As we come to our study tonight,
God miraculously dried up the
waters of the
Critics of the Bible scoff at this and say there is no way
this many people could have crossed the
At the end of ch. 3, we’re told just how long a stretch of the river was dried up - 17 to 18 miles, so it wouldn’t have been difficult to get them all over in a single day.
Especially since the nation was used to making such journeys.
The critics forget that
And when the waters of the
Then we read that they did 2 things which we covered in our study Sunday –
First - They made two pillars of
stones from the riverbed of the
Second – all the men of
We learn that none of the men born since the Exodus had been circumcised.
Now that they are back in the land promised to Abraham & his descendants, they must take the mark signifying that promise.
Once they’re recovered from the operation, then it’s time to
get busy with the next phase of their lives in
That part of the story begins in ch. 6, & the last verses of ch. 5 really ought to have been a part of it . . .
There’s a space of some 6 miles between the river & the city.
As we saw last week,
At this time, the
These city-states were ruled by
kings who lived in a central fortress cities like
Time had taught these various city-states that the only way they could hold on to their territory was by forming alliances.
So whenever a foreign army threatened invasion, they would band together.
Joshua knew the key to success in conquering the land lay in
driving a wedge right through the heart of
It was also located on the main north-south highway connecting Asia & Africa.
All the trade that traveled back
& forth from the empires of Mesopotamia & Egypt passed by
In the ancient world, whoever controlled the trade routes influenced the world.
But he met a man with a drawn sword – which meant battle was imminent.
And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”
Joshua’s question reveals that while the man looked like a normal soldier, he knew there was more here than met the eye.
If this man’s appearance had been radiant & glowing, Joshua would have known he was a heavenly messenger.
But he looked like a regular guy. What clued Joshua to the fact that there was more going on here than just some guy ready for a fight was that he was alone.
Mercenaries were common, and Joshua may have surmised this guy was a mercenary.
If so, then he was either coming to
offer his services to
So Joshua asks him – “Who are you fighting for? Whose side are you on, ours or theirs?”
The man’s reply isn’t really an answer to the question Joshua asked.
Joshua asked, “Whose side are you on?” and the answer was, “No!”
In other words, “Those aren’t the only two options, Joshua.”
Joshua’s chief concern in the conquest of
And now, on the even of their first
great challenge, he comes face to face with the reality that
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” 15Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.
Joshua realizes this is none other than an appearance of God, so he does the right thing, he worships.
With the instruction him to take
off his sandals for the place is holy, Joshua would have remembered his
mentor’s calling at the burning bush on
Here now is the Lord, giving a similar call to Joshua.
Moses’ call had been to lead Israel OUT of bondage –
Who is this who appeared to Joshua?
He calls Himself the “Commander of the army of the Lord.”
Michael is presented as the Lord’s
warrior. [Dan 10:13, 21, 12:1
No angel – Joshua’s worships!
This is Jesus – who
A Christophany – an appearance of Jesus before His incarnation.
Why did Jesus appear here?
A crucial moment –
The battle plan very strange – so needed this obvious direction from God.
Also, as the commander of the army
And so it always is for the people of God – to conquer our enemy we must be conquered by our God.
Before we can overcome the challenges before us, we must be overcome by the God above us.
This makes it clear that the One he met was God -
At this point,
The city is shut up tight and well stocked for a long siege.
Yet God says, “See! I’ve given you victory.”
3You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. 4And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”
There’s the battle plan. [Repeat]
A siege could last for months, often broken by other in the alliance.
This one - 1 week!
6Then Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” 7And he said to the people, “Proceed, and march around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the Lord.” 8So it was, when Joshua had spoken to the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord advanced and blew the trumpets, and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them. 9The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets.
The one’s marching in this procession were
And as before, 6 tribes in front, then the priests and ark, 6 tribes behind.
10Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout.” 11So he had the ark of the Lord circle the city, going around it once. Then they came into the camp and lodged in the camp. 12And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13Then seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually and blew with the trumpets. And the armed men went before them. But the rear guard came after the ark of the Lord, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets. 14And the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. So they did six days.
An eerie sight – not a word, just the sound of the trumpets.
Why did God have them do this for 6 days – why not just get it over with in 1 day?
What was reinforced in
“That is a big wall!”
This is why God told them not to talk – didn’t want them distracted.
He wanted them to realize
The only sound was that of the priests’ horn –calling
attention to one thing – God was in the center of
15But it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early, about the dawning of the day, and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only they marched around the city seven times. 16And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city! 17Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
Everything in it was to be burned, just like the whole burnt offering, nothing was kept back.
As their first conquest, it was totally dedicated to God.
The only exception was Rahab’s household because the spies had sworn an oath of protection to her.
“Accursed things” – idols & idol paraphernalia.
The destruction of
The archaeology of this period shows this was a sick culture in its death throes.
They were practicing human and child sacrifice. Women were brutalized.
