The Fall of Jericho
1. What specific instructions did Joshua receive from the Lord? (Joshua 6:2-4)
"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. And 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. It 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.” (Joshua 6:2-5)
2. Why would God give us illogical instructions that make little sense from our finite and practical view of reality? What is He teachings us?
"Now 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. And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed... and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.” (Joshua 6:17-19)
3. Why would our loving Lord command Joshua to kill all the people and their livestock?
"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.' So the men went up and spied out Ai. And 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.'
"So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them... and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted.... Then 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... put dust on their heads." (Joshua 7:1-6)
4. How did God use the disaster of Ai to train His people?
5. How does He use confusing or agonizing difficulties in our lives? What is His ultimate purpose?
"And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”
"So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”
"Then 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 5:13-15)
"...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? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? ...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)