Principles of Obedience
Joshua 6:1-20 (New American Standard Bible)
The Conquest of Jericho
1Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel; no one went out and no one came in. 2The LORD said to Joshua, "See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors. 3"You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for six days.
4"Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5"It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead."
6So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, "Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD."
7Then he said to the people, "Go forward, and march around the city, and let the armed men go on before the ark of the LORD." 8And it was so, that when Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the LORD went forward and blew the trumpets; and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them.
9The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while they continued to blow the trumpets.
10But Joshua commanded the people, saying, "You shall not shout nor let your voice be heard nor let a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I tell you, 'Shout!' Then you shall shout!" 11So he had the ark of the LORD taken around the city, circling it once; then they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp.
12Now Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.
13The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually, and blew the trumpets; and the armed men went before them and the rear guard came after the ark of the LORD, while they continued to blow the trumpets. 14Thus the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp; they did so for six days.
15Then on the seventh day they rose early at the dawning of the day and marched around the city in the same manner seven times; only on that day they marched around the city seven times. 16At the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, "Shout! For the LORD has given you the city.
17"The city shall be under the ban, it and all that is in it belongs to the LORD; only Rahab the harlot and all who are with her in the house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. 18"But as for you, only keep yourselves from the things under the ban, so that you do not covet them and take some of the things under the ban, and make the camp of Israel accursed and bring trouble on it.
19"But all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD."
20So the people shouted, and priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city.
Obedience is a fundamental part of the Christian life. Peter's interaction with Jesus by the Sea of Galilee illustrates three important principles.
First, compliance in small matters has eternal significance and leads to blessings from God. A seemingly small act, like loaning a boat to Jesus, resulted in Peter becoming a fisher of men.
Second, following Jesus is always beneficial to others. Peter's action made it possible for more people to hear Jesus' words of truth and life. Later, when Peter lowered his nets back into the water at Jesus' request, his obedience meant a big catch for his coworkers. In a similar way, when we live out biblical principles, our families are enriched. And those within our circle of influence are encouraged to follow our example.
As we give testimony of how God responds to our obedience with goodness, others may be motivated to seek after Jesus.
Third, God may tell us to respond or act in ways that make little sense. God told Noah to build an ark. He instructed Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. And He directed Joshua to conquer Jericho through silent marching followed by shouting. All of these men agreed to God's plan, even though it didn't make sense. Their trust in God overruled any concerns and led to great reward.
God has a plan for our eternal good, and it's foolish not to obey Him. Like Peter, we have no idea what God will do in and through us if we commit to living a life of obedience.
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