Torture, incest, & corruption were the norm.
In Gen. 15:16, God told Abraham his descendants would return to the land when the wickedness of its inhabitants had reached its zenith.
And Joshua warns
19But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the Lord; they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.”
The only thing that will be kept out of the spoils of
This will go into the tabernacle treasury as a kind of first fruits.
20So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. 21And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.
When the wall fell, the army of
Critics like to attack passages like this and ask. “How can a God of love command such bloodshed?”
The critic who asks this shows a lack of historical perspective.
God had given these nations hundreds of years to repent & had sent prophets among them with His word & truth, as the story of Balaam & the book of Job shows.
Lev. 18 gives us an idea of just how hideous and wicked the practice sof the Canaanites were.
But they refused to repent and grew worse & worse.
Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country, “Go into the
harlot’s house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you
swore to her.” 23And
the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her
mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her
relatives and left them outside the camp of
When Rahab’s family was first delivered, they were made to
stay outside the camp of
But they made it clear they didn’t
just want to be saved from judgment, they wanted to worship and follow
What’s interesting is that we learn in Matthew, that Rahab
ended up marrying into the tribe of
26Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying, “Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.”
Joshua laid a curse on the site of
He intended it to be a perpetual reminder of God’s judgment.
He knew that the man who rebuilt
And because of that he would repeat
the very same sins of ancient
In his days Hiel of
Practice of Canaanites to mix the blood of their child with the mortar of their walls.
Though Hiel lived hundreds of years after Joshua, the Israelites were turning back to the ancient wickedness of the Canaanites.
Thos who do not learn the lesson of history are doomed to repeat them.
children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for
Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe
of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of
A little foreshadowing.
2Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, “Go up and spy out the country.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. 3And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.” 4So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. 5And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water.
Not a man had been lost in the conquest of
But now, at Ai, which was nothing
6Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.
Joshua sees this defeat as a horrifying thing.
If tiny Ai can send
said, “Alas, Lord GOD, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at
all—to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had
been content, and dwelt on the other side of the
God gives Joshua a gentle rebuke. He’s getting all worked up & laying the
God is silent until Joshua says
this, then He speaks up, “Hold on! Don’t
blame me! It ought to be obvious Josh –
Then God tells Joshua how to deal with it.
sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus
says the Lord God of
rose early in the morning and brought Israel by their tribes, and the tribe of
When I read this, wonder – why didn’t Achan just step forward and confess his sin?
Sin makes you stupid.
People think they can hide sin, get away with it.
They can’t – as
Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I beg you, give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession
to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”
20And Achan answered Joshua
and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: 21When I saw among the spoils a beautiful
Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing
fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the
earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.” 22So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran
to the tent; and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver under
it. 23And they took them
from the midst of the tent, brought them to Joshua and to all the children of
Since this is my text for Sunday, I’ll leave further comment tillthen.
He sent a large force in secret behind the city to lie in ambush.
Another force of 5,000 was sent to
block reinforcements coming from nearby
Then he staged another attack like the first, acting all timid.
When the men of Ai came roaring
out, the forces of
This drew all the men of the city out. Why? Spoils!
Once the city was empty of defenders, those waiting in ambush rose and attacked the city.
The men of Ai realized their city was on fire and turned to defend it, but then realized the men they’d been pursuing had only feigned retreat.
They turned on the men of Ai and attacked.
Caught between two huge forces.
With these two victories,
So Joshua moved to do something God had commanded them to do when they entered the Land.
Joshua built an altar to the Lord
God of Israel in Mount Ebal, 31as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the children of Israel, as it is written
in the Book of the Law of Moses: “an altar of whole stones over which no man
has wielded an iron tool.” And they offered on it burnt offerings
to the Lord, and sacrificed
peace offerings. 32And
there, in the presence of the children of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy
of the law of Moses, which he had written. 33Then all Israel, with their elders and
officers and judges, stood on either side of the ark before the priests, the
Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord, the stranger as well as he who was born among them.
Half of them were in front of
In Deut. 27-28 we find Moses’ instructions on what they were to do.
The Mts. Ebal & Gerizim were right next to each other with a little valley between them.
Moses said they were to build an altar on
The idea here is that now that they’ve come to the heart of the land, the heart & center of their nation is the Word of God.
1And it came to pass when all the kings who were on this side of the Jordan, in the hills and in the lowland and in all the coasts of the Great Sea toward Lebanon—the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite—heard about it, 2that they gathered together to fight with Joshua and Israel with one accord.
It turns out that before they can meet up, Joshua will complete his central campaign & isolate the north from the south.
While the rest of the Canaanites decided to opposed
They decided to try a different tactic – forge an alliance WITH them.
the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to
These were Hivites who lived in Gibeon, a city a few miles
The Hivites were one of the many Canaanite people scattered all over this area.
They were ruled by different kings whose city-states dominated a region.
