“The Walls Came Tumbling Down” – 6:1-27

The previous entry can be read here.

Do you struggle with sin? Does it feel like no matter what you do you always end up in the same, guilt-consumed, fallen place? When you don’t end up there do you feel either that you are bound to end up there soon or that the method of not ending up there again is pointless to keep practicing? In our passage today, the thing God called His people to do to accomplish victory very likely seemed like pointless monotony and foolishness, but God had a reason for His commands to them, just like He has a reason for the things He commands us.

If you grew up in the church, one thing that likely comes to mind when you think of the battle of Jericho is the Veggie Tales version of the story. One thing sticks in my mind from this re-telling more than any other part. The peas in Jericho sing and taunt,

Keep walking, but you won’t knock down our wall
Keep walking, but she isn’t gonna fall!
It’s plain to see, your brains are very small
To think walking, will be knocking down our wall

While it makes a great children’s story, I firmly believe it doesn’t give credit to the historical occurrence that was the battle of Jericho. I trust that you will see this throughout the post today, especially if you are familiar with the Veggie Tales edition. (If you’re not familiar, the whole video is here.) However, this funny little song does shed some serious light on the topic of the opening paragraph of this post. No matter how harshly our sin or addiction taunts us, we must keep walking in the path that God has set before us!

Today’s Text

Our historian writes (bolded text is today’s focus), “When Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in His hand. Joshua approached Him and asked, ‘Are You for us or for our enemies?’ ‘Neither,’ He replied. ‘I have now come as commander of the LORD’s army.’ Then Joshua bowed with his face to the ground in worship and asked Him, ‘What does my Lord want to say to His servant?’ The commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, ‘Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so. Now Jericho was strongly fortified because of the Israelites—no one leaving or entering. The LORD said to Joshua, ‘Look, I have handed Jericho, its king, and its fighting men over to you. March around the city with all the men of war, circling the city one time. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry seven ram’s-horn trumpets in front of the ark. But on the seventh day, march around the city seven times, while the priests blow the trumpets. When there is a prolonged blast of the horn and you hear its sound, have all the people give a mighty shout. Then the city wall will collapse, and the people will advance, each man straight ahead.’ So Joshua son of Nun summoned the priests and said to them, ‘Take up the ark of the covenant and have seven priests carry seven trumpets in front of the ark of the LORD.’ He said to the people, ‘Move forward, march around the city, and have the armed troops go ahead of the ark of the LORD.’ After Joshua had spoken to the people, seven priests carrying seven trumpets before the LORD moved forward and blew the trumpets; the ark of the LORD’s covenant followed them. While the trumpets were blowing, the armed troops went in front of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard went behind the ark. But Joshua had commanded the people: ‘Do not shout or let your voice be heard. Don’t let one word come out of your mouth until the time I say, “Shout!” Then you are to shout.’ So the ark of the LORD was carried around the city, circling it once. They returned to the camp and spent the night there. Joshua got up early the next morning. The priests took the ark of the LORD, and the seven priests carrying seven trumpets marched in front of the ark of the LORD. While the trumpets were blowing, the armed troops went in front of them, and the rear guard went behind the ark of the LORD. On the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days. Early on the seventh day, they started at dawn and marched around the city seven times in the same way. That was the only day they marched around the city seven times. After the seventh time, the priests blew the trumpets, and Joshua said to the people, ‘Shout! For the LORD has given you the city. But the city and everything in it are set apart to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and everyone with her in the house will live, because she hid the men we sent. But keep yourselves from the things set apart, or you will be set apart for destruction. If you take any of those things, you will set apart the camp of Israel for destruction and bring disaster on it. For all the silver and gold, and the articles of bronze and iron, are dedicated to the LORD and must go into the LORD’s treasury.’ So the people shouted, and the trumpets sounded. When they heard the blast of the trumpet, the people gave a great shout, and the wall collapsed. The people advanced into the city, each man straight ahead, and they captured the city. They completely destroyed everything in the city with the sword—every man and woman, both young and old, and every ox, sheep, and donkey. Joshua said to the two men who had scouted the land, ‘Go to the prostitute’s house and bring the woman out of there, and all who are with her, just as you promised her.’ So the young men who had scouted went in and brought out Rahab and her father, mother, brothers, and all who belonged to her. They brought out her whole family and settled them outside the camp of Israel. They burned up the city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the LORD’s house. However, Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, her father’s household, and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent to spy on Jericho, and she lives in Israel to this day. At that time Joshua imposed this curse: The man who undertakes the rebuilding of this city, Jericho, is cursed before the LORD. He will lay its foundation at the cost of his firstborn; he will set up its gates at the cost of his youngest. And the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land. The Israelites, however, were unfaithful regarding the things set apart for destruction. Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of what was set apart, and the LORD’s anger burned against the Israelites. Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and told them, ‘Go up and scout the land.’ So the men went up and scouted Ai. After returning to Joshua they reported to him, ‘Don’t send all the people, but send about 2,000 or 3,000 men to attack Ai. Since the people of Ai are so few, don’t wear out all our people there.’ So about 3,000 men went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai. The men of Ai struck down about 36 of them and chased them from outside the gate to the quarries, striking them down on the descent. As a result, the people’s hearts melted and became like water. Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell before the ark of the LORD with his face to the ground until evening, as did the elders of Israel; they all put dust on their heads. ‘Oh, Lord GOD,’ Joshua said, ‘why did You ever bring these people across the Jordan to hand us over to the Amorites for our destruction? If only we had been content to remain on the other side of the Jordan! What can I say, Lord, now that Israel has turned its back ⌊and run⌋ from its enemies? When the Canaanites and all who live in the land hear about this, they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. Then what will You do about Your great name?’ The LORD then said to Joshua, ‘Stand up! Why are you on the ground? Israel has sinned. They have violated My covenant that I appointed for them. They have taken some of what was set apart. They have stolen, deceived, and put ⌊the things⌋ with their own belongings. This is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. They will turn their backs ⌊and run⌋ from their enemies, because they have been set apart for destruction. I will no longer be with you unless you remove from you what is set apart. Go and consecrate the people. Tell them to consecrate themselves for tomorrow, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: There are things that are set apart among you, Israel. You will not be able to stand against your enemies until you remove what is set apart. In the morning you must present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe the LORD selects is to come forward clan by clan. The clan the LORD selects is to come forward family by family. The family the LORD selects is to come forward man by man. The one who is caught with the things set apart must be burned, along with everything he has, because he has violated the LORD’s covenant and committed an outrage in Israel.’ Joshua got up early the next morning. He had Israel come forward tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was selected. He had the clans of Judah come forward, and the Zerahite clan was selected. He had the Zerahite clan come forward by heads of families, and Zabdi was selected. He then had Zabdi’s family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was selected. So Joshua said to Achan, ‘My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and make a confession to Him. I urge you, tell me what you have done. Don’t hide anything from me.’ Achan replied to Joshua, ‘It is true. I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I did: When I saw among the spoils a beautiful cloak from Babylon, 200 silver shekels, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, I coveted them and took them. You can see for yourself. They are concealed in the ground inside my tent, with the money under the cloak.’ So Joshua sent messengers who ran to the tent, and there was the cloak, concealed in his tent, with the money underneath. They took the things from inside the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites, and spread them out in the LORD’s presence. Then Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the cloak, and the bar of gold, his sons and daughters, his ox, donkey, and sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and brought them up to the Valley of Achor. Joshua said, ‘Why have you troubled us? Today the LORD will trouble you!’ So all Israel stoned them to death. They burned their bodies, threw stones on them, and raised over him a large pile of rocks that remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from His burning anger. Therefore that place is called the Valley of Achor to this day.”

Where we’ve been…

So the last time we focused on Joshua’s experience while reconnoitering outside of Jericho. We saw how the Lord came to him in the form of a human soldier and told Joshua that He was on His own team—the commander of Yahweh’s army. He also told Joshua to take off his sandals because he was on holy ground. This is where we find ourselves today. Our historian wants us to know that when we trust God completely, His victory will be total.

God as Commander (6:1-5)

First, we see God’s commands to Joshua in verses 1-5. “Now Jericho was strongly fortified because of the Israelites—no one leaving or entering. The LORD said to Joshua, ‘Look, I have handed Jericho, its king, and its fighting men over to you. March around the city with all the men of war, circling the city one time. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry seven ram’s-horn trumpets in front of the ark. But on the seventh day, march around the city seven times, while the priests blow the trumpets. When there is a prolonged blast of the horn and you hear its sound, have all the people give a mighty shout. Then the city wall will collapse, and the people will advance, each man straight ahead.’”

