By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies (Heb 11:30-31 ESV).
Isn’t it amazing that in the Hall of Faith Chapter of Hebrews, the Holy Spirit when speaking of the Fall of Jericho saw fit to speak of Rahab by name and not Joshua? To the Hebrews, Joshua was most famous—and understandably so—but the Holy Spirit puts the emphasis on a different player in the story of Jericho, pointing out the faith of a Gentile woman!
Continuing today in the Book of Joshua… Thanks for reading! I hope and pray it is encouraging to you…
Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. 2 And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. 3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days (Josh 6:1-3 KJV).
The strong fortress around Jericho barred Israel’s entrance to the land. The city was impregnable, making conquest impossible to Israel. But it wasn’t impossible to God. So, Joshua is given probably the strangest plan of battle ever formed!
And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. 5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him (Josh 6:4-5 KJV).
Biblically speaking, the number seven symbolizes perfection, totality, and universality. Such are the Plans of God, and they always succeed. The shout of the people was one of obedience and a shout of victory.
And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord. 7 And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the Lord. 8 And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns passed on before the Lord, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them (Josh 6:6-8 KJV).
The LORD did not need Israel to march around Jericho seven days, or even one day, for the walls to fall down. But He was teaching them trust, dependence, and obedience.
And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the rereward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets. 10 And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout. 11 So the ark of the Lord compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp (Josh 6:9-11 KJV).
As a military maneuver, all of this was worse than useless, but it was not a military maneuver, but rather spiritual.
And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rereward came after the ark of the Lord, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets. 14 And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days (Josh 6:12-14 KJV).
The Israelites marched around the city of Jericho one time each day and then went back to their camp, along with the Ark of the LORD.
And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times. 16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city. 17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent (Josh 6:15-17 KJV).
“Shout for the LORD has given you the city!” is a cry that rings way back from my childhood and brings a smile.
And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. 19 But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord (Josh 6:18-19 KJV).
Unfortunately, there was one man who didn’t obey, which caused Israel great trouble. Everything about the city was cursed by God because it was wholly given over to idol worship and pagan spirituality.
So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. 21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword (Josh 6:20-21 KJV).
Had they attempted to take Jericho without the leading of the LORD, casualties would have been great; however, following the LORD, there is no record that there were any casualties among the army of Israel at all.
But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her. 23 And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel. 24 And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. 25 And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwells in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho (Josh 6:22-25 KJV).
Salvation by the scarlet line was not only simple, it was sure. When the Day of Wrath came, it gave the safety it promised. The same will be for those in Christ by Grace through Faith in the Day of Wrath to come. Although slated for destruction, Rahab’s Faith saved her. The LORD took her harlotry and turned it into Holiness.
And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and builds this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it. 27 So the Lord was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country (Josh 6:26-27 KJV).
Jericho was to be reserved as a spot devoted to God forever. No fortified city was to be rebuilt at that spot. This curse pronounced by Joshua would actually fall a reckless man named Hiel (I Kings 16:34), and he would see the death of his eldest son at the laying of its foundation and the death of his youngest would follow its completion.
But the Children of Israel committed a trespass of Carmi, the Son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the Tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing; and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the Children of Israel (Josh 7:1 KJV).
If any single member of the community of Israel violated the specific laws laid down by God, the whole body was liable for his sin until it had purged itself by a public act of restitution.
And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth-aven, on the east side of Beth-el, and spoke unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai (Josh 7:2 KJV).
I remember as a kid thinking “Ai” was a strange name for a city… LOL
And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men; for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down; wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water (Josh 7:5 KJV).
It would appear that Joshua had made a serious blunder in not seeking the LORD about addressing the trespass of Carmi before sending the men from Jericho to Ai. And disaster was the result.
And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the Ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the Elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads (Josh 7:6 KJV).
They knew something was wrong—horribly wrong—but didn’t know what it was.
And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon your face? Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My Covenant which I commanded them; for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore, the Children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed; neither will I be with you any more, except you destroy the accursed from among you (Josh 7:10-12 KJV).
Jehovah God explains to Joshua that He could not bless Israel against her enemies until her internal transgressions were addressed.
Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow; for thus says the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of you, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies, until you take away the accursed things from among you (Josh 7:13 KJV).
Anything taken from pagan spirituality is accursed by God and will stand between God and His purposes for man. There is nothing redeemable about demonic occult practices—even in the New Covenant of Christ—because as the Book of Hebrews tells us, Christ came as a Man, not an angel, to redeem fallen man, not fallen angels. Christians should take nothing from New Age spirituality or any other religious practice because the source of their mystical power is fallen angels/familiar spirits. While any man can be redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb, no fallen angel—Satan included—can be redeemed, nor can any of the practices of false spirituality. We are not to be conformed to the false spirituality of the evil prince of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds by the Power of the Holy Spirit through mediation on and reverence of Written Word of God.
Speaking as a person who has been led astray by familiar spirits into the world of guided visualization, I know now how seductive… and then destructive these practices are for the life and spiritual well-being of a Believer… God sets Divine Boundaries for our spiritual well-being and protection.
And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of old, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his assess, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why have you troubled us? The LORD shall trouble you this day, and all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stones them with stones (Josh 7:24-25 KJV).
Babylon and money have quite the attraction. As Christians we find these things all over the place, just like Achan found them in Jericho.
And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The Valley of Achor, unto this day (Josh 7:26 KJV).
If the discovery and judgment of contamination be painful, and if there be faithfulness in dealing with it, then Grace gives both blessing and victory, and the Valley of Achor becomes a Door of Hope! Amen and Hallelujah!
And there I will give her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt (Hosea 2:15 ESV).
Finally, today, a hymn…
Come, let us lift our joyful eyes, up to the courts above, and smile to see our Father there, upon a throne of love. Come, let us bow before his feet, and venture near the LORD; no fiery cherub guards his seat, nor double-flaming sword. The peaceful gates of heavenly bliss are opened by the Son; high let us raise our notes of praise, and reach th’ almight throne. To Thee ten thousand thanks we bring, Great Advocate on high, and glory to th’ Eternal King, Who lays His anger by. – Isaac Watts