These Hivites broke ranks with the rest of the Canaanites
and decided to side with
But word had gone out to the
The only way they could secure a peace treaty was by deception.
So they made it look as though they came from a great distance by taking old bread, battered cloths, and worn our supplies.
7Then the men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you dwell among us; so how can we make a covenant with you?”
The men of
said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” And Joshua said to them, “Who are
you, and where do you come from?” 9So
they said to him: “From a very far country your servants have come, because of
the name of the Lord your
God; for we have heard of His fame, and all that He did in Egypt, 10and all that He did to the two kings of
the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan—to Sihon king of Heshbon,
and Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth. 11Therefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our
country spoke to us, saying, ‘Take provisions with you for the journey, and go
to meet them, and say to them, “We are your servants; now
therefore, make a covenant with us.”’ 12This
bread of ours we took hot for our provision from our houses on the
day we departed to come to you. But now look, it is dry and moldy. 13And these wineskins which we
filled were new, and see, they are torn; and these our garments and
our sandals have become old because of the very long journey.” 14Then the men of
These Gibeonites have done a masterful job with their
deception, & it fooled Joshua & the other leaders of
Joshua’s failure was in not consulting God.
He ought to have, for if he had he would have discovered the truth.
There was something about the situation that caused the leaders at first to think they were being played by the Gibeonites.
But instead of following through on their instincts and seeking God, they went with the evidence their senses showed.
Instead of walking by faith, they walked by sight.
It’s easy to draw the conclusion that we don’t need to consult God in things that are just plain common sense.
We have the idea that we don’t need to bother the Lord with the mundane things of daily life.
Why think through and seek God on things that seem so obvious and clear?
The answer to that is simple – because we have an enemy who will use any and all means to rip us off.
Walking in the Spirit means the moment by moment sensitivity to follow the Lord’s counsel & direction, taking nothing for granted.
Before you sign your name on the bottom line of the contract to buy a car, do you pray?
Before you consent to go out with the buds after work, do you pray?
When you’re flipping the remote from channel to channel and settle on a program, do you ask, if God wants you to watch it?
Now, I know some will say – “That’s taking this religion thing too far.”
But wait – if God is real, and He is here, with us right now – can you take it too far?
If the choices we make today, even the tiny one’s have far-reaching consequences we don’t see – then shouldn’t we run them by the One who stands IN OUR FUTURE and knows the end from the beginning?
made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the
rulers of the congregation swore to them. 16And
it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them,
that they heard that they were their neighbors who dwelt near
them. 17Then the
At this point, the people of the nation are obedient to the Lord, desiring to follow through on the command to wipe out the Canaanites.
When they discover that a treaty’s been made with a group that leaves smack dab in the middle of the land, they’re steamed, and rightly so.
They were ill served by their leaders, because their leaders led by sight, not faith.
the rulers said to all the congregation, “We have sworn to them by the Lord God of
While the Gibeonites were protected by an oath to preserve their
lives, there’d been no other arrangements so they were set to serve as a
workforce of manual labor to the rest of
Joshua called for them, and he spoke to them, saying, “Why have you deceived
us, saying, ‘We are very far from you,’ when you dwell near
us? 23Now therefore,
you are cursed, and none of you shall be freed from being
slaves—woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.” 24So they answered Joshua and said,
“Because your servants were clearly told that the Lord your God commanded His servant Moses to give you all the
land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you; therefore
we were very much afraid for our lives because of you, and have done this
thing. 25And now, here
we are, in your hands; do with us as it seems good and right to do to
us.” 26So he did to
them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of
As we’ll see in our study next week in ch. 10, the
Gibeonites become the trigger by which God gives
And alliance of 5 Canaanites kings
comes to punish Gibeon for forsaking their confederacy & because of the
What’s the lesson is all this for us? What does
Sin we ought to conquer, but it manages to stay alive because it’s so stinking sneaky.
We end up making a treaty with it – assigning ourselves to the inevitability that we’ll never conquer it.
But what we do, in a positive way –
is we make it our servant, just as Joshua made the Gibeonites the servant of
Can I share my ‘Gibeonite’ with you?
I tend to be negative & critical.
I don’t want to be, but I am.
My negativity disguised itself as sarcasm and funny put-downs that I deceived myself into thinking was all just being friendly.
Recently I came to realize that it was nothing but my flesh being negative, & that faith in God meant being positive, not negative.
How can I pray for the Lord’s blessing on others when my mouth is pronouncing the very opposite of blessing in a critical and sarcastic manner?
It was a shocking revelation – like
Joshua did the only thing he could with them, made them servants of God’s people.
And that is what I’ve done with my
I’ve made it a servant to the cause of righteousness.
I keep a constant watch on it, and every time I see it rising I use that as a reminder to speak blessing.
As Paul says in
But the flesh is ever present with me - so I will turn it to serve the purpose of reminding me that my true life, the best life is the life IN Christ.