When You Are Up Against a Wall
July 11, 2004
ILLUS: I joined the Air Force in August of 1963. When I arrived in San Antonio, Texas, for basic training, I got off the plane at about 7:00 a.m. The sun was just coming up. It looked so huge and hot...and it was hot. It was hot and humid. About 4 hours earlier, I had boarded the plan in Oakland. It was a cool 68 degrees. What a contrast.
Without going into much detail about the first few days of orientation and my adjustment to military life, the day came for the obstacle course...a grueling day of pain and suffering, lots of sweating and pushing of limits by our drill instructors.
As I remember it, the "wall" was the first obstacle. I can't remember exactly how high the wall was, but I would say somewhere around 7 or 8 feet. Keep in mind; this is called an "obstacle course." Nothing was made easy. We were required to jump up from a prone position on the ground, charge the wall, jump for the top of the wall and attempt to scale it.
I am proud to say, I made it over on my first attempt. That was exactly 100 pounds and 42 years ago.
We then went on to several other obstacles, and then came to another wall. This time it was a cliff. The cliff was about 50 feet high. The only way up the cliff was with a rope. I made it!
What did that obstacle course teach me? It taught me that with some effort and determination, I could climb a wall and I could climb a cliff. They were obstacles, but obstacles that could be conquered if I was willing to give it my best shot.
Our message this morning comes from the story of Joshua and his challenge at Jericho. Joshua and God's people, Israel, were up against a wall.
Jericho was surrounded by a system of two massive stone walls. The outer wall was 6 ft. thick and about 20 ft. high. The inner wall was about 12 ft. thick and was 30 ft. high. Between the walls was a guarded walkway about 15 ft. wide.
I have been to Jericho ...
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