Sunday Scriptures — Perseverance Until the Thirteenth Time Around

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Lately I’ve thought about perseverance and the will to keep going when we’d rather give up. When we’ve hit one too many walls in your attempts to achieve something we have our heart set on accomplishing.

The story found in Joshua chapter six of the conquest of Jericho by the Israelites is a story of perseverance we can gain encouragement from.

Word of the Israelite’s might went before them. As a result, Jericho was tightly shut up. No one entered or left because they feared the Israelites.

God told Joshua to walk around the walls of the city once a day for six days, and then walk around it seven times on the seventh day.

In the middle of the procession were seven priests with trumpets of ram’s horns walking in front of the ark of the covenant of the LORD. Armed guards walked in front of the priests, and armed guards walked behind the ark. All the people marched with the armed guards ahead of the ark.

On the seventh day the people showed true perseverance, waiting until the thirteenth time around when Joshua gave the command to “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city.”

They shouted. The walls of Jericho fell. And the men charged in, taking the city, devoting it to the LORD.

Just as we may wonder at God’s command to Joshua to conquer a city by walking around it thirteen times, we may wonder why our quest, our goal, is often put on hold until the thirteenth time around, but who are we to question the Almighty’s ways?

Perhaps, like me, you feel like you’ve circled the walls of your own personal Jericho for a very long time, waiting for the LORD to tear down those walls keeping us from our goals.

When we look at the story of the conquest of Jericho, we see perseverance and obedience to the LORD’s commands. We see a willingness to keep circling the walls until such time the command went out. “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city.”

Looking at this story we see a people who did not give up on the twelfth time around. And neither should we. They remained bold and courageous until the LORD gave the victory. And so should we, don’t you think?

Do you ever wonder if the Israelites felt like giving up on the twelfth time around? What would have happened if they did?

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When the people heard the sound of the rams’ horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it. Joshua 6:20 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — We Don’t Have to Understand to Obey

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

We don’t have to understand to obey.

That pretty much sums up what the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho says to me. Throughout these past three weeks I’ve looked at the story of the Israelites entry into the Promised Land from the beginning act of following the Ark of God, their obedience demonstrating their trust in God, and setting up a memorial to remember God’s provision.

In my study of this chapter in Israel’s history one commentary I read said, “Obedience to God does not require a total understanding of his commands; it requires trust in God even when his entire purpose cannot be seen.” Like I said … we don’t have to understand to obey.

It’s one more reminder he is God and we are not. God owes us no explanation. He doesn’t need our approval before he sets his plan in motion. He tells us to jump. We ask how high.

We may be at a time where our life makes no sense whatsoever. We don’t understand the twists and turns that led us to this place. We don’t know what God’s plans are, or why they seem so slow in coming.

We don’t have to understand to obey.

Here are some of the lessons we can learn through the example we have of the Israelites entering the Promised Land and conquering Jericho.

  • Follow the Lord’s leading because this is new territory, and we could get lost if we take our eyes off him.
  • Our obedience to follow God’s instructions for how he wants things done demonstrates our trust in him and his plan for our lives.
  • Remember what the Lord has done, and tell others.

What other lessons have you learned in your journey to the Promised Land?

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On the seventh day the Israelites got up at dawn and marched around the town as they had done before. But this time they went around the town seven times. The seventh time around, as the priests sounded the long blast on their horns, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the town! Joshua 6:15-16 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Remember What the Lord Has Done

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

The last two Sundays I’ve written about the Israelites entry into the Promised Land that began with their crossing the Jordan River on dry land.

Once all the people crossed the river, God instructed Joshua to set up a memorial to remember what the Lord had done — hold back the waters of the Jordan River to allow the people to cross on dry land.

One person from each of the twelve tribes was chosen to be a part of constructing the memorial. Each man went to the middle of the river where the priest still stood with the Ark of God, chose a large stone from the riverbed, took it back to shore and piled the stones up where the Israelites would camp for the night.

The purpose of the memorial was so when their children asked what the stones were for, the people would remember what the Lord had done, and tell future generations of the day the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the LORD’s Covenant went across. The stones were to be a memorial to the people forever.

September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike pummeled our area of Texas. When we returned home after evacuating, we found our house still standing. Yes. We had a lot of outdoor debris to clean up and were out of power for days, but our house still stood. Praise God.