This discussion occurs while Joshua is standing outside of Jericho, talking to the Commander of Yahweh’s army (see this post for more info). Our historian begins—and for the following reason someone decided it was a good place for a chapter break—by telling us a little fact about Jericho at this time; he tells us that Jericho was locked up: no one entered or left the city. This is important, because it helps to prove that Joshua—when the Commander met him—was outside the city, probably learning about the very fact that the city was locked up.[1] He was probably wondering how in the world they would ever be able to get inside and take the city, probably on his knees in prayer, when the Commander came to him. One commentator explains, “[Verse] 1 functions in the same way that 3:15 does, which precedes the other great miracle in the book (‘Now the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of the harvest’): both show a great potential obstacle that is then overcome effortlessly by a mighty act of God.”[2]

Another commentator explains the spiritual significance of the city being shut.

If the mission of [the] spies had been, at least in part, to seek out those who believed in Israel’s God, then the act of shutting the gates in Joshua 2 signified the official rejection of this opportunity. The shut gates in 6:1 serve the same purpose. Jericho has refused to hear the message of Israel, proclaimed in the great deeds of the exodus, in the crossing of the Red Sea and of the Jordan, and in the military victories that had already occurred.[3]

This is why in verse 2 God can say what He does to Joshua. “Look, I have handed Jericho, its king, and its fighting men over to you.” It is not that God vindictively hates the people of Jericho, but rather that He gave them time to repent and they shut up their hearts to His grace. May we never shut our hearts to God’s grace, because on the day Jesus returns as a warrior, it will be too late to repent!

In verses 3-5 we see God giving Joshua all the instructions necessary for their capture and conquest of Jericho. The main point to glean from these three verses is that Joshua and the people obey the Word of God, which will be proven throughout the rest of the chapter. These three verses also provide a roadmap for the rest of the chapter. Verse 3a describes verses 6-11. Verses 3b-4a describes verses 12-14. Verses 4b-5 describe verses 15-27.

The Battle of Jericho (6:6-25)

The Strategy Begins (6:6-11)

Second, we see Joshua and the people carry out those commands in verses 6-25. The first day is discussed in detail first in verses 6-11. “So Joshua son of Nun summoned the priests and said to them, ‘Take up the ark of the covenant and have seven priests carry seven trumpets in front of the ark of the LORD.’ He said to the people, ‘Move forward, march around the city, and have the armed troops go ahead of the ark of the LORD.’ After Joshua had spoken to the people, seven priests carrying seven trumpets before the LORD moved forward and blew the trumpets; the ark of the LORD’s covenant followed them. While the trumpets were blowing, the armed troops went in front of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard went behind the ark. But Joshua had commanded the people: ‘Do not shout or let your voice be heard. Don’t let one word come out of your mouth until the time I say, “Shout!” Then you are to shout.’ So the ark of the LORD was carried around the city, circling it once. They returned to the camp and spent the night there.”

The first thing we see here is that Joshua obeys the Lord. I can’t emphasize enough the fact that for a leader to be successful, they must obey the Lord and seek His guidance, and if a leader does this, then the people—as a whole (cf. chapter 7)—will also likely follow said leader joyfully. In summary, Joshua speaks to the priests in verse 6, the people in verses 7 and 10, and in verse 8 we see the priests obey him, and in verses 9 and 11 we see the people obeying him.

The picture looks like this: in the front of the procession were armed soldiers, protecting the seven priests with seven trumpets, who were noisily announcing—in short blasts (cf. 6:5)—the advance of God’s army, who were following the armed men. Behind the priests was the ark of the covenant. Another group of armed soldiers followed the ark of the covenant. And behind them, walking in silence, was the rest of the people.

In verse 3 it says, “March around the city with all the men of war.” When we remember that Numbers 26 tells us that there were 601,730 men who could fit this title, but also keep in mind that according to Joshua 4 some of the army was left with the women and children, there were at least 400,000 people marching around Jericho. One commentator tells us, “The cities of Palestine in this period were not large. Jericho measured c. 225 by 80 meters and its circumference was 600 meters.”[4] This converts to right around 4.5 acres of area; my hometown of Victorville, CA is 47,289 acres by comparison. The walk around the outskirts of Jericho was just over a third of a mile, so the march likely took less than twenty minutes for the first person in line. However, when we remember that there are 400,000 people marching around this small city, “it must be assumed that the vanguard had long returned when the others were still marching.”[5]Think about the people in Jericho during this first day. Joshua 5:1 told us, “When all the Amorite kings across the Jordan to the west and all the Canaanite kings near the sea heard how the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, they lost heart and their courage failed because of the Israelites.” Because of this, 6:1 said, “Now Jericho was strongly fortified because of the Israelites—no one leaving or entering.” The people start marching—the front armed men finish in twenty minutes—and keep marching until all 400,000 (at least) finish going around the city. If the Jericho residents were afraid before, they were probably even more afraid after.

