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Closer than you think

Can you imagine what would have happened if the Israelites had marched around Jericho six days and then stopped marching? You see, the directive was to walk six, then on the seventh they were to walk around seven times, stop and shout as the ram's horns were being sounded. The walls were high, the enemy on the other side of the walls seemed impossible for them to take. They had the vision of what they wanted, but all that stood in their way were obstacles and that is what they focused on so strongly - those walls. Sometimes we are stuck staring at the obstacles and we forget about the vision of what is just beyond those walls. We stop short of the goal because we only see the barrier in our way.

Jericho was shut up tight as a drum because of the People of Israel: no one going in, no one coming out. God spoke to Joshua, “Look sharp now. I’ve already given Jericho to you, along with its king and its elite forces. Here’s what you are to do: March around the city, all your soldiers. Circle the city once. Repeat this for six days. Have seven priests carry seven ram’s horn trumpets in front of the Chest. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, the priests blowing away on the trumpets. And then, a long blast on the ram’s horn—when you hear that, all the people are to shout at the top of their lungs. The city wall will collapse at once. All the people are to enter, every man straight on in.” (Joshua 6:1-5)

God certainly sees what is on the other side of those barriers - even when we do not. We might feel a little bit like God has forgotten us - the barriers are too large for us to overcome. Why is it we think we need to remove the barriers on our own. The Israelites were told to get up each day and march once around the city of Jericho - nothing seeming to happen to the walls. The first day they would have been pumped and ready to occupy the city. The second one they would have probably been just as exciting, but by the fifth can you imagine the 'excitement' and 'faith' beginning to wane a little? Think about the sixth - nothing had happened yet, so why even bother to get up, let alone march?

We all have been there so many times in our lives - the private battles rage and we only see the barriers ahead of us - having marched so many times around those walls. We only see the walls - our progress doesn't look all that obvious to us as we stand there in front of those obstacles. If you have ever been asked by God to do something time and time again, not really understanding what he was doing in those actions you were taking, you might not have seen what was happening as you did. Now think about the end of those actions - did you focus on the barrier then? No! You focused on the reward - the thing that stood on the other side of the barrier.

There are just times when we need to take the laps until we see the reward - even when we see no progress in the steps we are taking. What might be happening is that we are having our faith built, but it might also be true that God is showing us there is progress being made even when we don't see it. God wants us to learn to depend upon him even when we don't see the results. If you haven't realized it yet, I often focus on what God does on the inside when we cannot even see it - then all of a sudden, the outside seems to take shape. God focuses on what we do in the six days, but we focus on what will happen on the seventh. He is focused on the process, we are focused on the results. Maybe we just need to march again - one more lap around. We don't know the end from the beginning, but as long as we keep on marching, focusing more on him and less on the barrier in our way, the more our faith will be built. Just sayin!

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