“Now Jericho was shut tightly because of the Israelites. No one was allowed to leave or enter. The Lord told Joshua, ‘See, I am about to defeat Jericho for you, along with its king and its warriors. Have all the warriors march around the city one time; do this for six days. Have seven priests carry seven rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, while the priests blow the horns. When you hear the signal from the ram’s horn, have the whole army give a loud battle cry. Then the city wall will collapse and the warriors should charge straight ahead’” (Joshua 6:1-5 NET).
The Israelite nation had crossed the Jordan River and were now in the Promised Land. God’s promise was being fulfilled! But…they were still living in tents and the land was full of hostile people. They still needed to conquer those living in the various towns and villages before they could settle down to a peaceful life.
The first town the Israelites came to was Jericho. It was a formidable, walled city. How could they ever dream of beginning their conquest here?
The strategy God revealed through Joshua had to have any trained warrior scratching his head. It did not include siege machines or even a siege! The armed men were to march around the walled town once each day, following the priests carrying the ark of the covenant, who were following seven other priests blowing rams’ horns. Then on the last day, after having done this for a week, they would march around the town seven times. When they completed this, the priests would blow a signal on their horns, the army would give a loud battle cry, and then the wall of the city would collapse and the armed men could go straight into the town and conquer it. As far as tactics go, this was not a strategy any army would have employed.
As the Israelites were approaching Canaan, God had made them a promise. “When you go to war against your enemies and see chariotry and troops who outnumber you, do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, is with you. As you move forward for battle, the priest will approach and say to the soldiers, ‘Listen, Israel! Today you are moving forward to do battle with your enemies. Do not be fainthearted. Do not fear and tremble or be terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you to fight on your behalf against your enemies to give you victory’” (Deuteronomy 20:1-4 NET)..
God promised to fight for his people. They had to trust that he would keep his promise. And he did!
Many reading the account of the fall of Jericho today might dismiss it as a “fantastic” story – surely it couldn’t have happened this way! But in the excavations that have been done in Jericho, what they have discovered is a town with multiple walls that fell outward (David Rhol’s Patterns of Evidence videos bring this out well).
There are two good lessons in this for us. The first is the need to trust in God, even when what he has asked might not make sense to us. The second is that we can trust the accuracy of the Bible. The details that can be confirmed check out.
We can trust God! We can place our confidence in God’s word!
Readings for next week:
29 May – Joshua 6
30 May – Joshua 7
31 May – Joshua 8
1 June – Joshua 9
2 June – Joshua 10