But we must also think about Israel’s thoughts. They obey God’s orders through Joshua, but they are also likely thinking, “We could easily wipe Jericho out. Why are we wasting time marching around this city? This twenty minute walk is pointless. Is God messing with us right now?” And if we’re honest, this is how we think a lot of the time as well. “God, I know better than You. You’re doing this the wrong way. If I was You, I’d do it this way.” What is that kind of attitude but pride? God wants the glory in our lives and will do things that make no sense externally so that He can earn the glory. We must trust Him and follow Him, even if it looks foolish on the surface.

The Monotony Increases (6:12-14)

We see the discussion of days two to six in verses 12-14. “Joshua got up early the next morning. The priests took the ark of the LORD, and the seven priests carrying seven trumpets marched in front of the ark of the LORD. While the trumpets were blowing, the armed troops went in front of them, and the rear guard went behind the ark of the LORD. On the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.”

This section has our historian quickening the pace of the narrative. While the prior section covered one day in 6 verses, these 3 verses cover five days, primarily because the following 11 verses cover one day—the day that victory was realized. This section serves to heighten our suspense for what follows from verse 15 on day seven.

These three verses give us no new information except that Joshua got up early. This could be because on the first day he didn’t have to awaken early because he had been talking to God outside Jericho early in the morning before starting the first day’s march. He likely rose early these days to begin the process of rousing the people for the daily march. (Verse 15 points out that day 7 was different as well).

However, again, we must think about how terrified the people of Jericho are by the end of day 6. “What are these crazy Israelites up to?” No one told them the Israelites would march for 7 days and then their city would fall; they are quaking in their boots wondering what was about to happen.

And also the Israelites. The text doesn’t tell us this, but even just reading verses 12-14 after 6-11 makes you say, “Ugh. Monotony.” The Israelites likely felt the same. Thank God the author didn’t copy verses 12-14 five different times, saying, “That was day x,” instead of, “They did this for six days,” and only writing it once.

Often in our lives things can feel like monotony. These are the times when we must trust God, remember what He has called us to, and stand firm in Him. He is working. Romans 8:28 says as much, and speaks much more to the monotonous times than the tragic times (though it does contain a word for tragedy too).  How well are you trusting God right now?

God Knows What He’s Doing (6:15-25a)

We see the discussion of day 7 in verses 15-25a. “Early on the seventh day, they started at dawn and marched around the city seven times in the same way. That was the only day they marched around the city seven times. After the seventh time, the priests blew the trumpets, and Joshua said to the people, ‘Shout! For the LORD has given you the city. But the city and everything in it are set apart to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and everyone with her in the house will live, because she hid the men we sent. But keep yourselves from the things set apart, or you will be set apart for destruction. If you take any of those things, you will set apart the camp of Israel for destruction and bring disaster on it. For all the silver and gold, and the articles of bronze and iron, are dedicated to the LORD and must go into the LORD’s treasury.’ So the people shouted, and the trumpets sounded. When they heard the blast of the trumpet, the people gave a great shout, and the wall collapsed. The people advanced into the city, each man straight ahead, and they captured the city. They completely destroyed everything in the city with the sword—every man and woman, both young and old, and every ox, sheep, and donkey. Joshua said to the two men who had scouted the land, ‘Go to the prostitute’s house and bring the woman out of there, and all who are with her, just as you promised her.’ So the young men who had scouted went in and brought out Rahab and her father, mother, brothers, and all who belonged to her. They brought out her whole family and settled them outside the camp of Israel. They burned up the city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the LORD’s house. However, Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, her father’s household, and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent to spy on Jericho.”

Here we notice first that the whole group sets out at dawn. While on days 2-6 it was plain that Joshua rose early, on the seventh day the whole camp rises early and sets out early. They then marched around the city seven times, which as pointed out yesterday would not have taken more than two and a half hours for a handful of people to do. (The text isn’t clear how “all the men of war” [verse 3] numbering in the hundreds of thousands would have marched around the small city multiple times in a row. Perhaps they passed up the people in the back and went around again, and after the seventh time, they stopped, facing the city, and the rest—as they finished—lined up behind them.)

