures were so intense that “no one” was “leaving or entering.”
If Israel were to capture this city, they would have to follow precisely the step-by-step instructions given to them from the Lord.

Verse 2:
“The Lord” confirmed to Joshua what the spies had told him.
The Lord wanted to emphasize Joshua’s need “to see” what was already a reality in God’s plan.
“Jericho, its king, and its fighting men,” the entire politico-military establishment of the enemies, had been “handed…over” to Joshua.
What Joshua and the people were yet to see, God had accomplished already.
The Israelites needed only to do what God told them to do in order to experience the victory He had won already.

God’s “Marching Orders” called for the Israelites to “march around the city with all the men of war, circling the city one time. Do this for six days.”
These daily circuit marches are rightly deemed as ceremonial in nature rather than being standard military maneuvers.
God was more concerned that His people focus on Him by obediently acting on His commands than He was concerned about any meaningful resistance on the part of the Jericho forces.

Verse 4:
As part of the military procession, “seven priests” were to “carry seven ram’s-horn trumpets in front of the ark.”
The “seventh day” was to be different.
On the seventh day, the troops were to march around the city “seven times,” while the seven priests blew the seven ram’s-horn trumpets.

Verse 5:
On the seventh day, the seven priests were to give “a prolonged blast of the horn” to serve as a signal to have “all the people give a might shout.”
Through their obedient marching and by giving a might shout, the people would experience the victory God had promised.
The Lord assured Joshua, “the city wall will collapse.”
Once the walls cam down, the people were to “advance, each man straight ahead.”
The people had only to do what God told them to do.

Question #2:
“Why do you think God sometimes calls us to do the unconventional?”
Instead of trusting in their own abilities, God wanted His people to trust Him and obey, even if His instructions seemed unconventional.
Not only must we do what God says, we must also keep on doing it.

Joshua 6: 12-16 (Lesson Point: “Leaders keep doing what God tells them to do.”):
HCSB 2 Joshua got up early the next morning. The priests took the ark of the Lord, 13 and the seven priests carrying seven trumpets marched in front of the ark of the Lord. While the trumpets were blowing, the armed troops went in front of them, and the rear guard went behind the ark of the Lord. 14 On the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.
15 Early on the seventh day, they started at dawn and marched around the city seven times in the same way. That was the only day they marched around the city seven times. 16 After the seventh time, the priests blew the trumpets, and Joshua said to the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city.

Verse 12-14:
“Joshua, the priests,” and “the armed troops” marched around Jericho in silence for six straight days.
Each day, they made one circuit before returning to camp.
The only sound on those six days was the sound of the trumpets summoning the armed troopsmen to line up.
The notice that “Joshua got up early the next morning” speaks to his eagerness to implement the Lord’s plan on the appointed day.
The prominent role of the “ark of the Lord,” mentioned three times in verses 12-13, signified the ever-present Yahweh in the midst of His people.
For six days the procession marched around the city once and returned to the camp, demonstrating persistent obedience.
Jericho would fall because the Lord said so, but His promise was prefaced on the people’s obedience.
Day after day they marched in persistent obedience, just as the Lord had instructed them through Joshua.
They were doing their part; they were fully confident God would do His part.

Question #3:
“Is partial obedience to God really obedience at all?
God’s commands are a means of shaping us into the leaders He wants us to be in our homes, churches, and communities.
Humbly obeying God’s commands completely, not just partially, is a means of changing our hearts so that our hands can accomplish what He desires.

Verses 15-16:
Then “the seventh day” arrived.
At last, Joshua gave the command to “shout,” just as he earlier had instructed the people he would.
Joshua’s command to shout was supported by the statement, “For the Lord has given you the city.”
Just as the Lord had guaranteed Joshua that He had handed Jericho over to him, so Joshua echoed the guarantee to the Israelites that the Lord had given them the city.
God’s guarantee would become Israel’s reality by sticking to His plan.

Question #4:
“What is the relationship between leadership and persistent obedience?”
The strength to persistently obey God is undergirded by an attitude of trusting and wanting to please God so that His work is done.
We must concentrate on the truth that in the process, God desires to shape us into the likeness of Jesus.

Joshua 6: 20 (Lesson Point: “Leaders keep doing what God tells them to do.”):
HCSB 20 So the people shouted, and the trumpets sounded. When they heard the blast of the trumpet, the people gave a great shout, and the wall collapsed. The people advanced into the city, each man straight ahead, and they captured the city.

Verse 20:
The moment of truth had arrived.
The people had obeyed persistently the Lord’s command to march around the city in silence for six days and then another seven times in silence on the seventh day.
At that moment, trust turned into a final act of obedience as “the people shouted.”
When the people “heard the blast of the trumpet,” they collectively gave a “great shout.”
As a result of their persistent obedience and God’s trustworthiness, “the wall collapsed.”
Then, just as instructed, “the people advanced into the city, each man straight ahead.”
Persistent obedience resulted in permanent victory.
The statement, “and they captured the city,” stands in sharp contrast to the prolonged giving of instructions: the Lord to Joshua, then Joshua to the priests and people.
The once proud city of Jericho lay flattened by heavenly omnipotence and human obedience.

What about us?
Do we have the kind of “stick to God’s plan” determination the Israelites exhibited on the plains of Jericho?
Do we obey the Lord in both important and trivial matters, even when we do not fully understand where He is leading us or how our obedience will accomplish His plans?
The defeat of Jericho serves as a biblical reminder to every believer that the Lord will keep His promises.
Our job is to obey God’s instructions and stick to His plan.
We can rest assured that eventually we will reap the victory each and every time we demonstrate persistent obedience by doing what God tells us to do, whether we experience that full victory in this life or in heaven.

Question #5:
“When have you seen group obedience result in group victory?
God is pleased with our faith and rewards those who exercise it diligently under His leading and direction.
As we obey-both conventionally and unconventionally-God grows us and guides us as we continue to march on in our leadership journey.