In ancient times, fortified cities would have had walls as high as 20 feet and as thick as 8 feet, with double or triple gates and there would be guards standing in towers high upon the walls. They would be on standby to prepare to shoot arrows, pour hot oil, or release boulders on any of their enemies who tried to climb or break through the wall. These cities could literally withstand a siege for months on end given a sufficient food and water supply.
Jericho was believed to be fortified by a double ring of walls, with the outer wall having a thickness of 6 feet and the inner, 12 feet. And since Jericho was built on a hill, it could be conquered only by mounting a steep incline, which would obviously put the Israelites at quite the disadvantage.
Now Jericho [a fortified city with high walls] was tightly closed because [of the people’s fear] of the sons of Israel; no one went out or came in. The Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the mighty warriors. Now you shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do this [once each day] for six days. Also, seven priests shall carry seven trumpets [made] of rams’ horns ahead of the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. When they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall cry out with a great shout (battle cry); and the wall of the city will fall down in its place, and the people shall go up, each man [going] straight ahead [climbing over the rubble].”
– Joshua 6:1-5 (AMP)
From the onset, Joshua was leading in confidence knowing that God had ‘given Jericho into his hand.’ Jericho was theirs. And I love that even in the instruction, God says “and the wall of the city will fall down in its place, and the people shall go up, each man [going] straight ahead [climbing over the rubble], almost reminding them of the fact that they are fighting from a place of victory and not for victory. The wall is in it’s correct positioning when it’s on the ground. In fact, when it’s in its rightful place, they can actually climb over it with ease. It doesn’t mean they don’t have to do the work. It doesn’t mean they get to sit back and relax because they know it’s theirs anyway. But it does keep them reminded of the fact that victory is assured, even when the city in front of them might look unconquerable.
I recently started seeing a psychotherapist. He’s quite literally my least favourite and favourite person all at the same time, and I’ve only known him a few weeks. – I swear the Holy Spirit tells him everything. Especially the things I don’t want talk to about. Which I’m not quite sure if I appreciate that or not. – And one of the things we’ve been working through has been my tendency to self isolate. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I LOVE people. I’m in my element whenever I’m hanging out with people. Good chats. Laughing. Eating. Whatever. I’m always down! But for the past few months, that hasn’t been the case. Any form of socialising has honestly been unpleasant to say the least. I don’t know why (yet) but it’s become such an overwhelming and exhausting experience. Being around or even chatting to people is now easily my least favourite thing to do.
So you can imagine how lockdown has been the dream for me! I’ve barely spoken to people. I sometimes go for days without using my WhatsApp or replying to social media messages. I often even go as a far as watching my phone ring until it stops (I know). So I don’t know how many times this sweet man has had to say to me “It’s okay to take time out for yourself. But there’s a difference between self-care and self-isolation,” with something scriptural to back it. (See! He makes it so difficult for you to be like “Mxm” because you can’t argue with Jesus and the Truth that is the Word. I mean you can, but you’re not gonna get anywhere.)
Now before each session, I have to tally up the amount of times, during the week, that I completed a task on this ‘Self-Care Task List’ he created. Which is basically a long list of things like sitting in the sun for an hour, trying a new recipe, dancing to my favourite music for 30 minutes or taking a bubble bath. They seem easy to do. But they’re really not. And obviously one of the tasks I really didn’t like was the one that involved doing something out of my comfort zone, which for me looked like ‘catching up’ with someone I knew.
Over the past week, I’ve caught up with a total of THREE people! I know that sounds incredibly underwhelming, but for me that’s been a crazy big win! Sure I didn’t initiate them, but I said ‘yes’ AND I showed up. And I know there’s still a lot to overcome. But man! These small wins have started to make the prospect of winning the fight for my mental health seem a little more achievable. It’s been pretty helpful to go about healing with someone who knows what they’re doing, even if I don’t get it. Because I tend to be on some “Yeah! Let’s gooooo!” and then get overwhelmed along the way because it’s one big chunk of problem. But I’m charging and trying to conquer the city with no real game plan except, ‘attack’.
I love how God gives the Israelites the most uncomplicated battle strategy. I love how it doesn’t even involve this huge battle with arrows and things and people flying everywhere. And I love how all they needed was themselves, their instruments, their voices and the presence of the Lord (Ark of the Covenant).
The size of the fortified city they wanted to conquer didn’t charge. It was still big and they knew it wasn’t going to be an easy win. But I love how God gives them a strategy that doesn’t involve sizing their enemy up. In fact, they don’t even engage with Jericho. They deal with the everyday task given to them. An everyday task that almost seemed unrelated to their victory, and resulted in them going back every night with the walls still in place for 6 whole days.
To you who is reading this; Do not beat yourself up for not being in the future you believe God has promised you. Take a step back and realise that you might not be on the mountain top, yes, but you’re no longer on the ground either. Trust His process. In fact, rest in His process. Celebrate that small win. And keep fighting to and through the next one. Even if no one sees it. Even if it looks like it’s not making a difference. And even if you don’t see how trying a new recipe has any bearing on your thought patterns becoming healthier.
For 7 days, the Israelites had to take seemingly small, seemingly insignificant and seemingly pointless steps. I can imagine how they might have thought this was silly. I can imagine how they might have gone back to the camp every night on some “Guys. Wait. What are we actually doing?” And I can even imagine that they might have questioned how marching around a city and the blowing of trumpets and a battle cry would render the results they were hoping for. It was strange. It was not how they usually did it. I bet the people in Jericho thought they were completely out of their minds.
But, the walls of Jericho still fell.