For most people, walls are good things. They give us homes, schools, and offices. They provide us privacy, shelter, and protection. They keep us warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
In salvation history, however, walls often represent barriers, both natural and supernatural, that must be overcome. There is no way over them, under them, or around them. They stare you in the face, and they dare you to try.
The walls of Jericho
When the Israelites finally entered the Promised Land, not to survey it but to occupy it, their first obstacle was the walled city of Jericho. The city was fortified, and its defenders were well trained and well supplied. For the descendants of Jacob, who were just finishing a grueling forty years of wandering in the desert, successfully attacking Jericho and vanquishing its armed occupants must have seemed like a cruel joke being played by an uncaring God.
For the Israelites, that is, but not for God.
Since the beginning of time, God has been trying to teach us lessons that go far beyond our human struggles and our individual lives. For the Israelites at that moment in time, God needed them to know that He was always with them and that everything they needed would be theirs if they trusted Him.
You probably remember the story. God told Joshua to have the Ark of the Covenant, the priests, and the people march around the city of Jericho once a day for six days, and, on the seventh day, to march around the city seven times and then for the people to shout to the Lord to demonstrate not military strength but humility before God. And on that seventh day, having followed God’s words, the Israelites watched as the walls fell and the city was destroyed (Joshua 6:1-27).
In the Army, I learned that the most dangerous position in an Infantry unit on the field of battle is the “point.” Moving in a wedge formation as part of small unit tactics, the first person to encounter the enemy, or a booby trap, or a minefield, is the soldier on the point.
But that is exactly where God wants to be for us.
When we encounter the most difficult of life’s battles, God isn’t somewhere behind us in a bunker of disengaged holiness. He is right there with us, slogging through the muck and mire of our lives in this fallen world.
He picks us up when we fall.
He carries us when we can’t go on.
He is, in short, unstoppable.
The walls of Calvary
More than thirteen hundred years after the Israelites learned at Jericho that all things are possible with God, two other sets of walls presented an even more daunting task. Jesus of Nazareth, believed to be the Messiah and Son of God, had been crucified. This time the walls were not of a fortified city but of a tomb. A cold, dark tomb. And the final wall was death itself.
This time, there were no priests or prophets to sound the charge. There was no pillar of cloud by day or pillar of fire by night. Just a tomb sealed with a large stone and guarded by soldiers (Matthew 27:57-66). There seemed to be no way in – and, worst of all, no way out.
But, with God, all things were still possible.
On the day we now call Resurrection Sunday, Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
The walls of the tomb could not hold Him.
The walls of death could not stop Him.
And the rest – praise God! – is history.
What this means for you
It is easy to miss the lessons of Jericho and Calvary as they apply to us today. Perhaps we see those events as too far removed in time. Perhaps we see them as involving miracles too far beyond our reach.
But the God who destroyed the walls of stone at Jericho and then destroyed the walls of death at Calvary is the same God who loves you more than you can imagine.
Just as He wanted the Promised Land for the Israelites, He wants Heaven for you.
Just as He wanted new life for His Son, He wants eternal life for you.
And there is nothing on earth or in hell itself that can stop Him from loving you.
-- Dr. John Morris