Recently I was watching a facebook youtube video of a march of veterans and others in Washington, D.C. They were there to protest the barricading of the WWII monument, a previously open-air monument that honors those who gave their lives. As I watched the video(below), I felt something stirring inside, but then in my busyness I forgot about it. Yesterday morning as I was getting ready for the day, the Lord brought the scenario from the video to mind where I saw common people bravely picking up the barricades that blocked them from accessing the monument, and then marching them away.
As I recalled what I had watched, I felt I heard Him say, barricades are being removed. Something about the quietness of the march and the purposeful strides of the group reminded me of another group that marched a long, long time ago, this time around a city called Jericho. God had given Joshua specific plans for this march, and it, too, was all about removing the barricades or walls surrounding the city.
Things were tightly shut up (Josh. 6:1), a phrase that aptly describes where some find themselves in life at this very moment. The Joshua passage goes on to say, No one went out and no one came in. It's the enemy's plan to box us in. He enjoys taking away our incentive and causing us to feel trapped and without options. But, God has other plans!
Our God enjoys the challenge and it's in this place of reduced options that He loves to display His glory. He doesn't enjoy our pain, or our frustration and discouragement, but He knows that it is in this very crucible, this tight place, that we encounter Him in a way that we could not elsewhere. This bittersweet place of encounter, and the victory of overcoming, quickly replaces the pressure that we felt in this barricaded place.
You may have noticed that the story of Joshua 6 is full of sevens. Seven priests with seven trumpets marched around the wall seven times, and on the seventh day they circled the city seven times before giving the shout that brought the walls tumbling down. So why all the sevens? In scripture, seven means fullness, completion, and perfection. God has a time of completion. He is shouting from this story that his timing, method and ways are complete and perfect. Likewise, He has an appointed time for you to cross into your land, and He has an appointed time for you to defeat your enemies. As we obey His voice and follow His lead, we step into the fullness of time concerning our own destiny. He is setting the stage for a great and glorious victory!
So, as we ready ourselves to move past the barricades in our lives, what things are important to acknowledge so that we are fully positioned to move forward? Below are some things that will set you in place to move forward:
- Get the word of the Lord. The Lord spoke clearly to Joshua when He said, "See I have delivered Jericho into your hands..." He not only gave Joshua the command, but He also gave Him the plan. We will need faith to move forward, but faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of the Lord. Our faith must rest on what God has said. Those who move in presumption will often be disappointed. They often move forward without hearing the word of the Lord over their lives and situations, creating heartache and problems as a result. This is not to say that you have to have a word for everything you do. But, there are many times where we must seek God for His plans and strategies for our lives.
- Remember what God has done. It's interesting that God had given instructions for the Israelites to create 'memory stones' after crossing the Jordan into their land. The stones were to be a sign to them and future generations telling of the miraculous things that God had done on their behalf. These stones were faith-builders. Create the memorial stones in your own life. I write my history with Him in journals and pick them up to read when my faith needs a boost.
- Follow the Presence. The priests carrying the Ark of God's Presence were the first to enter the Jordan and as they did the waters flowing downstream were cut off allowing the nation to cross over. We will never cross over into our land apart from following His Presence. Look for the mark and hand of God on your situations and circumstances. Be like Moses who determinedly said, If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. (Ex. 33:15) God's plan to bring down the walls of Jericho seemed like total foolishness to many I'm sure, but Joshua chose to follow the word and Presence of the Lord.
- Be set apart and healed. Setting the stage for the Jericho march, God required that Joshua circumcise those who had not yet been circumcised. The entire nation of men were then circumcised, and God said to Joshua, today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you. Egypt represents slavery, and it was necessary that this act of circumcision was completed before they could fully conquer their giants and step into all that God had for them. Verse 8 says ....They remained where they were in camp until they were healed. Many times we are not moving past our barricades because we are not yet healed. Redeem the waiting time and pursue healing and allow God to rid you of the shame and reproach of your past. He wants to replace the old wineskins and mindsets that formed while you were still in bondage. You will need a renewed mind to take your land. The land will not be taken by slaves, but by sons.
- Receive the new land He is giving you. Many times we are our own worst enemy. Our beliefs about ourselves can cause us to feel unworthy to receive the land He is giving us. As our mind is renewed and we come to see Him in all of His goodness, then we will also start to see ourselves as He sees us. Just believing that He has a 'land' for you is not enough. You must receive and step into it. What land has He delivered into your hands?
Thank you Father that it is your good pleasure to give your children the kingdom. Equip, establish, and empower us for this season of moving past the barricades that have blocked us from taking the lands marked out for us. May we be a generation of courageous sons and daughters, awakened by your love, who conquer lands and kingdoms for Your glory.