Joshua 5-8

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Chapter 5 – We begin this chapter with the Israelites having crossed the Jordan.  All the nearby kings had heard about the waters of the Jordan being stopped from flowing so the Israelites could cross over and the scripture in the KJV states “their heart melted.”  Seeing or hearing about the water would definitely put the fear of God in you!!  The FIRST thing God commands Joshua to do is circumcise all the men.  WHY you ask?    In Genesis 17, God tells Abraham that: “This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: EVERY male among you shall be circumcised.”   The seriousness of this covenant concerning circumcision can be seen in Exodus 4:24-26.  God was going to KILL Moses because one of his sons had not been circumcised as they were headed to Egypt to approach Pharaoh.  Zipporah became very mad, took out a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and threw it at Moses’ feet saying you are a “bridegroom of blood to me.”  Joshua did not question the Lord, he obeyed and after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.  Gilgal means “a wheel, rolling” – God rolled away the reproach (scorn, shame, disgrace) from off of the Israelites once they were all circumcised.  This was in preparation for their entry into the Promised Land.  God has stated in our reading many times that HIS people are to be separate and set apart.  Circumcision was part of setting HIS people apart.

On the 14th day of the month (it is still the first month of Nisan/Abib) they celebrated the Passover while camped at Gilgal.  The manna STOPPED for the Israelites, but THAT year they ate the produce of Canaan!!!

Joshua meets “a commander of the army of the LORD.”  Joshua immediately bows before HIM and worships HIM.  What does HE ask Joshua to do??? Joshua has to remove his sandals because he is standing on HOLY GROUND!!

Chapter 6 – The Lord tells Joshua: “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men!!”   Kind of an odd way to win a military battle … march around the city once for six days…. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams horns in front of the Ark….on the seventh day…march around the city seven times with the priests blowing the trumpets…. Say NOTHING until you are told to give a loud shout …. A long blast of the trumpet is heard and the whole army gives a loud shout…. And the WALLS OF JERICHO WILL TUMBLE down and the army of Israel will go straight in.  WHOAAAAA!!!  CAN YOU SAY MIRACLE BY THE HAND OF GOD!!!  Hebrews 11:30 states: “By FAITH the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.”  God’s ways are higher than our ways.  HIS power is supernatural, wayyyyyyy beyond our comprehension.  I stand in awe of the relationship that exists between the grace of God and our faith and obedience to HIM!!  The walls of Jericho were said to have been MASSIVE.

http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/walls-of-jericho.html  states : “These walls were structured on a three tiered plan.  The walls started with an earthen rampart, or embankment, which ran from ground level, upwards on an incline to a stone retaining wall.  The stone retaining wall stood 12-15 feet in height.  On top of the stone retaining wall stood another wall made of mud-bricks, 6 feet think, and 2-=26 feet high.  Together, these two walls combined to form a fortification 32-41 feet high.  To put this in perspective, envision a 4 story tall building….  On the other side of the double wall, the embankment continued to climb upwards.  At the summit of the embankment another mud-brick wall stood….”

CAN YOU IMAGINE BEING ISRAEL and LOOKING at these walls????  Can you also imagine being inside the walls of Jericho …. Seeing these crazy people (who looked like ants) marching around your walls and thinking …. “oh … yeah.. I’m reallyyyy worried!!!”  JOSHUA could NOT have defeated Jericho alone … but GOD could and did!!

SOOOOOOO….  What 4 story brick walls are you facing today??  Have you given them TOTALLY over to God??  He is still the God of miracles!!!  HALLELUJAH!!!

The warriors did as they were told.  They destroyed EVERY living thing … except Rahab and all who belonged to her.  They removed them safely and placed them outside of the Israelite camp.  They burned the entire city and everything in it except for the silver, gold, bronze, and iron so they could put them in the Lord’s house.

WHY did everything need to be destroyed???

Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains and on the hills and under every spreading tree where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods. (Deut 12:2)

However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy  them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the LORD your God has commanded you.  Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God. (Deut 20:16-18)

For anyone just joining the read …God is Redeeming the World Back from Satan who has been ruling since Adam and Eve bit the fruit.  The Battle is God’s, and He knows what must be rid and what must not.  Trust it with your heart.

