Joshua 4-8 has so many highs and lows it is hard to capture all theses chapters contain. Last week we left Joshua in the Jordan river. They are picking up rocks in the middle of the river to erect a memorial to the LORD when they reach the other side. While preparing to write this, I stopped and thought about the Jordan Crossing, and it came to me while it was vital to step into the river, it was just as important to come out the other side. I have known many believers that with jubilation they jumped into the”Jordan river” and fail to reach the other side. Jordan must be seen as a passage way to all that is ahead. The Journey would continue to Jericho and on to Jerusalem eventually. But we have to get out of the Jordan and face the task before us.
After all the celebration of crossing and coming up on the other side, the river closes behind them just as it did with the Egyptians. Point is that the journey is before us not behind us. There was work to do, land to clear of the tribes who even though they knew God gave the land, refused to leave, but rather stayed to experience the mighty strong of the LORD. Once on the other side of the river, there was some consecration that needed to be done. God gave the mark of circumcision to Abraham. Every male child was to bear this mark. However, in the wilderness this ritual was not done. The time had come to Israel to be who they were called to be instead of making their own decisions and living in rebellion. This generation was going to do what the LORD said, in all things. SO every man of war was circumcised. The nation camped at Gilgal and observed the Passover, which was suppose to be an annual celebration/festival. In the wilderness Israel threw out all they had been instructed at Mt. Sinai. It was time to restore the covenant with God and serve Him. Think about this, every man circumcised, and they stayed in place until they were healed. Imagine now the onlookers in Jericho – looking on and wondering, “Why do they wait?” The nation under Joshua’s leadership restored covenant life that had been ignored in the Wilderness. God, I believe used this time to renew and restore the people’s faith and allegiance to Him as Yahweh.
The culmination of restoration ends with the giving of manna and quail after Israel ate of the food of the Promised Land. How faithful is our God!! Just to reassure Joshua about who was fighting, the epiphany of the mighty warrior known as the “Captain of the Host” is revealed to Joshua. Quick to ask are you for us or against us, the answer comes back – neither I am come as Captain of the Host of the LORD. We fight so many battles thinking we can defeat the enemy before us, only to get defeated by our own arrogance. This encounter is a reflection of the Burning Bush on Mt. Horeb and Moses. This is Holy Ground – God prepared His people, consecrated them and restored them as His people. It was now time to go forward under the Banner of the LORD.
Now, I’m a military man, so i do understand enough about battle tactics to say what Joshua was asked to do to take Jericho is strange at best. But imagine, the warriors as they in full battle dress and how each day they walk around the city of some seven miles in diameter, then retire back to camp. Except on the seventh day – they marched 49 miles, 7 times around the city, then the Trumpets were blown by the priests and kept blowing. The walls fell and the city was taken. How did all that happen? Rahab saved and her family, the Jericho itself cursed if anyone ever built on it. Oh, Jericho belongs to the Palestinians today. FIrst is secured, man that was easy! Over confidence can be defeating. I’ll talk of AI next week.
The point of this blog – are we willing to return to the requirement of Holiness, faithful obedience to secure the victory of God over our enemies? To follow God in spite of how ridiculous it seems? Who is fighting your battles, you or the Captain of the Host of the LORD?