Joshua — 6 minute read
By: Allie Joy Hudson
The Age of Sexual Commodity
It only takes a few minutes of watching TV, scrolling on social media, or even examining some of the thought patterns lodged in our own minds to see three things that our postmodern culture prizes and flaunts: busyness, promoting our own self-interest, and the commodity of sex. These things have become so engrained in the fabric of our society that they can be hard to recognize, much less fight against well. The prospect of winning the war against lust feels overwhelming.
But when we look to Scripture, we find plenty of examples of godly men who honored the Lord. Though these individuals were still flawed, they oftentimes practiced simple habits that went a long way in strengthening their walk with God. When thinking of examples of men that have battled well and followed the Lord faithfully, one man that comes to mind is Joshua.
A Weird Battle Plan
When you think of Joshua from the Old Testament, whom do you picture? A strong leader? A confident conqueror? With a name that means “Yahweh is salvation,” Joshua would have had some big sandals to fill. Joshua successfully led the Israelites through a series of victories to claim the bountiful land that God had promised them.
One battle, though, stands out among the others. Joshua was put to the test in the very first Promised Land conflict: the battle of Jericho. This memorable conquest is documented in Joshua 6. The battle’s uniqueness comes from the way that God gives the city over into Israel’s hands. Rather than besieging or invading the city, God tells Israel to simply walk around Jericho’s perimeter for a week.
I can only imagine the thoughts running through Joshua’s mind each day as the Israelite camp slowly made its way around Jericho’s walls. What if the people of Jericho started shooting them down from the walls? Would Israel be humiliated? Would God come through?
Despite the doubt or fear that Joshua may have had, he still heeded God’s instructions. And the battle plan that God gave him proved successful. The final time around the city, the wall collapsed and the Israelites were able to run straight into Jericho to overtake it.
When I reflect on this epic story, I notice three things about the character of Joshua: (1) He is in-tune with the Lord, (2) obedient to God’s voice, and (3) consistent in his actions. Let’s unpack these qualities a bit.
“March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” (Joshua 6:3-5)
These were the plans that God gave Joshua for taking Jericho. They’re so obscure and specific, but Israel follows them, and it works! We know that these instructions could only have come from God.
What does this tell us about Joshua? It tells us that he was listening to the Lord. Only in being ready to hear from God could Joshua even begin to be a successful military leader.
Purity is hard, and learning from God’s warriors of the past will help us wage the right kind of warfare. As we fight, we need to be able to hear from Jesus. Let this challenge you like it challenged me. Are you listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, or are you actively ignoring His voice?
The Lord is faithful to rescue us from temptation. I believe that He does that in the very moment of struggle, but He also prepares us beforehand, when we aren’t actively being tempted, to be prepared to fight well. In both of these instances, listen to Him.
Receive and process His promptings: “Don’t scroll right now.” “Make sure you two aren’t alone together.” “Leave your laptop at work.” Be ready to listen and receive these strategies to help you win.
Related: How to Deal with Secret Lust
Simply Taking the Next Step
After you listen to Jesus’ voice, the next step is to obey Him. In the Joshua 6 passage, God gives Joshua his orders in verses three through five. Then, in verse six, Joshua calls the priests and army and tells them the plan. Once he hears from God, he acts quickly and rallies his troops.
Though obeying God after hearing from Him seems like a natural progression, it’s often much harder than we’d like to admit. But this in-between moment, the gap between listening and obeying, is critical. It serves as a test of our faithfulness and devotion to our Father. These moments are pivotal, and they usually pass before we recognize their significance.
When you have a sexual urge, feel your eyes tugging towards a second glance, or want to push things too far, remember the instructions you’ve already received, and choose to submit yourself to them.
Our obedience is pleasing to Christ. When we reject the empty promises of the flesh and rely on God, this honors Him. Over time, it gets easier and easier for us to look to Jesus in the midst of our struggle.
Paul writes in Romans 8: 13-14,
For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
We need to quickly resolve to say yes to Jesus and no to false gods and counterfeit goods. Use this pivotal moment of obedience as leverage against Satan. Act in the strength of Christ, and call out to your Father as His child in your time of need.
Consistency. When I was thinking about the Jericho story, this is the word that God kept bringing to my mind. There is a distinct routine and strategy to this martial victory. Joshua 6:12 says that Joshua wakes up early in the morning and leads the people on their route round Jericho. He does this every day for a week, believing that God will keep His word and make walls fall.
Personally, it’s very helpful for me to have at least a rough structure to my days. Lists are my friend. I find that when I don’t have something specific going on, someone to meet with, or a task to complete, it’s easier for me to fall into sin: seeking companionship in social media rather than God or other people, allowing anxious thoughts to creep in, not prioritizing my time with God, to name a few. An idle mind leaves room for idols to make a home.
Recognize what scenarios tend to trip you up the most, but also recognize patterns, schedules, and interactions that bring about victory over sexual sin in your life. Does it help you to rise early and begin your day in communion with Jesus? Do you need to put blocks on your phone to prevent mindless (or calculated) scrolling at certain times during the day? How often are you meeting with your accountability partner?
Establish these routines in your day and in your life. As Joshua woke up early each day to heed the instructions of the Lord, work to echo a similar pattern in your own life.
Following the Ark
I love that when the Israelites are marching around the walls, they’re following something very significant. At this point, they aren’t being led by a person, not even their courageous leader Joshua. They’re following the ark of the covenant, the picture of holiness, the presence of God with His people. In the daily routine of this strange battle, the Israelites have a very clear beacon to look to: the manifestation of the Lord in their midst.
We can only go so far when we try to listen and obey consistently in our own strength. It’s only when we look to God and receive His victory and embrace His presence with us that we have any power over sexual sin. And this looks like surrender. When we are weak, Jesus is ready and overjoyed to empower us. He loves you so deeply. Choose to follow Him now.
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Allie Joy Hudson is first and foremost a daughter of the King. She graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and minors in Spanish and Psychology. Allie completed her Senior Honors Thesis on the presentation of postmodern sexuality in short fiction and has also been published in two of Liberty University’s other online journals, The Kabod and Aidenn. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the viola, singing, musical theatre, photography, and Zumba. She is passionate about her ever-growing C.S. Lewis collection, cultivating relationships, and proclaiming truth in the twisted arena of postmodern sexuality. Allie was raised in Maryland and is overjoyed to be married to the love of her life.