Mahalia Jackson is one of the most beloved Gospel singers in America’s history. She recorded some 30 albums, and vowed never to use her voice except to sing songs that honored God. One of her songs is “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho.” It celebrates Joshua’s victory over that ancient city. According to historians, Jericho’s walls were 25 feet high and 20 feet thick–a symbol of great military power and strength. Sadly, the city was rampant with child sacrifice, prostitution, and idolatry —practices that were anathema to God. God directed Joshua to put an end to the city, not because Israel was more holy than the Canaanites, but because God’s justice demanded it. God directed the priests and people to march around the city once each day for seven days. They were to carry the Ark as they marched. On the seventh day, they were to march around seven times. Joshua told the people that when they heard the long blast on the seventh day, all the people were to shout–to celebrate their victory. They followed his instructions to a “T,” and the city walls fell flat. The Ark they carried symbolized God’s presence and power to give them the victory. God’s presence in their midst has a timeless lesson for us. If we want to be victorious in our endeavors, we must seek and maintain God’s presence with us, and we must give God the credit for our achievements.
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