Now this I know: The LORD gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.
One of my indoor cats decided this week to go for an extended stay outside. He forgot to let me know where he was going and when he would be home.
So inconsiderate of him.
We didn’t see him slip out the back door as we took out the recycling and watered our vegetable garden. It wasn’t until I returned home from running errands all morning that I realized something was wrong. Only one cat (my massive black behemoth of a feline) greeted me at the door to see if I had brought home cat food.
After searching the house in all of his favorite hiding spots, I realized the truth—he wasn’t inside, so he must be out. That’s when I began calling his name and searching along the trees and brush on the edges of our yard. I peered underneath our deck and rattled some cat food in a dish to get his attention.
My kids and I prayed for him to come home. Well, most of my kids prayed. My youngest daughter had been worried about him all day and kept peeking under the beds or tables asking, “Oliver?” My middle girl declared, “He’s my buddy and I’d be sad if he didn’t come home.” They prayed.
My older daughter, however, said she thought we should get rid of his cat dish if he was lost forever and, by the way, if we just got rid of our other cat, perhaps we could get a puppy instead.
She’s not a cat person.
At church, I asked my Bible study girls to pray and then my daughters and I prayed again as we drove home. Once we pulled into my driveway, I drove extra slowly and asked the girls to keep a lookout for him.
That’s when my two-year-old screamed, “There he is. I find him!!”
I didn’t believe her at first. She’s the tiniest one of the bunch. How could she spot him so quickly? Still, I asked, “Where do you see him?”
“At the house. There!”
Sure enough, my striking orange cat was sitting up tall on the deck of our house just waiting for us to come home and let him inside. He was nonchalant about the whole thing, as if his return was never in question.
During our persistent prayers that evening, we didn’t know that God had already delivered the answer we had been seeking. We were praying for my cat’s return. He was already hanging out on the deck by our back door.
It was the same for the Israelites, poised on the outskirts of the Promised Land. Their first major obstacle to possessing the territory they had pursued for 40 years now loomed large in front of them, daunting, impenetrable, impossible. A walled city. Jericho.
We’re told, “now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in” (Joshua 6:1).
Yet, it was just at this moment, in the shadow of those thick walls with closed gates, that the “Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands'” (Joshua 6:2, NIV).
The Message says it this way: “Look sharp now. I’ve already given Jericho to you.” (Joshua 6:2 MSG).
It’s the tiniest matter of grammar, the simple fact of the past tense here that draws my attention. God didn’t say, “I’m going to give Jericho to you” or “In about a week, the walls will fall down and you’ll win the day.”
No, God already declared the victory. “I have delivered Jericho.” “I’ve already given Jericho to you.”
It’s a done deal, a finished conquest, a promise, an assertion of fact that the Israelites couldn’t yet see.
They saw the towering walls still standing and blocking their entrance into the Promised Land.
God saw the walls crumbled into pieces and scattered on the ground at the feet of His people.
Then, after declaring that the victory was already theirs, God gave them instructions on how to achieve it. He described the crazy march, the circumventing of the city for seven days. He instructed them to shout after that final foolish-looking journey around Jericho. He declared that the walls would collapse and the Hebrew army would march into the city.
There are some promises we’re waiting to see fulfilled, some prayer requests we’ve brought to God’s feet year after year, and it’s hard to maintain what seems like impossible hope in the light of circumstantial evidence and walls that never seem to fall.
Yet, perhaps God has already declared your victory. He sees what you do not: The battle finished and the walls toppled over like a block tower sabotaged by a toddler.
This is why we do not lose hope, because God will be faithful to deliver the victories He has promised us. He has declared it. The battle is already won.
So we obey the instructions He gives, no matter how foolish-looking, crazy-sounding or wildly imaginative they may seem. March and shout as He instructs and watch the tiniest gravel start the avalanche that brings down the impenetrable fortress of your circumstances.
If you’re just standing at the walls looking up, don’t lose hope in God’s ability to grant you victory. Leave the battle in His hands and wait for the rocks to come tumbling down.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.