If the “why destroy the plunder part” is confusing look back to Deuteronomy 13:12-18.  God used people to work his task of judgment both on the other people as well as on the Israelites.  We will see it occur both ways.

By the way, (6:26-27) that curse that the Lord puts on anyone who undertakes the rebuilding of the city Jericho….ummmmm yepper…. someone will be stupid enough to try it.  We will read about that in July.  Something to look forward to.   🙂

Chapter 7 – RUT ROW!!!  There HAS to be a NUT in every crowd!!  “But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things.  Achan of the tribe of Judah took some of them.  So the Lord’s anger BURNED against ISRAEL.”  OK… so did he REALLY think God didn’t know he took these things from Jericho?????

MEANWHILE back at the ranch…. Joshua sent men to spy on Ai.  The men returned and said … we can take this place with just a small portion of our army… no problem.  BUT… 36 Israelite warriors were killed, the rest chased into “the slopes”… and they were afraid.  OK… take a look at that again… THE MEN DECIDED AI (pronounced AYE EYE) was small and could easily be taken.  GOD did NOT tell them to fight this way.  A perfect example of what happens when we LEAN ON OUR OWN UNDERSTANDING…… ummmmmmmm…. Not so good…. OUCH OUCH OUCH!!

Joshua did not understand what had happened.  He heard of his men being killed and chased, fell on his face, tore his clothes and asked the LORD humbly … why.  The Lord told him Israel sinned by taking some of the devoted things.  They stole.  They lied.  They put their illegal “booty” with their own possessions!!  God tells Joshua… He will no longer be with him anymore unless he destroys whatever among him is devoted to destruction!!

The people must be consecrated the next day before they can stand before their enemies in the future.  Oh… and by the way…. Whoever has the “devoted things” needs to “cough ‘em up”!!  God tells Joshua to bring all the tribes together and the LORD would call the tribes, clans, and families forward as He chose. Achan confesses, tells them where to find the “booty”.  Joshua explains to Achan the fact that his DESIRES for the “booty”  brought God’s anger upon ALL of Israel.  Achan was stoned (and I don’t mean today’s kind of stoned.)!    🙂

Chapter 8—The Lord reassured Joshua to not be afraid or discouraged.  HE gave Joshua detailed instructions as to how to attack Ai.  At God’s lead, Joshua held out the javelin toward Ai… and all his men ambushed the city, captured it, and quickly set it on fire.  ALL the people of Ai were killed.  In the Israelites’ first battle against the Amalekites in Exodus 17  ,  Joshua was actually the leader at war, and Moses, Aaron, and Hur held the staff up, and it was that act that had them win the battle.  Interesting eh???

Israel did carry off the livestock and plunder of the city as the Lord as instructed Joshua.  SO why were the Israelites able to carry away the plunder from AI and not from Jericho???  Some cities were under a ban (see the quote from Deuteronomy above) and others were not.  They knew from the lists from which cities they were able to keep the plunder.

When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it.  As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies.  This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby. (Deut 20:13-15)

So… another city was destroyed under the direction and protection of the Lord.  The king of Ai is hung from a tree.  Definitely makes a statement for anyone who may have been watching.

“If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance”. (Deut 20:13-15)

ALSO… Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross/tree before night.  Yes it was because a body could not be on a cross on the Sabbath but also because of the above.

We end today’s reading with sweet, obedient Joshua building an altar to the Lord on Mount Ebal, just as Moses had instructed.  Joshua blessed all the people and read all the words of the LAW before the entire assembly … men, women, children, and foreigners.

Is this not GREAT stuff!!  The more I read the OT …. The more I understand the NT!!!  God is so amazing!!

I’d love to hear any comments, questions, suggestions, thoughts, anything that touched your heart, or anything that brought questions… either on the blog or via an email to gbsmudski@nc.rr.com and be sure to use your SUBJECT field with BLOG in it.    🙂

A song titled The Battle Belongs to the Lord by the Maranatha Singers to help you worship HIM today.

Sharing HIS love,

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