I should have seen this coming but I guess I was blindsided. A situation came up recently that left me shaking my head. I counted all the ways in which this familiar path is one I have walked countless times before. Why am I going through this again? What is it that I am supposed to learn this time that I have not learned the last three hundred times before? Can you relate? Every now and then we get handed the same bowl of lemons we had last week and we are expected to make dessert because we are just plain sick of lemonade. Why is it necessary to go through the same problem over and over again? Joshua, Chapter 6 tells the story of an army that was told to solve their problem simply by repetition. They were commanded to march around the city of Jericho for six days and then wait for instruction. There was a method to God’s madness that we can all learn from.
In verse 10, Joshua told the people to remain silent until further notice. The first thing we need to do is stop talking. There are two reasons for this. First, when we are not silent we cannot hear God. During this time of trial we have a wonderful opportunity to get to know Him better. When we really stop and listen we could learn some fascinating things about ourselves and our sovereign Lord. When faced with a difficulty our first inclination is to complain and gripe. After that we beg or bargain. Anger usually comes strolling in right about the time we think we have had enough. Eventually we come to the sanctuary of acceptance. God is telling us that this is actually supposed to be our first stop. Zip the lip and simply trust. Be still and know that He is God. When we are silent we rebuke any form of negativity and allow God to be in His rightful place.
The second thing we need to do is appreciate the power of repetition. By allowing us to go through the same problem over and over again, God has a specific purpose in mind. He wants us to learn to trust and obey. It is a bit like practicing for a recital. While the act of practicing can be tedious and exhausting, it produces results. The instrument or dance step we are trying to learn is perfected the more times we go over it. When practicing a new song, a singer oftentimes starts out rough. The notes don’t sound right, she has to find the right key, and the timing may need some work. The more she practices, the more the song comes together. The notes find their way to perfect harmony and the song becomes a beautiful act of worship for its creator. So it is with us. Repetition should ultimately lead to worship.
I am convinced that worship is the solution to every problem. When we praise God, our minds are focused on Him and we can have peace. Worship teaches obedience, it silences negativity, and it draws us closer to Him during difficult times. It makes every mountain seem small in comparison to the vastness of God.
On the seventh day, Joshua’s army marched around the city for the last time. When their praises erupted, Jericho’s walls could no longer stand and they crumbled in defeat. I am walking a path I have been down many times before. Today I choose to be silent and wait for the day when my Jericho’s walls will surrender to my praises.