The Walls of Jericho

Willow Creek | June 8, 2021

Pastor Dave launched our new series this past weekend, Courage Calling: Lessons from Joshua, with a message called “Courage for Your Calling.” In his message, Dave told us about Joshua, and how God had called him to take over from Moses and lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. In calling Joshua, God told him seven times to be “strong and courageous.” God knew there would be battles ahead and that Joshua would need every ounce of strength and courage in him to make it through. 


Joshua’s first task as leader was to take down Jericho, a well-established fortified city with a history of survival. Historians tell us Jericho is one of the oldest cities of all time, a claim only possible with a strong reputation, strong army, and strong walls. And what did God call Joshua to do? To take courage and to take that city. But God said more: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). God commanded Joshua to seemingly impossible tasks, but He also said He would never leave him on his own.


Like Joshua’s, our callings can be absolutely terrifying. For our recent grads, some of them might hear a calling to a different city, state, or country to study or work, leaving family and home behind. Others of us might hear a calling to change jobs, which can be daunting in an economy that’s trying to get back on its feet. Some of us might hear a calling to adopt, but how do you raise a child from a different person and background? Our callings can seem confusing, strenuous, and exasperating, but God reminds us just like He reminded Joshua: I will be with you wherever you go.


Knowing God is with you–and believing that truth–takes strength and courage in itself because it doesn’t take much for doubt to take root: What if I take a chance and fail? What if I can’t make the money I need? What if I can’t find a job? I wonder the doubts Joshua had: What if the walls don’t fall? What if we fail and the people rebel against me as leader? What if I can’t live up to Moses’ example? When we focus on ourselves, we lose focus of God and His truths. Answering His call isn’t always easy, and He knows that, that’s why He said to Joshua seven times “be strong and courageous.” 


Let’s turn our eyes from ourselves to Him. Let’s take Him at His Word. He won’t leave us. He won’t abandon us. And not only that, He’s won victories for us in the past. Like the Israelites, they could look back and see God in the plagues, the parting of the sea, the water from the rock; we have our own victories to look back on. When wasn’t there hope when He gave you hope? When man said “no,” where did God say “yes?” When weren’t you in want when you should have been? Remember what He’s done, because He’s ready to do it again.


When we hear His calling, and it’s making us fearful to our core, let’s take courage and remember He is with us and He’s won for us before; He’s ready to take us to something greater. He never says it will be easy, but He does say, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5b). Now, do we trust Him enough to answer His call?