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Read Joshua 6

Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”

So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” And he ordered the army, “Advance! March around the city, with an armed guard going ahead of the ark of the Lord.”

When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the Lord went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the Lord’s covenant followed them. The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 10 But Joshua had commanded the army, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” 11 So he had the ark of the Lord carried around the city, circling it once. Then the army returned to camp and spent the night there.

12 Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the Lord and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets kept sounding. 14 So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.

15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! 17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.”

20 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. 21 They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.

22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her.” 23 So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.

24 Then they burned the whole 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. 25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.

26 At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: “Cursed before the Lord is the one who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho:

“At the cost of his firstborn son
    he will lay its foundations;
at the cost of his youngest
    he will set up its gates.”

27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.

Go Deeper

This battle plan just didn’t make sense. Joshua didn’t try to find the weakest spot in the wall. The army didn’t try a sneak attack during the night. Instead, the plan from God was that the Israelites would overtake the city by marching around it and shouting? Why even bother with that plan? Not only would it certainly not work, but it would be an embarrassment to the people of God. They would walk around the city with the people of Jericho mocking them with every step they took. This plan is simply ridiculous! It would crush their morale and destroy their trust in their God if it didn’t work. But Joshua didn’t think twice. As soon as he heard from the Lord, he put the plan into action. Even though it didn’t make sense. Even though he probably had a better battle plan. Joshua was faithful anyway.  

God hasn’t changed from the times He was leading Joshua and the Israelite army.  He’s still giving out orders that don’t seem to make sense to us. He asks us to give more than we want to, pray about things that don’t seem possible, and keep ourselves from pleasures that seemingly would make our lives better. Do we really have to trust God when the plans don’t make sense? But if we only follow God when we understand, we aren’t following Him we’re following our own thoughts. It’s only when we choose to follow Jesus when we don’t understand (or flat out don’t want to!) that we are truly living by faith. As followers of God we act in ways that we wouldn’t on our own. We can follow the plans of God because we trust in the results. We know that if He asks us to march in order to win the battle, we need to march! And when we live into the ways of God, we get to see Him provide in ways that we wouldn’t otherwise. Because when we live by faith, it grows our trust in Him, and He gets all the glory.

Questions

  1. What most stuck out to you about this passage?
  2. What keeps you from living by faith?
  3. What are some commands from God that you need to start following?

Did You Know?

Jericho was not a large city. Archaeological excavations have revealed that its walls enclosed only about eight and one-half acres. Excavations at Jericho have also confirmed the collapse of the wall under itself as recorded.

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2 thoughts on “Joshua 6”

  1. Jericho was a pagan fortress city that God instructed the Israelites to conquer. Joshua, as their leader, didn’t question or hesitate to carry out every detail of the given plan. He modeled obedience, courage, endurance, and great faith when he easily could have balked at the enormity of the task. His focus was on the Lord, although he must have felt vulnerable as the silent march continued for days. Then the shout on the 7th day and the walls crumble. God made good on his word and gave them the city, but the Israelites had to take it by obedience and persistent faith.
    What walls in our world seem impenetrable?
    Where & when has our focus shifted away from our God and our faith waned?
    Have we delayed in obeying his Word because we really don’t believe Him?
    I’m thinking of yesterday’s message JP gave in Philippians 2:12-18. As Christ-followers in the Lord’s army we are in daily training to grow spiritually strong, working out our salvation, knowing that God is at work in us. It is HARD! There will be resistance and straining, but our faith will grow. I don’t know what difficult task God will set before us today, but I want to be ready to take it on with faith, obedience, and endurance. I want to exhaust every single gift inside of me and leverage my life for the kingdom.

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