It never ceases to amaze me, how while reading scripture I will be “transported” in my ‘mind’s eye’ of a memory from our lives as a missionary family living in Southern Rhodesia – now called Zimbabwe.
This was the case today as I was reading about the Children of Israel marching around the walls of Jericho in Joshua chapter 20. I began to visualize what must have been going through their minds during the time of what appeared to be senseless trudging around the walls of Jericho, with no visible results. I am sure though, there were many among them that trusted Joshua enough to have anticipation building in their hearts that God was unfolding His master plan.
This reminded me of a long climb our family used to make when I was a child. The city of Bulawayo was about an 80 mile drive for us from the Gobatema Mission Station. There were occasions that we needed to make the journey for supplies. Back in the 1940’s our road started out as a bush track, then turned to a badly corrugated bone shaking dirt road, then closer to Bulawayo, the first signs of civilization was a tarred strip road.
Sometimes we would stay a couple of days and there was one special place Dad would take us to – the World’s View at Matopos Hills. To this day they are a National Heritage site due to the history that echoes from their rugged bush and huge granite rocky out-crops.
They are remarkable for their unusual scenery and the diversity of their flora and fauna. They are also a focal point of much of Zimbabwe’s history and prehistory. High on one of the rugged hills is the grave of Cecil John Rhodes who was the founder of Southern Rhodesia, along with other leading early settlers.
The hills were also the scene of the famous “indaba” (negotiations) between Cecil Rhodes and Ndebele leaders in 1896.
Cecil Rhodes and several other leading early settlers are buried on the summit of Malindizimu, which means the “hill of the spirits”. Cecil Rhodes also built the Shangani monument on top of what is now referred to as, “World’s view”, within sight of his final resting place, in honor of Allan Wilson and the men who fell to the Ndebele at Shangani in 1893.
So much history was made in these hills and it was an “educational” visit for us Wilson children. We would drive the bush track to the base of the Malindizimu Summit; then armed with a picnic basket and plenty of water the family would start the challenging hike to the summit. It was a hard rocky climb which meant we had to watch each step that we took. Many “water breaks” were taken as we were baking under the scorching African sun. During these water breaks Dad would tell us tidbits of what lay before us and around each corner, so anticipation began to build to see who would be the first to reach the summit! It was always a “race to the top” and what a spectacular view rewarded our exhausting climb. The excitement racing through our bodies was expressed by a huge shout of victory! We had conquered the summit, our goal had been reached!
It had been worth the long trip and torturous climb; now we could rest in the shade of the boulders surrounding the famous grave and take in the stunning view while munching on delicious sandwiches.
Think about the Israelites – they had waited 40 YEARS to shout the victory cry! Now they’re at the goal. For six days they had followed God’s commands and had marched silently around Jericho, with only the sounds of trumpets blown by the priests. Now it was the seventh day.
Imagine the suspense . . . would God himself appear to tear down the walls?
Would the inhabitants of Jericho surrender without a fight?
Would the Israelites make the right play?
Then the long wait was over; God gave the go-ahead: Sound the trumpets; shout for victory, and the walls of the city will collapse.
Joshua 6:20 (NKJV) “So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.”
Just as God promised, “the trumpets sounded, the army shouted,” and victory was theirs. The Israelites conquered the city of Jericho, finally claiming their rightful place in the Promised Land. The Israelites must have felt so relieved to claim a victory after so many years of waiting and preparing!
Can you relate?
Have you been feeling that you are in a holding pattern, that your circumstances are not changing?
Do you long to have resolution, to have even a small victory?
Let me encourage you my friends; God IS working even while you are waiting. Think of this time of waiting as a process that will eventually culminate in a victory.
In the meantime, remain faithful and know that God is there with you, preparing you for the battles, goals and victories to come.