Day 4

The Conquest of Jericho

from the Joshua reading plan


Joshua 6:1-27, 1 Kings 16:34, Colossians 2:11-12, Exodus 3:1-6

BY Kaitlin Wernet

Text: Joshua 6:1-27, 1 Kings 16:34, Colossians 2:11-12, Exodus 3:1-6

Most people move into a retirement community later in life, but I’ve been a part of one since birth. My dad has always been in the business of caring for the elderly, and as a result, I’ve gained some serious benefits—mainly, a personal cheering squad. They are always up for a competitive card game or impromptu ice cream cone, and never forget to tell me how tall I’ve gotten. And boy, do these people know how to throw parties. I’ll never forget the Bon Voyage party we had for the chapel.

You see, the community was going through a huge, exciting expansion—new office buildings and homes going up left and right. There was just one problem standing, quite literally, in the way of those new plans: the community’s beloved chapel, the centerpiece of the campus. Instead of letting the bulldozer run its course, the community decided to uproot the chapel from its original location and transfer it to the other side of the property. There, it could continue to be enjoyed for years to come.

The day of the move, my parents let me miss a few hours of the second grade to witness it. We stood under the porte-cochere, eating cream cheese bagels while the community band warmed their bagpipes and trumpets. Surrounded by dirt piles and construction hats, it was hard to miss the shocking upheaval of the chapel’s uprooted foundation. Still, there was much to celebrate. The chapel itself, the very place where this community had regularly recounted God’s faithfulness, remained safe and sound.

In our reading today, we’re entering a different construction site together, one filled with its own upheavals and unknowns. The broad-shouldered city of Jericho is fearfully closed to the Israelites—no one goes out, no one comes in. Under the Lord’s direction, a curse is imposed on the city and its idol-loving inhabitants when Joshua and the priests begin to march around it. Carrying the ark of the covenant, they keep in step with God’s commands and watch as the walls around Jericho fall at their feet.

“The people advanced into the city, each man straight ahead, and they captured the city. They completely destroyed everything in the city with the sword—every man and woman, both young and old, and every ox, sheep, and donkey.”
-Joshua 6:20-21

God gave them the city.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about this. Yes, justice was served. Yes, the good guys prevailed. And yes, God’s perfect plan unfurled as He’d promised. But that doesn’t change the fact that they were standing in a destruction zone, does it?

Sitting with the truth of crumbled walls and a city destroyed, I cannot help but wonder what this says about God. We readily cozy up to God’s promises of love, restoration, and peace, but what do we do when His promises include curses, death, and brokenness?

We trust Him still. From where we sit, it’s hard to understand the mind and ways of God (Isaiah 55:8-9). But the just consequences of sin do not lessen the sovereign goodness of our God.

At the intersection of God’s wrath and mercy, we find two constants: His kept promises and His unfailing love. To trust the fullness of His character, we need Him to be steady and sure. In chapter 6 we encounter God’s faithfulness, not only in the midst of a crumbling Jericho, but also in the protection of Rahab, who became part of the lineage of Christ (Matthew 1:5).

Because of who He is, we can always stare into the dark unknown of destruction to find an unchanging God. In the midst of every upheaval and replanting, He is faithful.

Praise the Lord for every promise kept.SRT-Joshua-Instagram4s

 

Post Comments (87)

87 thoughts on "The Conquest of Jericho"

  1. Reeve says:

    I find this so timely with the aftermath of the election. With people in anger, pain, and fear (and what feels like a demolition site), it is beautiful and hopeful to know that in the midst of destruction we have an unchanging God.
    http://www.thegirlontheverge.com

    1. Whitney says:

      Very true!

  2. Bry says:

    It is so easy to get caught up in the love and forgiveness God offers that we can forget His has the power and absolute right to give punishment also. He is our father, our Father who loves us and also is willing to punish those who do not obey.

  3. Cristine says:

    Deuteronomy 20:15-18 The Lord had previously commanded Israel to “utterly destroy” the inhabitants of the promised land to prevent their sins from spreading to the children of Israel. It’s just as you said, the Israelites needed to keep that commandment.

  4. Angela says:

    When we read about the judgement on Jericho, let’s not forget that Jericho is a reflection of us. Israel itself deserved no better but for the grace of God. The entire human race deserves no better but for God’s grace and mercy and longsuffering. If we questioned why a good God would command all the inhabitants to be killed, it is essentially saying some of us, at least, do not deserve death.

    When I thought about the 6 days when the Israelites circled the city with the Ark, I see God’s grace. The Ark was evident to them. I imagine the army and people of Jericho peeking over the walls to observe the Israelites circling the city. They could see the Ark. According to Rahab, they knew this was the God of the heavens and the earth. I think they even expected the impending destruction. Why did they not repent like Rahab did and seek the mercy of this God of the Israelites? Was their pride still causing them to resist God to the end? Even the final day, it was as if God was unwilling so they circled 7 times, giving the inhabitants of Jericho even more time to turn around. Sadly, they did not and were wiped out.

    Throughout the Bible, we see God bidding the people, not just the Jews, to come to Him. God is not slow to judge but merciful so that we will not perish. God is patient and not in a hurry. But one day, the trumpet will sound and judgement WILL come. By God’s grace we will not find ourselves at the wrong side of the wall!

    1. Elle says:

      Thank Angela for this insight God has given you on this passage! It definitely gives me a clearer understanding of it. God bless!

  5. Kayley Hope says:

    Amen.

    I needed / do need this message.

    I am going through a tough time in a relationship and I’m worrying myself sick. All I need to do is hand it all over to God, and He will deliver according to His will and His promises. No matter what people may do or try to do to tear things apart, they cannot quench love, or the righteous flames of God surrounding it.

    All glory to God forever and ever.

    Amen.

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