The Walls Fell Down Flat (Joshua 6:1-16, 20)
The Walls Fell Down Flat
How often do you hear or say any of these words or phrases?
“You can’t do that!”
“It won’t work!”
“There is no way.”
“We took a vote…”
Do these words or phrases give you a sense of victory or a sense of defeat? It might depend on whether you are saying them or hearing them! Either way, the motivation for saying these words can be one of two: fear or truth.
Joshua and Israel have the obligation to take over the land of Palestine in order to get ready for the coming of God to earth. They don’t understand that bigger picture, but you and I do. Joshua sent spies into the city of Jericho back in Joshua 2 and then in chapter 3, Israel crosses over the Jordan River. In chapters 4 & 5, Israel gets itself ready to take over the first, and heavily defended city in Palestine, the city of Jericho. The name “Jericho” means “city of the moon,” which suggests that the inhabitants worshipped the moon.
Jared and I are encouraging the whole congregation to study, at home, the book of Joshua. This book is the text for the Lads to Leaders program this year. The Lads kick-off will be next Sunday. Let’s take another look at the destruction of Jericho and draw a couple of lessons from it that are relevant for us today.
ISRAEL TAKES OVER JERICHO:
Although the city was strongly fortified, God has the power to give the cities into the hands of Joshua and Israel: 6:1-2, 16.
God gives a strange command to Israel to take over the city: 6:3-5. God gave “strange” commands to teach humanity that God can save by many or by few (1 Sam. 14:6). To show that the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding (Ecc. 9:11). God gave “strange” commands in order to teach His people and non-believers alike that we need to humble ourselves before God and not believe that our own strength will save us (Judges 7:2).
Do you think Israel worried about the Canaanites shooting arrows at them from the walls? Or throwing javelins? Don’t you think they were a little worried about what they were doing? But, they continued doing what they did not understand, because they trusted God!
Joshua obeys God’s command: 6:6-16. Don’t you think the people in Jericho laughed and mocked at the Israelites? No one had ever conquered a city this way! There was no ramps made of dirt to climb the walls. There were no battering rams, no catapults. No swords. No clubs. No bows & arrows. Nothing that normal people would carry!
Archaeologists estimate that Jericho at this time was about 8 or 9 acres, so it would take about 30 minutes to march around it. Then Israel went home and waited until the next day. Can you imagine the conversations going on both in the Israelite camp and in the Canaanites’ camp?
When man obeys God, blessings result: 6:20.
Now that we have the event in front of us, let’s draw some lessons from the text…
WE NEED TO GRASP THE CONCEPT OF DIVINE JUSTICE:
God’s justice is patient. Jericho is one of the oldest cities known to man. It was in existence before Abraham. While it lay within the borders of the land promised to Abraham, God also told Abraham that in his day, the sin of the people had not reached its limit (Gen. 15:13). So God waited and gave Jericho hundreds of years and plenty of opportunity to get their lives right with God (5:1). Rahab is a key example of that (2:10-11) as are the Gibeonites (9:).
We should not presume on God’s long-suffering but get our lives right while we have breath in our bodies - 2 Peter 3:9, 14-18.
God’s justice is irresistible. The city was closed in and tightly defended. It had an impenetrable wall around it. And basically without any help from man, God brought down their walls.
One day, more than walls will come down (2 Peter 3:10-11). Those who have not been washed by the blood of Jesus will not be able to stand in the day God’s wrath is poured out on sin (Nah. 1:6). Paul writes that the wrath of God is on its way: 1 Thess. 1:10.
God’s justice is not capricious. The extent of the wickedness of the Canaanites is well known and well documented. Sin gets what it deserves. There will be no discrimination - outside of Jesus Christ - because all souls belong to the Lord and all souls will answer to the Lord (Ezek. 18:4). Paul told the people in Athens that God commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30-31).
Jericho shows us how God will deal with sin.
Jericho also shows us how God deals with salvation…
WE NEED TO GRASP THE CONCEPT OF SALVATION:
Jericho stood in the way of Israel taking over the Promised Land. Sin stands in the way of our inheriting the “Promised Land.”
Sin does not have to reign over us (Rom. 6:14).
Just as the power to destroy the walls of Jericho (Josh. 6:4, 6-9, 11-13) was in the hands of God, so the power to destroy sin rests in the hands of Jesus Christ, His atonement, and our union with Him (Col. 2:11-15; Heb. 2:14-15).
Take home message: We need to look to God for victory over sin and temptation and pain and discouragement and disillusionment in our lives and develop the will to live by faithful obedience to His commands.