Just like the Israelites, I created a memorial to show what the Lord had done for us. I chose a piece of oak bark about eighteen inches long, the hurricane ripped from one of our trees, and placed it beside our front door.

That bark is still there today. It is a reminder every time I step through my front door of God’s grace and provision, protection and care.

When God brings us through something, it is good to never forget it, so we are able to tell others what the Lord has done.

How do you remember what the Lord has done for you?

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He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’  Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.”  Joshua 4:5-7 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Obedience Demonstrates Trust

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Continuing with the familiar story of Joshua and the defeat of Jericho found in Joshua 6 that I wrote about last Sunday, I’d like to look at the fact obedience demonstrates trust.

Last year I wrote that obedience was a huge part of the Jericho victory. God gave the Israelites victory over their enemies when they trusted and obeyed him. Simple as that.

The same goes for us today. Saying we believe God is one thing, stepping out in faith, trusting, and obeying God’s will, is something else.

In this story, the priests carried the Ark of the Covenant with them into battle. When Joshua and the Israelites got to the flooded Jordan River, Joshua 3:14-17 tells us as soon as the priests’ feet touched the water’s edge, the water upstream stopped flowing.

They had to step into liquid before they could cross on dry ground.

Remember, most of these men had lived their whole life in the desert. I’m pretty sure they didn’t know how to swim. Yet in obedience, they did as the LORD commanded. They stood in the middle of the Jordan River.

Joshua 3:15-16 tells us it was harvest season and the Jordan River was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the priests’ feet touched the water at the river’s edge, the water began backing up and the river bed became dry.

Did you get that? The Jordan was at flood stage, overflowing its banks. This was not a small trickling flow of water, to be sure.

In our lives God may call us to situations that are as daunting as the flooded banks of a raging river. When we reach that river, will we step out in faith, in obedience, and demonstrate our trust, or not?

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It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho. Joshua 3:15-16 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — You’ve Never Been This Way Before

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

During a recent study of the days before Joshua led the Israelites in their first battle in the Promised Land at Jericho, I read something I know I’ve read many many many times, but because of the events of that week, the story took on new meaning.

Has that ever happened to you? You’re very familiar with a particular passage of Scripture, yet because of where you are in life the message you receive from the passage is altogether new.

The Israelites are camped at the banks of the Jordan River waiting to enter the Promised Land, and end their forty years of wandering in the desert. Moses is dead. Aaron is dead. Miriam is dead. Joshua is now in charge.

In the span of three verses God instructs Joshua to be strong and courageous three separate times. One of those times God tells Joshua to be very strong and courageous.

This was new territory. The Israelites have never been this way before. They have no idea what to expect. All they know is God leads them, and God’s Shekinah Glory; God’s Holy Presence, dwells among them in the Ark; the sacred chest.

Before the Israelites cross the Jordan, their leaders tell them since they’ve never been this way before, and won’t know the way to go, they are to follow the Ark.

And that is the part of this story that had new significance to me. Maybe to you, too.

Since you’ve never been this way before, and won’t know the way to go, follow the Ark.

Like me, are you about to cross your own Jordan and head into new territory? Are you embarking on an endeavor you’ve never come up against before? Follow the Ark. Follow God.

Because we’ve never been this way before and don’t know the way, what say ye we allow God to lead us so we don’t get lost?

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Two days later their leaders went through the camp, shouting, “When you see some of the priests carrying the sacred chest, you’ll know it is time to cross to the other side. You’ve never been there before, and you won’t know the way, unless you follow the chest. But don’t get too close! Stay about half a mile back.” Joshua 3:2-4 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Obedience

bing imagesby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Sometimes I wonder why God gave the Israelites certain instructions.

Like why did they have to walk silently around the fortified city of Jericho once a day for six days and then on the seventh day walk around seven times?

bing imagesDuring the seventh spin around the walls, the priests were told to blow their trumpets while everyone shouted at the top of their voices.

Then the walls came a-tumblin’ down.

God already told Joshua the victory was a done deal.

The city of Jericho would be destroyed.

Fear of the Israelites and their God would fill the hearts of the Canaanites.

So, why the week of walking around the city?

Why didn’t God just level the towering 20-foot thick walls and be done with it? Why did he tell the army and priests to follow his instructions and walk around the city walls for seven days?

Obedience.

That’s what I think.

