Faith and action
By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days (Hebrews 11:30). This is a great story in the Bible, which illustrates well the spiritual principle of acting and stepping out in faith. It’s the Old Testament account where God commanded His people the Israelites to march around the enemy city of Jericho. God had told the Israelites that to conquer this fortified city with its famous high wall, they wouldn’t need to do any scaling, or laying siege to it or even use a battering ram (the customary battle methods of that time). All God wanted them to do was to march around the wall every day for a week and trust God would do the rest. Why do you suppose God asked the Israelites to march around the city for seven days in order to gain victory over their enemies? How would that bring the walls down so they could enter the city? Why didn’t God ask the people to partake in a more conventional means of war and bring about the victory that way? Indeed, I’m sure there were many strategic ways that the Israelites could have tried to obtain victory in battle over their enemies and bring the walls down, but God chose not to do things the customary way, but to pursue victory in the physical realm by marching in faith in the spiritual realm. 1. Please read Joshua 6:1–27. Why do you think God asked the Israelites to march around the city of Jericho? How do you think doing that affected their level of faith?
According to Hebrews 11:30, it was “By faith the walls of Jericho fell.” In other words, when God asked them to walk around the city they needed to conquer, God was testing their faith and trust in Him to see if they would obey Him (which they did). They didn’t need to pick up any weapons and fight. They didn’t need to come up with a battle plan or be overcome with fear because of the enemy. God simply asked them to take literal steps of faith each day for a week and as they did so, He would bring the walls down and thus defeat their enemies. All they needed to do was to believe what He said and daily march in faith to see the miraculous happen. I wonder what the people inside the city of Jericho must have been thinking when they saw all the Israelites marching outside! They must have been so puzzled as to why the Israelites were not using the normal methods of war. There may have been some who questioned their level of sanity. But you see, when God asks us to walk by faith in Him, it may seem like foolishness to some. We may even be mocked for our trust in God. However, the Bible teaches us that if we choose to walk with faith and trust in God, He will make the impossible, possible. He will intervene in our lives in power and answer our prayers in amazing ways, astounding those around us. God loves it when we put our faith in Him and it impacts everyone around us. 2. According to Hebrews 11:6, how can we please God? Can you think of two examples
of what that could look like in your life?
As Hebrews 11 shows, living by faith pleases God because that is precisely when we are putting our faith into action. It pleases God when we “show” our faith in some way. There will most certainly come times in your life (and probably many), when God will ask you to take a step of faith and exhibit your faith through your actions and decisions. It does take courage, but there is nothing more exciting than living by faith! Read the following true story of such an example in the life and ministry of Loren Cunningham, author and founder of YWAM (Youth With A Mission): “A remarkable example of this happened some years ago while we were living at our School of Evangelism in Switzerland. I was in an intercessory prayer group with several young workers when the Lord impressed upon me that our mission was going to get a farm. It was a total surprise—we weren’t praying for a farm—but the word came very clearly to my mind. By that time YWAM had several properties being used for missions training and outreach. I told our small group about this impression, and together we asked God to let us know whether it was from Him. My mind quickly went to work on the idea. I could see how a farm could be a great place to train young missionaries, as well as providing food for them and others. “Soon the word of the Lord was confirmed to one or two others in the prayer group. We finished our time by thanking God, and we trusted Him to bring it about. “The next day was Saturday, and as I headed out into a misty spring morning to jog, I passed by a farm near our school. An auction was going on, and all the farm implements were being sold off. Instantly I knew I was to do something—an act of faith to follow through on what the Lord had promised the day before. I went back quickly and got Joe Portale and Heinz Suter, two of our French-speaking staff. We returned to the auction in time to buy a wagon, a roll of barbed wire, and a milk-can . . . “That weekend, one of our European YWAMers went home to her parents for a visit. She told her dad, a Swiss Pastor, ‘God just told us we are going to have a farm!’ “Some parents might have been amused or even critical of such a statement, but this young woman’s father just happened to be on the board of a ministry that was situated on a beautiful farm (valued at over a million dollars at the time). The leaders of that ministry had been sensing for some time that their work was completed. They had been searching for three years for a Christian organization to give the farm to. “So we were given a million-dollar farm, free of charge. The biggest expenditure in getting it had been the one thousand Swiss francs I paid for the wagon, the roll of barbed wire, and the milk can! For twenty years now, this farm in Burtigny, Switzerland, has served as a place for discipling young people and providing food for many missions workers.”2 We all have “Jericho’s” in our lives, those seemingly impossible situations, but just as the Israelites, Simon Peter, Loren Cunningham and many others have found, we need to “put all our eggs in one basket” and trust God with those impossible needs. God is pleased when we move and act in faith and He loves to act on our behalf. God will fight our battles and meets our needs without us having to strive and struggle in despair and fear. All we need to do is put our faith
and hope in Him. Remember, it’s by faith we will see our prayers answered. Don’t allow stress or discouragement about your situation get you down, however hopeless things may seem. God loves to do the impossible! Believe in God despite what you don’t yet see. That is faith, and when you live by faith, you open the door for God to move in your life!