However it happened we read the following in verse 16-19—which would prove that the people stopped in an organized fashion so that Joshua could address them all. “After the seventh time, the priests blew the trumpets, and Joshua said to the people, ‘Shout! For the LORD has given you the city. But the city and everything in it are set apart to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and everyone with her in the house will live, because she hid the men we sent. But keep yourselves from the things set apart, or you will be set apart for destruction. If you take any of those things, you will set apart the camp of Israel for destruction and bring disaster on it. For all the silver and gold, and the articles of bronze and iron, are dedicated to the LORD and must go into the LORD’s treasury.’”

Joshua tells the people three things. First, he tells them that they are to shout—ending their continued silence—because God has given them the city. Second, he tells them that every thing in the city—treasure, people, animals—is dedicated to God for destruction; he adds that if anyone takes anything from the city, they will set apart Israel for destruction. Third, he adds a caveat here, and says that Rahab and those in her house will live because of her helping the spies.

And then, in verses 20-25, what do we see? Obedience again. As a whole, the people shout. And when they shout—as God had commanded—the walls fall down. When the walls fell, the people obey, and enter the city, destroying every living thing. And then in verse 24 we see that the articles of silver and gold and bronze and iron were put into the Lord’s treasury (cf. next entry in Joshua series though), and the whole city was burned with fire.

So, on that note, the clearest thing that stands out is that God gave Israel complete victory. God said, “I have given this city 400 years to repent, and only one individual and her family did, so my patience is at an end. I am destroying this city.” Because if we really think about it, who defeated Jericho? It wasn’t Israel. They simply marched around it; God brought the walls down; they killed the residents; but God commanded them to. God destroyed Jericho; and His victory over this city was total.

But what do we see in the midst of this destruction and judgment? Grace. Rahab and her family were spared. As the city crumbled and people were slaughtered around her, Rahab was spared. I must be clear though, that this does not by any means mean that at the final judgment people will be saved. Rahab believed several weeks earlier, when the spies had come to her. I pointed out earlier that the city had shut its gates so there was no way in or out; that verse was told from Jericho’s point of view. Rahab’s window was open, because her heart had been opened to Israel’s God; even if it was only open enough to hang a cord out the window, her faith is what saved her, and she made her choice before it was too late. Don’t make your choice for Jesus after it is too late. Repent and believe today!

However, our text is clear in verse 23 that Rahab and her family are placed “outside the camp.” Why is this? Wasn’t she a believer? Yes, but here’s what we must keep in mind: “The reason why Rahab and her family are assigned a place outside the camp of Israel lies in their ceremonial uncleanness (Lev. 13:46; Deut. 23:3), aggravated in this instance by the curse to which they ordinarily would have been subject.”[6] Leviticus 13:46 speaks of a leper being confined outside the camp because of contamination, and helps to explain a passage in Numbers 12:14 that speaks of another type of contamination; “The LORD answered Moses, ‘If her father had merely spit in her face, wouldn’t she remain in disgrace for seven days? Let her be confined outside the camp for seven days; after that she may be brought back in.’” This refers to Leviticus 13:4, which says it takes seven days before a leper could be reassessed to find out if the leprosy had really disappeared. Rahab’s being outside the camp was simply because—as a Canaanite—she was ritually unclean. After seven days she could be brought back in and made a part of the camp.

While some people want to say, “Canaanites couldn’t become part of Israel” because of Deuteronomy 23:2-3, I must point out that they are wrong. That passage says, “No one of illegitimate birth may enter the LORD’s assembly; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, may enter the LORD’s assembly.  No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the LORD’s assembly; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, may ever enter the LORD’s assembly” (emphasis added). Rahab was not an Ammonite or a Moabite. She also was not of illegitimate birth. Now if she had held on to her Canaanite ways and “married” an Israelite man, their children would be illegitimate, but since David was able to become King, she became a full-fledged Israelite. Praise God for His amazing grace!

Aftermath (6:25b-27)

Third, we see the results of this victory in verses 25b-27. “She lives in Israel to this day. At that time Joshua imposed this curse: The man who undertakes the rebuilding of this city, Jericho, is cursed before the LORD. He will lay its foundation ⌊at the cost of⌋ his firstborn; he will set up its gates ⌊at the cost of⌋ his youngest. And the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.”