God certainly didn’t need Joshua’s help to destroy Jericho. He used Joshua, but didn’t need him. God allowed Joshua, the army, and the priests to be a part of the victory, but he didn’t need them to accomplish his plan.

I believe God told the Israelites to march around the city of Jericho for seven days to see if they would be obedient in a rather simple task before he asked them to be obedient in something a little more difficult. I believe God wanted the Israelites to experience the victory that can be found in obedience to God so they would be more willing to obey further down the line.

And I believe it’s the same for us today. Don’t you?

God gives us multiple opportunities to obey him. When we do, we experience victory over sin and Satan.

We are told not to be jealous.

When someone receives an honor, or accolades we want bing imageswe have the opportunity to be obedient and not become jealous.

We are told not to look down on others.

When someone crosses our path or enters our life who we might not necessarily feel is in our social circle we have the opportunity to be obedient and not think more highly of ourselves than we should.

We are told to put God first in our lives.

When some other good thing, insert your own good thing here, threatens to draw us away from time spent worshiping God we have the opportunity to be obedient and not put any person or thing before him.

As with Joshua and the battle of Jericho, Jesus has already won the battle over hell, sin, Satan, and death. The victory is ours through the Resurrected Savior. All he asks is for us to claim him as Lord of our lives and be obedient to his will. He gives us the opportunity to experience his victory through our obedience to him.

Do you think you would have been on-board to walk around Jericho seven times?

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The people of Jericho were afraid because the Israelites were near. They closed the city gates and guarded them. No one went into the city, and no one came out.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Look, I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its fighting men. March around the city with your army once a day for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets made from horns of male sheep and have them march in front of the Ark. On the seventh day march around the city seven times and have the priests blow the trumpets as they march. They will make one long blast on the trumpets. When you hear that sound, have all the people give a loud shout. Then the walls of the city will fall so the people can go straight into the city.” Joshua 6:1-5 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Walk By Faith, Not By Sight

I don’t know where to go from here

It all used to seem so clear

I’m finding I can’t do this on my own

These opening lines to the Sidewalk Prophets song, “Help Me Find It“, sure express how I’ve felt at times.

Sometimes we’re headed one direction, breezing along. No problems. Everything is fine. Then all of a sudden BOOM! There’s a roadblock and we’re forced to go in the complete opposite direction. I don’t even know how many times I have set off one direction in life to find I ended up taking some side roads.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about something Sir Isaac Newton discovered in the 1600s. Action comes before reaction.

 

If I expect the automatic door at the store to open, I have to step up and activate the mechanism which opens the door. Staring at the door won’t open it. Wishing it would open won’t grant me admission. Hoping it will open? Nope.

Waiting for someone else to activate the open-sesame apparatus could take forever. If I want that door to open, I have to take the necessary action to cause my desired reaction.

If you’ve seen the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, I’m sure you remember when Indie rushes to find the Holy Grail so he can bring life-saving water back to his dying father.

Following directions written in an ancient book, Indie gets to an opening and sees no way to cross the gorge that gapes before him.

Only a leap from the lion’s head will prove his worth. It’s a leap of faith. You must believe.

When Indie steps out into the nothingness before him in faith, when he makes the first move, when he acts, a bridge across the gorge appears. Indiana Jones makes it safely to the other side.

Action before reaction.

So I’m thinking…if I want the door to open it’s up to me to step forward. I have to walk by faith, not by sight. I have to take that first step in faith – action – before God will work–reaction.

In the Bible story recorded in Genesis 22, where Abraham is ready to offer up his son, Isaac, Abe had to lift his knife into the air ready to plunge it deep into the body of his son before God provided a ram for the sacrifice.

When Joshua and the Israelites got to the flooded Jordan River, Joshua 3:14-17 tells us as soon as the priests’ feet touched the water’s edge the water upstream stopped flowing. They had to step into liquid before they could cross on dry ground. Remember, these men had lived their whole life in the desert. They didn’t know how to swim.

The ten lepers in Luke 17 had to head toward the priest as Jesus instructed before Jesus healed their leprosy.

The man with a shriveled hand in Matthew 12 had to stretch out his hand as he was told, before Jesus made it whole.

Action came before reaction. They walked by faith. Not by sight.

Are you having to walk by faith and not by sight? Hang on. Keep trusting. Remember what God’s brought you through before. He didn’t bring you this far to drop you now.

For we walk by faith, not by sight.  2 Corinthians 5:7

I wish you well.

Sandy

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