The Fall of Jericho

"And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand....You shall march around the city, all you men of war.... This you shall do six days.... But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times...” (Joshua 6:2-5)

1. We need clear instructions in order to finish a task well. But God's wise instructions don't always fit our practical, "logical" thinking.  Why?  What is He teaching us?

"Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rehab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed...” (Joshua 6:17-19)

2. What would be "accursed things" in today's culture? How would God want us to respond to those "things"?

"Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And 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." (Joshua 6:20-21)

3. Why would our loving Lord command Joshua to kill all the people -- except Rahab? (Ponder these instructions)

"Now the Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan. ..  'Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: When you have crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall...

    ~ drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you,

   ~ destroy all their engraved stones,

   ~ destroy all their molded images, and

   ~ demolish all their high places... and

"But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you.... Moreover it shall be that I will do to you as I thought to do to them.’” (Numbers 33:50-56)

"When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess... and when the Lord your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them.... For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly." (Deut 7:1-4)

“...of the cities of these peoples which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance... you shall utterly destroy them... lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations... and you sin against the Lord your God." (Deut 20:16-18)

3. Why did Joshua's army lose the battle against Ai?

"But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi... took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.

      "Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai...on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, 'Go up and spy out the country.' ....And they returned to Joshua and said to him,  '... let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai.... for the people of Ai are few.'

     "So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. ... Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until evening..." (Joshua 7:1-6)

"So the Lord said to Joshua:  “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things....Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies..."  (Joshua 7:10-12).

4. How did God use the disaster of Ai to train His people? 

"Now Joshua built an altar to the Lord God... as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the children of Israel...'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 there, in the presence of the children of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses.... And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings..." (Joshua 8:30-35)

5. How does God use confusing or agonizing difficulties in our lives? What is His ultimate purpose?

"...consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

          “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
           Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
           For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
           And scourges every son whom He receives

"If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? .... No chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."  (Hebrews 12:3-11)