Sometimes there is nothing left to do but take the next obedient step.
When strategizing and brainstorming comes to an end, when finances run dry, when a medical diagnosis isn’t good, when the weight of grief is too much to bear, sometimes there is nothing left to do but take the next obedient step.
Remember the Jericho story?
Joshua and the Israelites, slowly working their way to the Promised Land, have a tiny problem. Actually it’s a large, armed, walled problem.
Between them and where they need to be lies Jericho.
There are three ways to overtake a walled city. You can directly attack it, lay siege to it, or get in by some sort of ruse (“Oh, we got you this lovely Trojan horse!).
Surely Joshua pondered all these options. He had a strong army, but not as strong as Jericho’s. They could lay siege, but where would they get enough food and supplies to sustain their own people? A ruse could work, but what and how and when?
Then God showed up.
Joshua 6:2 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.
Fascinating that God speaks as if the city is already theirs. Not “I will deliver” but “I have delivered.”
I picture Joshua awaiting God’s next words. How would this truth come to be? Would it be a siege? A battle? Some sort of creative ruse that God would describe to him?
Joshua 6:3-5 “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.”
Um… what now? March and blow horns? What is this, The Music Man?
Joshua has a difficult choice here. He can obey and look foolish, or he can try to figure out his own way into the city.
There are only three ways to take a city. Only three human ways. There is a way Joshua couldn’t have come up with on his own. He couldn’t have strategized or brainstormed or financed his way into Jericho. This one is all God.
But God can’t do the marching. That’s Joshua’s job–to faithfully follow the instructions God has given to him.
He chooses to take one step of obedience at a time, trusting that God will do this impossible thing and deliver the city over to him.
So he marches. One obedient step at a time.
And do you know what? God does what he says he will do. Check out the rest of the story here.
We don’t often see the way forward. Things can feel impossible, exhausting, overwhelming, or all three at once. God doesn’t usually give us the full GPS directions. But he often gives us one small step of obedience at a time.
I’m working to take my next one.
What obedient step is God calling you to take?