Why Was Jericho Razed?
Loving Lord, in pursuing You may I find You; in finding You may I serve You. May it be so today.
Read Joshua 6:20-27
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires” (Rom. 6:12).
The conquest of Canaan fits the broader context of God’s saving purposes for all nations. Abraham walks by faith, inherits the land of Canaan, and receives an heir. That heir will become the nation, Israel, who enters the Promised Land after slavery in Egypt. She lives there until exiled to Babylon for her own disobedience to God’s law. In their hopes for restoration, the prophets foretell the coming of the Messiah, who will renew Israel and incorporate the nations in God’s redeeming love. The fall of Jericho must be seen as one small part of the outworking of God’s purposes to redeem humanity.
In ancient warfare it was common for cities to be razed to the ground. Biblical scholars and archaeologists spend almost as much time asking “When was Jericho razed to the ground?” as “When was Jesus raised from the dead?” Our passage today assumes its occurrence, and so can we. Our questions are not so much whether it happened, but what it means.
The fall of Jericho marks the beginning of the conquest and settlement of Canaan. Jericho, a very old but small city dwarfed by its neighbor Ai, is a symbolic bridgehead into the land. The supernatural method of conquest is a confirmation of Joshua as leader, the Israelites as God’s people, and the fulfillment of God’s promises. For us, the assurance of our faith is in the victory over sin and death won through the death and resurrection of Jesus. He goes before us to fight our battles for us, and to show us the path of holiness and consecration that is the life of a disciple. How much do we need his help to raze the walls of unbelief and sin?
How important to you, historically and spiritually, is the biblical account of Jericho’s fall? Research the evidence in a Bible dictionary or other resource.
Father God, I thank You that Your promises are all sure and I can rely on each one completely. Help me never to forget that.
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