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The account of the walls of Jericho falling down tells a lot about God’s working. Jericho was the first target for destruction when Israel entered into their promised land. Jericho, a very well-fortified double-walled city, was ready for the siege. They had stocked up on food from the recent harvest and relied on the springs within the city, prepared to hold out for years. But God promised He would deliver it Himself, Joshua 6:2, and, as it was the first battle, all was to be devoted to Him. God specifically instructed them to consecrate all precious metals, putting them into the treasury of the Lord, Joshua 6:19. Joshua 7:1 notes Achan’s disobedience concerning this. God also gave instructions for how the army of Israel was to encircle the city of Jericho. The commands seem so strange and unusual, but David Livingston in his article, “The Fall of the Moon City,” suggested this was God’s way of mocking the people who were worshiping the moon god in mockery of Him. This resembles the plagues upon Egypt during the time of the Exodus which were against the gods of Egypt. Jericho’s name was derived from the early name Yerach, moon city, named for the male moon god. The destruction, that followed, gave the message that there can be no rival god in the presence of God. The detailed instructions for Israel were similar to the annual springtime enthronement ritual as recorded in the “Legend of Keret of Ugarit,” north of Canaan. Livingston noted the festival would have been in the spring just about the time this incident took place. God would be enthroned. From 1929-1936, John Garstang, co-author with his son J. B. E. Garstang of “The Story of Jericho,” excavated the ruins. He verified through pottery and scarabs found there that it was destroyed at the time of Joshua. Also, he noted that the walls of Jericho did not fall inwardly as expected, but outwardly. The outer wall collapsed and dragged portions of the inner wall and houses that linked the top of the walls. Archaeologists indicate there was evidence of an earthquake at that time, which God may have used to bring down the walls. The soldiers were able to clamber up over the fallen ruins into the city, Joshua 6:20. The city had evidence of having been burned by fire, Joshua 6:24. Also, many jars were found that were full of grain meaning the siege was short and the grain left untouched as if it were a sacrifice to the Lord. Also, at the north end of the ruins of Jericho, archaeologists found a section of the lower or outside mudbrick wall that did not collapse. This could have been where Rahab’s house was on or against the wall, Joshua 2:15, which allowed the spies to easily escape. Both the walls of Jericho falling and the salvation of Rahab, an amazing deliverance at Passover time and the path to the Messiah, are among the triumphs of faith, Hebrews 11:30-31.
The march around the city: God’s people today can march in triumphal procession because of the victory of Jesus Christ over all the enemies of God (Rom. 8:37 -- “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”; 2 Cor. 2:14 --Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.; Col. 2:15 -- “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”). We should be living like victors, not victims. “The wall of the city shall fall down!” (Joshua 6:5) was God’s promise, and His promises never fail. Joshua 21:45; 23:14 -- “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.” (New King James Version) See particularly: “According to promise, the house of Rahab was spared. The onetime harlot staked her life upon divine promises, so she perished not with those who believed not (Hebrews 11:31). She was unafraid of the wrath of the king and thus proved her faith by her works (Joshua 2:21). Through her faith protection came, not only to her, but to her whole household. This Canaanite, who cast her lot with God’s people, married Salmon, an Israelite, and became the ancestress of David and thereby of Christ (Matthew 1:5). A Gentile, and of the accursed race of Canaan, Rahab became an earnest of the admission of the Gentile world into the Church of God.”—All the Miracles of the Bible by Lockyer). God’s people don’t simply fight for victory but from victory, because the Lord has already won the battle. Reckon on His promises and obey what He tells you to do, and you shall have the victory. [PDF]The Wiersbe Bible Commentary I close with part of a hymn based on Joshua 6:20: Their sound goeth forth, “Christ Jesus the Lord”; Then Satan doth fear, his citadels fall; As when the dread trumpets went forth at Thy Word, And one long blast shattered the Canaanite’s wall. O loud be their trump, and stirring their sound, To rouse us, O Lord, from slumber of sin; The lights Thou hast kindled in darkness around, O may they illumine our spirits within. -- Jean-Baptiste de Santeul
Every story in scripture, like the stories that are told in the secular world, has a main point, a thought provoking motive for the account. A good story has interesting appendages, but the main idea of the material has to be maintained. A good storyteller will give the main point away somewhere in the report, but won't sound a trumpet to introduce it. It will have to be discovered for the pearl that it is in the midst of the ancillaries. If you don't pay attention to the beginning of the story you just might miss it. A main point of the Joshua 6 account of the Israelites' victory at Jericho is that they didn't use traditional methods to take the city. The walls of the city fell because the people marched around it a total of 13 times in the course of a week; once a day for 6 days and seven times on the seventh day. God gave them these instructions and, as strange as these directions are, they did them. But there's actually more to it. We know that God can do anything! We know that if we believe God we will obey him; we know that he rewards obedience. This story is told to us to teach us something about God of which we might not be keenly aware. We're not being taught anything about people; we know people, we don't struggle with understanding the ways of man. Are we being taught about obedience, or faith, or how to follow God's instructions, etc? Yes, but I think those teachings are supplemental to the preeminent thesis buried in the instructions they were given. One of my favorite movies is the movie 'Cool Hand Luke,' a story about a hard case guy who goes to the 'chain gang' for cutting the heads off of parking meters. Clearly, he has issues; the main character, Luke, is played by Paul Newman. What was he trying to accomplish by doing this? Asked, he said he was 'settling old scores.' That sounded like what the storyteller was accentuating; it was only a tease. Later, after he'd gotten in trouble trying to escape, the warden told us what the problem with this guy was. He said it was 'failure to communicate.' Finally, after he had escaped and was at the end of his rope, Luke decides to talk to God about his life. He goes in a church and gets down on his knees and asks God why he hadn't made his life better. Just then the search party drove up. Luke gets up, goes to the window and the answer to his question to God comes from his own lips. He sarcastically says 'what we 'GOT' here is failure to communicate,' before being shot dead. That was the reason for all of his troubles, he hadn't talked to God about his life. God told Joshua how to get that wall to fall. The people walking around it wasn't the main thing. Of course they would have to obey the instructions. But do we believe that the people had faith in these instructions? I don't.. faith didn't make this happen! The main thesis of the story is the introduction of the battle between the priesthood and the world. This is the initiation of the people of God, but more importantly, it is a prophetic picture of how the whole war would be waged and how it would be won. It's the story of Jesus our high Priest conquering a fortified world on behalf of his chosen people. The most important part of the story is the seven priests with the seven trumpets being blown on the seventh day. That's the lesson we are to digest. This day is coming! This is a trailer to the movie that is 'coming soon.' Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my Holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people; their like has never been before, nor will be again after them through the years of all generations (Joel 2:1,2). The end of our story is told at the beginning of the war. The world will be overrun by the people of God. A prostitute and her family being saved is very prophetic...
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