It was just before dawn. Close to a million people stood silently at attention, waiting for the signal. Looming above them in the dissipating darkness was a thick wall, forbidding and impenetrable. It surrounded a city containing thousands of people who were unalterably opposed to the aims of the mostly unarmed marchers below.
It was a classic situation. An irresistible force against an immovable object – nothing apparently could move the city out of the way.
Suddenly, just as the sun’s first rays illuminated the eastern sky, the unnerving sound of a ram’s horn rang out. In an instant, the million-man army began to move. At the head of the procession were some soldiers, followed by a small group of priests and the Ark of the Covenant, between this army and their God. Behind the Ark were a few more soldiers, and then an unbroken line of ordinary, untrained citizens completely committed to the task before them. Nearly a million marchers – still absolutely silent – began a seven-day campaign circling the city behind its tall, thick wall of resistance.
You surely know what happened. For seven days, as the inhabitants of Jericho watched from above, the marchers tramped around the city, the only sound the frequent blasts from the rams’ horns. On the seventh day, the Israelites marched around Jericho seven times – and then the leaders blew a very loud, long sound, and a million people shouted to high heaven, literally.
And the whole giant wall fell at once, tumbling in cataclysmic rushes to a scattered pile of rubble! And the people of Israel rushed in and took over the city.
Many years later, in the land that these marchers secured for Israel, King Hezekiah and his administration were themselves surrounded in Jerusalem and threatened by the huge army from Assyria. It was almost the reverse of the situation in Jericho – with one vital difference. This time God was on the side of the inhabitants, not the ones who wanted to take over.
When King Hezekiah cried out to God and he and the people fasted and prayed, knowing they couldn’t survive without His divine intervention, God answered, speaking through the prophet Isaiah directly to the Assyrians who were mocking Him and his people:
Because of your raging against me and your arrogance, which I have heard myself, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. I will make you return by the same road on which you came. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s armies will make this happen! For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.
And the record in the book of 2 Kings 19 says, “That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers!” The marauding king slunk back to Nineveh and stayed there.
Hezekiah and the people of Israel didn’t have to fight – militarily – at all! They simply went out and collected the vast spoils, the result of their God’s amazing victory.
But they did fight – spiritually. And that’s my point.
In both the triumphs detailed above, though there was carnage and violence, the weapons and strategies were spiritual. And they were victorious because they depended primarily on their belief in God, who rules over all things, and who declares His nearness to those who approach Him in sincere faith.
Today, right now, in the almost unprecedented grass-roots uprising against the determined policies of a president who has declared to the world “America is no longer a Christian nation,” a growing army of citizens who are predominantly Christian by a huge majority are assembling, and marching, and shouting their opposition to his policies.
I can’t escape the comparison, the similarity between the threats that faced the people of Israel and those that face the people of America right now.
They faced entrenched, implacable forces who arrogantly defied them, impugning and deriding their efforts. So do we.
They were threatened with a complete takeover and domination by people who saw them only a ripe prize to be taken, a “crisis too good to waste,” and who felt their power was too invincible to be resisted. And so are we.
Are there unmistakable similarities? And could the citizen victory be won in a similar way? I’m certain of it. And that’s why I issue this “call to arms.”
My arms? The citizen’s arms? Yes, but much more importantly, God’s arms. I’m calling for upraised arms and fervent appeals to the same God who gave repeated victories to His people Israel.
As He promised resoundingly, “If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their own wicked ways … I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.”
Over 85 percent of Americans describe ourselves as “God’s people,” and we are called by His Son’s name (the president’s disclaimer to the contrary). We’re “One nation under God” and proclaim on our currency “In God We Trust.”
In our own past terrible crises, we have humbled ourselves, and prayed fervently, seeking the very face and power of the living God, confessing our own inherent wickedness – and He has heard, and forgiven, and healed!
In recent weeks, millions of us have been stirred to gather in public places, at town hall meetings and outside congressional offices. And on Sept. 12 of this year, a concerned but civil crowd stretching from the doorsteps of Congress down the national Mall toward the Washington Monument – reliably estimated (not by liberal media) at over 1 million strong – gathered to protest a liberal government takeover and demand the individual liberties our forefathers gave us in the Constitution.
The marching has begun. It is gaining momentum. People, too long silent, are being heard. The rams’ horns – the shofars – are sounding, louder and louder. And I pray, I urge, that this call to arms will be, like that of Israel’s people long ago, primarily a spiritual one. It is the one with overcoming power.
In days immediately ahead, we should be able to shout: “Sing a new song to the Lord, for He has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; His holy arm has shown his saving power!” – Psalm 98