Joshua 6 Part 1–Joshua’s Leadership Perspective

Now, as a guy, I love action movies.  I have seen more westerns, war movies, and covert-ops intrigue movies than I can count.  I must admit, however, that in the hundreds of hours of entertainment that I have enjoyed–NEVER did the big battle scene start with a bunch of priests leading the brass section of a marching band…God’s ways rarely are the same as our ways. 

There are several reasons for that.  I want to highlight three.  First–God is God and we are not.  As Joshua watched God over the 40 years he spent in the desert; one thing became clear–It is God’s power and leadership that delivered Israel–not anything they had or did.  Manna from heaven, water from rocks, crossing seas and rivers on dry land, leadership by clouds of fire and smoke all reminded Joshua that God did the heavy lifting–and as leader; he needed simply to trust and follow.

Second, God sees all time at once.  The Lord knows the outcome at the same time He knows the planning.  God never has to wonder what the end looks like.  So, when God directed Joshua’s battle strategy, He did so already aware of the outcome.  Joshua saw God forecast for Moses the entire journey from Egypt–God was never wrong.  So, when God gave Joshua direction, Joshua never questioned it.  Joshua simply followed.

Finally, God made sure that His own name was exalted–not Joshua’s nor the Israel’s.  While that may sound egocentric, the reality was that when the people become the center of attention, they release their dependence on God, and become self-important.  That independence always leads to chaos and defeat. As a group, people are a mess. God loved Israel and wanted them to enjoy the inheritance that He provided.  The Lord knew that would never last unless they did things with humility and dependence upon Him. So, that was why God always did things in a way that pointed back to His plan and His power. Starting a war with a concert was a great way to show that enemies were facing God–not a bunch of nomadic wanderers. 

If we, as His chosen, could accept that truth as readily as Joshua accepted it, then we could experience the same victory and blessing that God gave Joshua.  Joshua led with wisdom and humility–that choice was and is a perpetual one; it is made daily and sometimes hourly.  It is a mindset that is not dependent upon circumstance.  It is a life of surrender and trust in the God that created and is in control of ALL things.

God Bless You


Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days.Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat,[a] and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” And he said to the people, “Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord.”

And just as Joshua had commanded the people, the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord went forward, blowing the trumpets, with the ark of the covenant of the Lord following them. The armed men were walking before the priests who were blowing the trumpets, and the rear guard was walking after the ark, while the trumpets blew continually. 10 But Joshua commanded the people, “You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.” 11 So he caused the ark of the Lord to circle the city, going about it once. And they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp.

12 Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord.13 And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets blew continually. 14 And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days.

15 On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times.

Joshua 5 Part 2–The Adventure Begins

It must have been odd to see the world change before them.  Joshua had marched behind a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night for 40 years.  Now that they had crossed the Jordan and sat outside of Jericho, things were changing very quickly.

First, Israel celebrated their first Passover meal in the new land.  The people gathered what they needed from this land that flowed with milk and honey–that must have been fun.  The meal was so amazing–but, then, the manna simply ceased.  All at once, Israel was able to provide for itself and from then on, this free people no longer had to rely upon God for daily provision. (Well, truth be told they still had to rely upon God, it just was not as obvious.)

Next, Joshua looks out and sees a man with a sword and he approaches the man.  He asks a fair question–“Are you friend or foe?” The man responds–“NO! I am the commander of the Army of the Lord!” God came and was ready to do battle; and Joshua got to be a part! Joshua asked what he should do…The Angel of the Lord replied, “Take off your shoes; you are standing on holy ground!” Joshua, God’s leader for Israel, was given the same message that his mentor Moses received at the beginning of the adventure. It was a new beginning for God’s people, and the excitement was just beginning. 

In our lives, we can pinpoint God’s hand most often when we experience change.  While change is usually difficult, if we look, we can often see God’s plan being played out for our benefit and according to His will.  Like Joshua, we simply need to be ready to listen and to respond to God’s call–no matter what the circumstances hold for us. Usually, change in our lives will lead to a closer walk with God and a much better perspective.

As His people, we simply must respond by faith, and humbly continue to seek the Lord with all our hearts. Our response and perspective should be as one who is safe in God’s shadow. Paul said it well in Colossians 3:4, “For, you have died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is your life appears, you will also appear with Him in Glory!”

