"THE WALLS CAME TUMBLING DOWN"
"…The people shouted with a great shyout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people wnet up into the city…and they took the city" (Josh. 6:20)
INTRO.: A song which takes the account of the conquest of Jericho by the Israelites under Joshua and applies the principles for us today is "The Walls Came Tumbling Down" (#655 in Hymns for Worship Revised). The text was written and the tune was composed both by G. A. Thacker (late 19th–early 20th c.). I have been unable to find any further information about this individual or about the background of the song. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it may be found in the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise edited by Alton H. Howard; in addition to Hymns for Worship. The latter says, "Copyright 1949, Renewal, Stamps-Baxter Music, owners." At that time, a copyright could be renewed 28 years after the initial copyright was filed, so if the copyright was renewed in 1949, it would mean that the original copyright was filed in 1921, and Songs of Faith and Praise concurs with that by giving the date of 1921 for the song. A search through many other old songbooks in my collection did not turn up any other occurrences of the song. An internet search did reveal the titles of a couple of other songs written by G. A. Thacker, "Throughout the Sweet Bye and Bye" and "The Hand of God is Writing," listed on a website project that had a collection of songs called Glory Special.
I did find the following discussion on another website. A person wrote, "I am looking for the title and lyrics to the song that contains some of the following: ‘And God told Joshua to go to Jericho and march seven times around….’ The chorus goes something like this: ‘Yes the w-a-l-l-s came tumbling down.’" Someone responded by quoting the first two stanzas and the chorus, but apparently from memory because the second stanza is given thus: "If you are trusting in the power of the Lord ?????? Just follow faithfully the blessed Lord’s command and your walls will tumble down." Still another replied, "The second verse is: If you will trust in the power of the Lord and you hope to wear a crown, Just follow faithfully the blessed Lord’s command, walls of doubt will tumble down." One other person wrote, "I just noticed this post. I remembered singing this in Sunday school as a little girl in Alabama. I now teach Sunday school, and have wondered if there were more lyrics. The only part I remembered was just a little different. Our first verse went: Well the Lord told Joshua to go to Jericho and march seven times around. Well, he obeyed His orders and he went to Jericho and the walls came tumbling down. Guess it differs some as time passes and different areas of the country. Regardless, this has blessed me and now I can teach ALL of it to my kids at Sunday school. Thanks again. Isn’t it amazing how a simple song can bring back so many memories."
The song uses a Biblical event to teach us a couple of very important spiritual points.
I. Stanza 1 is about the story of the fall of Jericho
"The Lord told Joshua to go to Jericho,
And to march seven times around;
He followed faithfully the blessed Lord’s command,
And the walls came tumbling down."
A. In the conquest of Canaan, the very first place the Lord told Joshua and the Israelites to go was Jericho: Josh. 6:1-2
B. God’s plan was for them to march around the city once a day for six days, then on the seventh day march around it seven times: Josh. 6:3-4
C. God’s promise was that when they faithfully followed His command, the walls would come tumbling down: Josh. 6:5
II. Stanza 2 is addressed to doubting saints
"If you are trusting in the power of the blood,
And you hope to wear a crown,
Go forward quickly, and obey the holy word;
Walls of doubt will tumble down."
A. As Christians we trust in the power of the blood because it is through Christ’s blood that we have redemption: Eph. 1:7
B. Because of this, we hope to wear a crown: Jas. 1:12
C. However, sometimes walls of doubt are used by the devil to keep us from our goal, so to make those walls of come tumbling down, we must continue to obey the Lord to receive His eternal salvation: Heb. 5:8-9
III. Stanza 3 is addressed to lost sinners
"The Lord is calling, sinner, come to Him today;
Turn from this vain world’s renown.
If you will follow Him in faith, like Joshua,
Walls of sin will tumble down."
A. The Lord calls sinners to come to Him today: Matt. 11:28-30
B. To do this, those who are lost must turn from this vain world’s renown in repentance: Acts 17:30-31
C. Then they must follow Him in faith because it is when people obey from the heart that form of doctrine to which they have been delivered that walls of sin will tumble down and they are made free from sin: Rom. 6:17-18
CONCL.: The chorus reminds us how that God blessed the obedience of the Israelites at Jericho.
"Yes the walls came tumbling down;
Joshua marched seven times ’round.
Then the walls came tumbling down,
And the walls came tumbling down."
We need to understand the great power of God, that when we obey His will, no obstacle can be too great for us to overcome and conquer, just as when Joshua led the Israelites against Jericho "The Walls Came Tumbling Down."