The first phrase there did not take place on the seventh day; it took place a week from the seventh day, and held true even beyond the time the book was written. Rahab joined Israel. She became a part of God’s people. Her salvation was realized! Little did she know at that time that she would play a part in the greatest drama the world has ever known. “Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered King David. . . . and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary, who gave birth to Jesus who is called the Messiah” (Matthew 1:5-6, 16, emphasis added). God works all things out for good (Romans 8:28) especially as those things relate to the salvation of God’s people; these things are often mundane things (marriages aren’t mundane, but in the grand scheme of things one marriage out of a billion is pretty mundane) but God saved Rahab, had her marry Salmon, and brought Jesus into the world through this genealogy, thus securing salvation for all who would believe in Him and His sacrifice and His resurrection.

Verse 26 describes the curse that Joshua put over Jericho, but that will be further elaborated under the next heading.

Verse 27 again takes us back to God’s promise in 1:5, as we have seen repeatedly throughout this book. Joshua follows God; the people obey Joshua; God acts mightily; the people remember Moses and see Joshua in a similar light. However, it is much more than just Israel seeing Joshua as famous. His fame went “throughout the land.” Joshua is just a man. If the nations elevated him in their minds, they completely miss the point, because God—not Joshua—is the One they will have to reckon with. God is the One who dried up the Jordan; God is the One who brought down Jericho; God is the one who saved Rahab. If the nations of Canaan look to Joshua, then they are looking in the wrong place. We must look to Christ, not the self-help books on addiction, not even this blog/blogpost! Christ is our only hope; He ALONE defeated sin and death!

Don’t Fight God

In verse 26, we see the curse that Joshua put over Jericho. The point of this curse is that God brought Jericho down. It was His doing and His alone. If anyone was to rebuild Jericho they were attempting to undo God’s mighty act. What God has torn down, let no man rebuild! In 1 Kings 16:34 tells the result of a person’s attempts to undermine God’s works. “Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho. At the cost of Abiram his firstborn, he laid its foundation, and at the cost of Segub his youngest, he set up its gates, according to the word of the LORD He had spoken through Joshua son of Nun.”

Too often, we are just like Hiel—if not worse. We know that God has commanded things. We know that God has torn down fortifications in our lives through the blood of Christ. But what do we often do? We say, “Oh, a little of this won’t hurt me. I can manage it.” Wrong. God struck down Hiel’s children so that he would stop fighting against God. What will God have to strike down in your life before you stop resisting His work—or worse—fighting His work?

Paul said, “If I rebuild the system I tore down, I show myself to be a lawbreaker.  For through the law I have died to the law, so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ  and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:18-20).

Paul wants us to know that whatever held us back from totally committed service to God was crucified with Christ, and that since we no longer live, that thing was crucified when Christ was crucified, and Christ is now the one who lives through us. Since Christ lives through us, we never have to return to cowering before people, we never have to return to yelling and fighting and anger at those we are supposed to be closest to, we never have to return to gazing at images on a screen. Christ died and the old me died with Him. It’s the same for you if you are in Him. Don’t be found a transgressor because you are rebuilding the things you tore down![7]

This is what the city of Jericho represents. While it was a historical city that was historically destroyed by God when Israel marched around it 13 times throughout a week, it represents the seemingly impossible-to-defeat sins in our lives. We must obey God throughout our life, knowing that upon our death/His return we will have finally experienced those walls tumbling down. While we wait for that day we must never re-erect those walls—or build them higher. God is working; let’s not fight against Him!

If you’ve never trusted Him, I plead with you too. You will never experience victory over the “bad habits” you want to stop, that are harming you and your family, apart from the grace of God. He holds His arms out to you today. Trust Him and be saved like Rahab was!

As much as the Veggie Tales edition of this story feels like a joke at many points, throughout our life we must “Keep walking” because God will knock down the walls. No matter how hard it gets, no matter how hard our flesh taunts us—like the Jericho peas in Veggie Tales—we must keep going. God is good, and He will not let us ultimately lose. Fight the things that pull you away from Him, or else the next post in this series will resonate much too personally. Keep fighting the good fight of faith!

Solus Christus

Soli Deo Gloria

The next post can be found here.

[1] Many commentators want to say that Joshua was inside Jericho based on the Hebrew grammar of 5:13, but this verse proves otherwise.

[2] David M. Howard, New American Commentary — Volume 5: Joshua, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1998), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 167.

[3] Richard S. Hess, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries — Joshua, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Academic, 2011), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 140.

[4] Woudstra, M. H. (1981). The Book of Joshua (p. 109). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[5] Ibid., 112.

[6] Ibid., 115.

[7]http://lilfytr.blogspot.com/2016/07/freedom-211-21.html

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