On June 5, 1944 – the day before the Allied Forces stormed the beaches at Normandy – General George S. Patton gave a speech to the Third Army that left no room for failure:
I don’t want to get any messages saying, “I am holding my position.” We are not holding… We are advancing constantly, and we are not interested in holding on to anything… Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing, regardless of whether or not we have to go over, under, or through the enemy.
The Israelites must have felt the same way as they stood poised to follow Joshua into Canaan to fight for the land that God was giving them. It was the fulfillment of a promise made to Abraham 600 years earlier. (Genesis 15:16)
And it had been 40 years since they last stood on this very same spot with their parents, grandparents and Moses. Here they are – a new generation – ready to follow God and carry out His kingdom agenda.
But God’s preparations for battle are a bit bizarre, to put it mildly.
- March over a million people across the swollen banks of the Jordan without any boats, bridges or water wings.
- Gather all the warriors just days before the first battle and circumcise them.
- Enter that first battle by placing your musical instruments out front and marching around the fortified city.
From a Lower Story perspective this must have seemed like pure madness. But from God’s Upper Story perspective it made perfect sense.
God wanted to send a clear message to everyone involved, including the Israelites, that this victory was the result of His involvement and not because of their strength. The key to victory was found not in superior weapons and conventional strategy but in obedience.
No less than five times in the book of Joshua they were told: “Be strong and courageous.” Because God was fighting for them they had nothing to fear.
Be strong and courageous!
If you’re reading along in The Story be sure to read chapter(s) 8. If you’re unfamiliar with The Story then click on the page tab above and check it out.
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.