Loving Father, I thank You that the truth of the Gospel makes me free for wonder, love and praise.
Read Joshua 6:12–19
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Obedience means we are to be God-directed rather than self-directed. That was what Joshua and the Israelites had to learn. And so do we.
The attack started (8,9)—seven days of literal obedience, puzzlement, fear and ultimate triumph. With trumpets blasting, priests and soldiers marched all the way around Jericho. No doubt the besieged inhabitants thought that the end had come. And then they stopped (11). The next day they did it all again, then went back to camp (14). Four more days were
exactly the same. Did the residents think the Israelites had gone mad? Did they think they were trying to starve them out? Did they begin to get used to the ritual? The seventh morning was different. They didn’t stop after one circuit. They carried on. Seven priests, seven horns, the seventh day (traditionally the Sabbath but that didn’t stop them), seven times. Seven is the number representing completion, perfection. Were the people in Jericho counting? Did they get the hidden message? Or had they been lulled into a false sense of security, thinking that perhaps the Israelites wouldn’t attack after all? Only now did Joshua give the final instruction, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!” (16). For Jericho this meant judgment, but for Rahab and her family it would mean rescue (17). As for the Israelites, there was a word of warning (18). Brutal and violent though the attack was, this city was not theirs to plunder. They were a part of something bigger. This city was to be devoted to the Lord, and everything precious belonged to him (19). This episode (and tomorrow’s too) can leave many of us uncomfortable with God’s involvement in the whole conquest of Canaan. There are no easy answers—the text won’t let us, or God, off the hook. Perhaps for now we can be careful of jumping to conclusions, and recall everything else we know about God’s love, mercy and grace.
What seemingly crazy battle plan is the Lord calling you to carry out? How do you feel about it and how will you persevere in it?
“Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (Jas. 3:18). Lord, today I remember the victims of war. May they be aware of Your presence in their need. Prosper the work of peacemakers.
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