Day 5

The Conquest of Jericho

from the Joshua reading plan

Joshua 5:10-15, Joshua 6:1-27, Exodus 3:1-6, Romans 8:31

BY Jen Yokel

I’m fairly confident most of us who grew up in the church have a whole collection of children’s Bible songs in our brains, ready to surface when we read Scripture—at least, I know I do. And every time I read Joshua 6, I hear little kids’ voices from my past, singing:

Joshua fought the battle of Jericho
Jericho, Jericho
Joshua fought the battle of Jericho
And the walls came a-tumblin’ down

But stories like this one in Joshua can be more troubling to read than the song might suggest. Destruction is disorienting when what we long for is peace. I find it helpful to ask what passages like this teach us about God’s character. What does He want us to know about Him?

In this story, we see Joshua lead the Israelites to enter the promised land. It appears this will unequivocally be Israel’s victory tale—until Joshua comes face to face with a mysterious man with a sword, drawn and ready. Whose side is he on: Israel’s or their enemy’s? “‘Neither,’ he replied. ‘I have now come as commander of the LORD’s army’” (Joshua 5:14). This battle, then, is the Lord’s. So, the real question is, whose side is Joshua on? 

Some say this figure is an angel, and others believe he is God Himself. Regardless, we know this soldier represents God’s presence. The commander’s first instruction? “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy” (Joshua 5:15; Exodus 3:2–6). And Joshua does that, declaring where his allegiance truly is.

The Lord gives Joshua a set of specific instructions: march around the city walls every morning with priests and trumpets and the Ark of the Covenant, then return to camp without saying a word. No battle cries or attacks. Just presence, day after day. 

On the seventh day, Israel let out the final trumpet blasts and Joshua gave them permission to “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city.” (Joshua 6:16) We see Joshua’s utter trust that God will keep the promises to Abraham, Moses, and to him. The stronghold of Jericho’s walls collapses. There’s destruction, yes, but also enduring mercy for Rahab (v.25). Perhaps, then, this is the story of victory within some grander mission—the tale of God’s people who come to possess what God had long-promised them, a gift truly worthy of their shouts.

Whose victory do we long to see? We are called to fight the battles the Lord calls us to, which are “not against flesh and blood, but against…evil, spiritual forces in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:12). God is faithful. If He’s called us to something, He’s already very much in it with us, fighting for what He has promised. And if God is for us, who can stand against us?

Post Comments (87)

87 thoughts on "The Conquest of Jericho"

  1. Casey Evans says:

    I love to be reminded that it’s not about us. “Neither” side he is on, he’s on the Lords. Are we on his or our own?

  2. Bethany Chandler says:

    The battle is the Lord’s

  3. Stephanie M says:

    If God is for Stephanie, who can be against Stephanie?

  4. Bunny Lightsey says:

    His righteousness! We also have to remember that He sees the beginning AND the end. Sometimes in His righteousness is where His salvation shines the brightest. Rahab is just one example. We will have to wait until we are in Heaven to know how many were saved because of His acts of righteousness! Praise God!

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