God Bless You


While the people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening on the plains of Jericho. 11 And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes, and parched grain. 12 And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

The Commander of the Lord’s Army

13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped[c] and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Joshua 5 Part 1–Renewing the Covenant

Ouch! After 40 years in the desert, God finally brought His people across the Jordan to reclaim their lands.  The neighboring kingdoms lost their confidence and cockiness because they saw and knew God was in charge. Still one thing remained outstanding–the covenant with Abraham required all males to be circumcised.  Since the Israelite people left Egypt, that practice had somehow ceased.  So all the men left in Israel, except for Joshua and Caleb had to be circumcised. 

So, Joshua sharpened the flint knives and did the job.  Amazingly, no one argued , complained or grumbled.  They simply camped out until they were healed and ready for war.  These were God’s chosen people–not escaped slaves from Egypt.It is important to know that we are set apart as the children of God.  Joshua got it.  He was leading a special people, to a special place, for a special purpose.  Finally, the enemies knew it and his own people knew it.  They had finally become what they were called to be. 

We need to live the same way.  We are called to walk as children of God. We follow God closely and are grateful for His leadership. We trust God, and we seek Him.  As we do that, He empowers us to become the people we are supposed to be. As we obey, the world and all that would oppose God recognise that it is God and not us that is in charge. 

That gives us the opportunity to claim His promises and be God’s covenant people. We need not be ashamed of who we are; nor, should we be ashamed of Whose we are.  Paul said it best in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  Now, the life I live in the flesh–I live by faith in the Son of God, who loves me and gave Himself For me.”

Let us live as ones given victory and inheritance–not, as escaped slaves wandering in the desert!

God Bless You


As soon as all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan for the people of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts melted and there was no longer any spirit in them because of the people of Israel.

At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the sons of Israel a second time.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth.[a] And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the males of the people who came out of Egypt, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way after they had come out of Egypt. Though all the people who came out had been circumcised, yet all the people who were born on the way in the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt had not been circumcised. For the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord; the Lord swore to them that he would not let them see the land that the Lord had sworn to their fathers to give to us, a land flowing with milk and honey. So it was their children, whom he raised up in their place, that Joshua circumcised. For they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way.

When the circumcising of the whole nation was finished, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed. And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” And so the name of that place is called Gilgal[b] to this day.

Joshua 4 Part 2–The True Changing of the Guard

God never does things half way. When it came time to cross the Jordan and start the new campaign, God did it in a big way. He stacked up the waters so that Israel could cross on dry land.  He exalted Joshua as leader before the people.  Then He prepared them for the first of many battles that were to come. 

Verse 14 stood out.  “That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of Israel; they stood in awe of him all the days of his life–Just as they stood in awe of Moses.” 

Joshua had big sandals to fill–God knew that, and so God made sure there was no doubt that Joshua was the leader–with the full confidence and Spirit of God resting upon him.  Remember, this was a stiff-necked people.  They needed a strong leader that would operate like a gentle shepherd. Joshua was uniquely trained to fill that role.  As time would pass, Joshua would be given the opportunity to show what a lifetime of faith and obedience could produce.  That picture should have inspired Israel for generations.  That picture should inspire us for all the days of our lives.  

These people, led by this man of God, had the single most direct illustration of the preparation, protection and provision that God could offer. Now, as they sought to claim their inheritance, the world would get a glimpse of God’s direction and care for those He loves.  One can never forget, Joshua was not leading a warrior nation–He was leading a nation of priests called to share God’s love with all men.  Joshua, the great General was now also the amazing shepherd to lead God’s people to fulfil their destiny and their role as that nation of priests.

God Bless You


Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over, 11 and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the Lord and the priests came to the other side while the people watched.12 The men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, ready for battle, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them.13 About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for war.

14 That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him all the days of his life, just as they had stood in awe of Moses.

15 Then the Lord said to Joshua, 16 “Command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant law to come up out of the Jordan.”

