The miracle of the fallen walls of Jericho recorded in Joshua 5-6 is among the most familiar Old Testament stories. The Israelites marching around the walls, the trumpets and shouting, and the “against all odds” disintegration of an up-until-then impenetrable barrier all serve as reminders of God’s faithfulness to those who trust Him.

One aspect of these events, however, stands out to me above all else in this account. Consider it in context from Joshua 6:15-20: “On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord…keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them…All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.’ When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.

Did you catch it—the “pregnant pause” Joshua inserts between the seventh time around and the people’s eventual shout? After days of marching and waiting, Joshua reaches the big moment, then calls a sort of “time out” to give the team some guidelines: “Now, WHEN you shout and these walls fall, here are your instructions….”

What is challenging for me is Joshua’s anticipation of God’s promised outcome. He doesn’t tell the people to shout, then turn and wait for the walls to fall, then turn back to the people and say, “well, look at that—God came through! Ok, here are the instructions….” No! Joshua is so sure that God will keep His promise that, before the walls fall, he pauses to give post-fall directions. In faith, he is treating the “about to happen” as if it has already occurred!

It reminds me of the Hebrews 11:1 definition of faith: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” The anticipatory certainty exhibited by Joshua is just one of many biblical portraits of this posture of “faith as confidence in God’s promises applied forward.”

I believe this is what Paul is getting at in a passage that might at first seem perplexing—1 Corinthians 7:29-31: “What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.

Paul is not suggesting we simply jettison our spouses, or ignore our emotions, or throw away our stuff. Instead, he is calling us to view all life realities from a perspective of anticipatory faith, processing our present experiences through the lens of the absolutely guaranteed future that is ours in Jesus.

May that guaranteed future be the source of great hope, joy, and confidence in the days to come as you march around the walls of your life in anticipation of God’s promised victory.

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