Table of Contents
Watch & Listen
Our lesson this week brings us to a concluding point with Joshua, the children of Israel, and Jericho. In recent weeks, we have seen the Lord encourage Joshua to lead the children of Israel, and we have seen the faith and confidence of Rahab. I also want to point out from our first lesson this quarter that we already know the outcome of what happened at Jericho.
Taking Down Jericho
So really, our lesson this weekend is focusing on God’s instructions and being obedient to His instructions. Again, all of us as sincere believers should already know that obedience to the word of God leads to us being blessed – made happy and content in our hearts.
Our lesson opens up with the Lord first ensuring Joshua, as we see God say to Joshua, “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor (v.2).” As we have seen throughout scripture, when God speaks of something being delivered into someone’s hands, that means that God is giving it to them. If you remember from our first lesson this quarter, God said that land of promise was given to Israel and all they would need to do is take possession of the land (Josh. 1:3).
In this case, we will see that Jericho was the first step in taking possession of the land; all that Joshua and the children of Israel needed to do was go and take possession of the land. To take possession of Jericho, we will see that the Lord instructed Joshua that he and the men of war were to go around the city once a day for six days (v.3). Simple enough, right?
Included in these instructions, the Lord then instructed Joshua that seven priests were to bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns and sound them before the ark of the covenant each of those six days. So, this would have been a very curious sight to observe; it would almost look like a parade except it’s an army parading about the city. Though it may have looked like a parade, this very much was a siege.
Now, on the seventh day, the Lord’s instructions changed up. God instructed on the seventh that they were to march around the city seven times – not just one time as they had done for the six days. The Lord instructed that on the seventh day, the priests were to take the rams’ horns and blow the trumpets. So, to be very clear about this, the priests weren’t supposed to blow the trumpets on the six days, just on the seventh day.
Following God’s instructions
I can’t even ask you whether or not you think Joshua and the people followed God’s instructions because we already know how this story ended.
Again, I believe we would say that God’s instructions for Joshua and the children of Israel were pretty straightforward, right? How hard would it be to circle around a city once a day for six straight days, right? How hard would it be to remember to circle around the same city seven times on the seventh day and wait for the priests to blow their horns?
We would think the Lord’s instructions were pretty straightforward, yet at the same time, I would tell you that God’s instructions for us are pretty straightforward, right? You may be wondering, what is God’s instructions for us? God has instructed us to love Him with our whole hearts and in that love, we are to also love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:36-40).
To all of you, I would say that God’s instructions for us are very straightforward, but many of us struggle mightily to keep His instructions. Specifically, I believe that many of us struggle especially with the part of loving our neighbors. Let us remember, in loving our neighbors, the Lord has commanded us to love those that hate us (Matt. 5:43-48; Luke 6:27-36). We really struggle with loving those that hate us which actually causes us to struggle in our walk of faith.
For Joshua and the children of Israel, they might have had a struggle with walking around the city of Jericho on the third and fourth day. By the time of the seventh day, it may have been an even greater struggle to walk around the city one time let alone seven times! With that said, it was of great importance for the children of Israel to be obedient to the Lord’s word.
Results of keeping God’s instructions
Our lesson now skips down to the six days. We are told that Joshua, the priests, and the men rose up to do as God instructed (vss.12-13); the armed men went before the ark and the priests with the rear guard being behind the ark. The children of Israel did as the Lord had instructed in total obedience for the six days (v.14).
Then the seventh day came, and we will see that Israel, once again, was obedient to God’s instructions. We are told that they all rose early about the dawn of day and marched around the city seven times in the same manner (v.15). We are then told that the seventh time, the priests blew the trumpets, and Joshua tells the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city (v.16)!”
Joshua could say this full of confidence! Do you know why he was able to say this full of confidence? Joshua was able to say this full of confidence because he and the children of Israel had been obedient to God’s instructions!
You and I should move with the same kind of confidence when we have prayed to the Lord and been obedient to his word. Do you move with the same confidence knowing that the Lord has already blessed you because His blessings are guaranteed? You and I should move with that confidence. You see, we do wrong when we are reluctant to move confidently in faith and it becomes a great struggle for us to receive our blessing out of reluctance.
Joshua proclaimed in confidence, “Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it (v.17).” Rahab, as I mentioned last week, was saved from this destruction.
With one final instruction, Joshua ordered the people to abstain from the accursed things; they were not to gather what was accursed because it would pollute (corrupt) them (v.18). However, the silver, gold, and vessels of bronze and iron were to be taken and consecrated to the Lord (v.19). I do want to point out that these final instructions were to be obeyed after they had taken Jericho.
The reason I point this out is because the Lord certainly gives us instructions we should obey to possess our blessing. At the same time, many of us don’t pay attention to the instructions God gives us when we have gained our blessing. God will instruct you how to use what He has given to you and we should be obedient to those instructions. If we’re not obedient to those instructions and do not use our blessing appropriately, we don’t realize that we can lose our gift.
So, again, always do your best to be obedient to God’s instructions. With those final instructions, the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets and the walls of the city collapsed – Jericho fell into the hands of Israel.
Israel’s success with Jericho was only dependent on the faith in keeping God’s instructions. Israel, I want you to understand, did not defeat Jericho by their own might. Something that you and I should understand when it comes to our blessings, is that God gives us our blessings. Yes, we will walk around our Jericho to take possession of our blessing, but to God is the glory. You and I should always give honor to the Lord because of all that He has done for us.