17 So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.”

18 And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.

19 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea[b] when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”

Joshua 4 Part 1–The Memorial

This is just a little ironic.  As we enter the Memorial Day weekend, we are looking at God’s command for Israel to build a memorial for their crossing over the Jordan to claim their inheritance.  God knew that this event would be burned into the memories of all that were a part–but, he also knew that as generations passed; the people would soon forget the importance of crossing the Jordan, and claiming the land.The tribes set up a nice memorial at the place that they camped the first night in “Israel”.

In generations to come, when asked what the memorial represented, people would recount the stories of Egypt, manna, marching in the Desert and the taking of the land. They would explain that this memorial represented the day the children of Israel truly gained their covenanted lands.  It was critical that each tribe picked a stone.  that stone was probably unique, and was probably adorned in a way that made clear the tribe it represented.  As the people thrived and as generations passed, one could probably point out his tribes ancesteral stone and know the story of crossing the Jordan on dry land.

In our lives, we too must have memorials to remind us of God’s love for us, and of the gifts that He provided.  We are one nation under God. We must never forget the reason for this nation’s beginnings.  We must never forget the sacrifices made for our freedom. On our currency, in our founding documents, and across the world are memorials of the freedom we enjoy as one nation under God.  Like Israel, We must never forget that all that we are and all that we have–we have received as a gift from God. 

This Memorial Day weekend, let’s remember all that have sacrificed to keep our nation free and safe.  However, as we remember, let us also remember that the freedom we enjoy is truly a gift from God, and we must also be grateful that His hand has guided and protected this nation.

God Bless You


When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been[a] in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.

Joshua 3 Now Is the Time to Let God Shine

The time had come.  The wandering was over, the spies had returned, and now, God was preparing to make Canaan Israel’s land.  The entirety of Israel was made ready.  The priests would lead with the Ark, The people would follow according to the order they knew. Joshua would lead and Israel would cross the Jordan on dry ground…What?  That is correct.  Even though the river was running at flood stage, God parted the river and made the ground on which the people crossed dry.

It must have been quite a sight to see the water bunched up like a wall and the ground in the riverbed dry. As the people crossed, they knew that this would be God’s battle and not theirs. The priests, the soldiers, and the people would see that God was in control.

God does the same in our lives. If we are willing to follow, He will establish His presence for us and will lead us through the treacherous, and dangerous paths we cover.  We, like Joshua, need to listen and follow the Lord’s command.  If we will, God is faithful to do in our lives all that He has promised. In that, not only will we see His hand in our lives, but we will show others who may need to know the Lord His greatness and His faithfulness.

God Bless You


Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittimand went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. After three days the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits[a] between you and the ark; do not go near it.”

Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them.

And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’”

Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”

Joshua 2–Spies, Harlots and Vindication

Joshua followed the script of Moses. Prior to entering Canaan, Joshua sent spies into the land.  The spies went to Jericho and were protected by a local prostitute named Rahab.  during their stay they learned that God had preceded the Israelites into the land and melted the enemies hearts with fear.  They had feared the coming of Israel since the Lord parted the Red Sea. The people heard of the massacre of the Amalekites and the kings that tried to attack Israel.  God had prepared the hearts of the people.  Had Israel entered the Land back when the original spies scouted; Israel would have cleared the land without incident. Sadly, the people’s own fears and lack of faith precluded them from enjoying God’s blessing and protection.
 
This time, the spies did not see the giants in the land. Instead they saw God’s preparation and the people’s fear.  In their hearts, they knew God had given the people of Israel the land.  When they returned and reported Joshua, there is little doubt that it brought him joy and a sense of vindication.  After trudging through the desert for 40 years, Joshua finally was to claim that for which God called him originally.  As the leader, Joshua was ready, focused, and resolute to enter and claim the inheritance.
 
In our lives, we have to cling to the faith we have gained to receive all that God has prepared for us.  We must never lead with fear or doubt, instead we simply trust and follow.  We also must not try to figure God out.  The Lord uses people in our lives we would never expect, circumstances we would never foresee and results we would never have predicted to complete His plan.  If we will simply trust in the Lord and follow Him closely, He will prepare, provide and protect us in our journey.  We simply must push forward and watch God complete His plan.
 
God Bless You

Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.

The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.”

But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.

Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea[a] for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.[b] 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.

12 “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you…

23 Then the two men started back. They went down out of the hills, forded the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”