And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” Joshua 6:2-5
The tension is mounting. It is time to enter the Promised Land. But there is a problem… Jericho is surrounded by an enormous, strong wall. There are huge towers and impassable iron gates.
When things look impossible, this is where God loves to work. He loves for us to know that it can only be Him who accomplished the task. Yes, we get to be a part of it, but it will be all His doing. He knows this is what we need to help build our faith and confidence in Him.
God lays out an interesting battle plan. All of the fighting men are to march around the city once a day for six days. On the seventh day, they are to march around the city seven times. Hmmm…. not the battle plan I would have come up with. But wait, there’s more…
Once the city has been circled for the seventh time on the seventh day, the priests are to blow their trumpets and all the people are to shout LOUDLY. And the wall will fall down flat. It could only be God.
Time to go in, boys.
Questions: Have you ever thought that God loves to put us in seemingly impossible situations so we have to rely on Him? Have you ever been in a situation where only God could fix things? If so, how did He display His power? If not, pray that you will have faith to trust and see God when things feel too hard for you to accomplish or deal with on your own.
When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” Joshua 5:13-14a
The stones are set and the Passover meal complete. It’s time to make the next move toward the promised land. But something unusual happens first. A mysterious man with a sword drawn comes into view. Joshua wants to know what side he is on; friend or foe?
The man answers, “No.” Wait, that doesn’t answer the question.
The man continues announcing himself as the commander of the army of the Lord. Immediately Joshua knows exactly who it is. The man wasn’t any ordinary man or even an angel, it was the Son of God – a preview of Jesus coming to earth.
Joshua reverently falls on his face in worship, asking “what does my Lord say to his servant?”
The man’s response, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.”
Though the man didn’t respond with whose side He was on, Joshua knows whose side he is choosing to be on. He takes off his sandals acknowledging holy ground.
Joshua is about to embark on an enormous task and calling. God doesn’t let Him down. He meets with him and strengthens him with His presence. And it is holy ground. A holy experience. You too are walking on holy ground, invited into holy work.
Questions: Have you ever felt so close to God when you are carrying out an assignment or in the middle of a really tough season of life? What was your response? Perhaps the next time it happens, you can take off your shoes, drop to your knees, and thank God for what He is doing in your life.
…that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” Joshua 4:6-7
As the Israelites approach the Jordan River on their way to the promised land another miracle occurs. A flashback to forty years earlier when the generation before them escaped Egypt. The priests carrying the ark of the covenant walked up to the Jordan River… and they kept walking…on dry land. The waters were again parted to allow safe passage of the Israelites to the land God promised them.
A miracle and a reminder…of God’s past provisions and His continued presence.
God instructs them to take twelve large stones (one to represent each of the twelve tribes of Israel) from the dry ground they crossed beneath the Jordan River and lay them down at the place they lodge for the night. The stones are to be a forever memorial and reminder so that whenever their ancestors see the stones and ask about them, they can be told the story of when God allowed them to walk on dry land through the Jordan. To always remember the mighty hand of the Lord.
The people also had the first Passover Celebration in the new land on the plains of Jericho. A party of remembrance to celebrate their ancestors being spared when the angel of death passed over in Egypt. They ate of the produce of the land. From this day forward, the manna that had rained down from heaven every day for 40 years, ceased. What a day full of gratitude, hope, expectation, and good food!
Challenge: Like the stones from the bottom of the Jordan and the Passover ceremony, creating a mark of remembrance is a powerful thing. As time goes by, we tend to forget even big things we are grateful for. Think about a way you can honor and create a remembrance of God’s faithfulness.
And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there. Joshua 2:1
Forty years separate the span of time between the initial spies scoping out the promised land and this moment. This time when the Israelites send in spies to assess the situation, they meet Rahab, a prostitute and citizen of Jericho. She lives in the city wall…and what a wall it is! Jericho, the initial land God tells them to conquer and take possession of, is a fortress with a mighty wall and iron gates.
Rahab fears this God of the Israelites she has heard rumors about, and at the risk of her own life, she hides the spies to help them succeed. She doesn’t have all the answers, but she believes this God is better.
She is rewarded for her faith and loyalty. The spies tell her to tie a scarlet cord from her window, and when they return to invade and destroy the city, anyone in her house will be spared from death.
The scarlet cord in her window was a sign of her faith. Like the lamb’s blood over the Israelites homes in Egypt when the angel of death passed over them and ultimately allowed them to be freed from their slavery, the blood-red cord hanging from Rahab’s window will save her and her family from the destruction that was to come to all of the homes in Jericho.
It is a glimpse into God’s plan to bring all people to Himself if they put their faith in His plan.
In the not too distant future, it will be the scarlet red blood of Jesus that saves us all.
Oh, and by the way…Rahab – the prostitute and non-Israelite who stepped out in faith and chose God over her cultural surroundings– is not only saved, but she will become part of the genealogy of Jesus!
Questions: How hard is it to believe in truth when everyone around you believes otherwise? Do you generally seek truth out, even if it is dangerous, or go with the flow of the world around you?
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
The deliverance from slavery in Egypt wasn’t the end itself…it was the beginning; it was to GO and ENJOY a better place. David Guzik says, “In our Christian life, we are BROUGHT OUT of sin so that we may be BROUGHT IN to abundant life.” The bringing out isn’t the end of the story. The wandering and the wilderness is not our intended destination. There is a good place prepared for us, but we have to GO IN to enjoy it. God provided in the wilderness. He was there with His people. But there was so much more for them. How often do we settle for wilderness living instead of stepping into the more abundant life God has for us? The going takes effort. But it is so worth it.
God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous and to be careful to follow the law given to the people by Moses. He tells Joshua to not turn from it and to meditate on it day and night. It is the secret sauce.
Why meditate on it day and night? I mean, he has heard about it for 40 years. He knows the law. But God knows we easily stray from doing what is right. He knows there will be temptations…even in the promised land. He knows that cultural pressures and day to day distance from God will turn us away from Him even when we don’t intend to.
We need to keep the Word of God close. We can’t get complacent thinking we know it and have things all under control. We need to regularly read and meditate on it.
God promised Joshua He would be with him always and God will be with us also. He knows many of these hard times and uncertain things ahead can make us frightened or dismayed. But God says we can be strong and courageous to get through our days, our trials, our callings because He is with us.
Question: What are some things you can do to get in a habit of consistently and persistently meditating on God’s Word?