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Victory!—Joshua 6:1–27

Monday, May 30, 2011, 12:36
This news item was posted in Bible Study, Dr. Robert L. LaMay, Sabbath School Lessons category.
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June 26, 2011

Lesson: Joshua 6:1–27

Key Verse: Joshua 6:16



To enter into this portion of God’s Word is to encounter one of those incidents in the Redemptive Acts of God that is filled with color and sound, with excitement and expectation. God’s work in history is nothing short of majestic, glorifying His name as He makes known both His wrath and His mercy. The truth of God’s covenant activity cannot be displayed upon the largest screen, for it even outshines the heavens presented as displayed in the innumerable stars of the galaxies.

Israel had finally reached the shores of the Jordan River. Those who had been born in the wilderness received from Joshua the covenant sign and seal of circumcision, and they then rested in their homes until they were healed (Joshua 5:5–8). The Lord declared that He had “rolled away the reproach of Israel,” and the place of their encampment was called Gilgal (5:9–10). The manna ceased, and the children of God ate of the fruit of Canaan (5:12). It was at this time that Joshua came face to face with a man whose hand held a sword. Asking if he was an adversary, he heard this reply: “as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. …Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy” (5:14–15). The journey of the wilderness had ended, and the beginning of the occupation of the land of milk and honey, was in the hand of the Lord God Almighty.

The commander of the host of Israel is emboldened by the presence of the commander in chief of angels and men. The angel calls himself the captain of the Lord’s host. Calvin understands this confrontation of Joshua’s as the bestowal of “divine kindness,” as a pledge of divine assistance and favor by the “Captain and Head of the Church.” The glory of God with His people is seen in the presence of the divine Son, the second person of the Godhead. For all did “drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4).

We must come before King Jesus in the manner of Joshua: to take off our shoes, so to speak, and worship Him in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells. For we, too, walk upon holy ground, the place wherein dwells the King, for He “must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet” (1 Cor. 15:25).


He Has Given—Joshua 6:1–10

It would have been a long and weary battle to take Jericho, for the city was a stronghold, its doors locked and its people ready for war. It is the Sovereign Lord who will conquer and give success to His people. The Lord speaks to Joshua as if the victory is already given: “See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor.” The only thing left for the people of Israel to do is to carry out God’s means of possessing Jericho, the way established by the will of the Lord. Both the means and the ends are established by the Lord and are agreeable with His purpose and glory.

Thus, the “men of war” under the command of Joshua were to walk around the city once a day for six days. Seven priests were to march before the Ark of the Covenant, bearing seven “trumpets of ram’s horns,” on the seventh day of that week. Then the long blast of the ram’s horn would signal the people to shout loudly, “and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before them.” Therefore, Joshua called the priests and people together to tell them of the will of their God and Savior.

The child of God may seem like the clown that the world smiles at and doesn’t take very seriously. But it is the Lord God who justifies His people, making “foolish the wisdom of this world” (1 Cor. 1:20). It is the Sovereign King of kings who enters Jericho, using the “foolish things of the world to confound the wise” (1 Cor. 1:27). We must understand this work of God in the preaching of the cross of Christ. For to those who are perishing it is foolishness, “but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” As it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise” (1:18–21).

Discussion: What promise is given to Joshua that Jericho will be conquered?


Unto The Lord—Joshua 6:11–21

The promise was given that the city of Jericho would be given over to Joshua. The accomplishment of this task was given to Joshua through certain commands of the Lord. The response of obedience must now be activated in the hearts and lives of the priests and people.

The Ark of the Covenant goes once about Jericho and rests at the camp. Joshua rises early and the priests again take up the ark of the Lord. For six days, the priests and the army of Israel circled the city. Only on the seventh day did they circle Jericho seven times. On this day, as the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua called on the people to shout; “for the Lord hath given you the city.”

The taking of the city of Jericho is to be by the authority and command of the Lord. The Lord is pleased to see His people wait upon Him. We must be careful not to be presumptuous in our decisions or actions, allowing our impatience to preclude the word of God. We ought not anticipate our Lord’s will, but in obedience and faithful perseverance, seek His will and joyfully bear the fruit of His work.

It is the Lord who has given the city to His chosen people. It is the word of God declared before the actual possession of the city that reminds us that deliverance and salvation is of the Lord alone. We are only the receivers of this wonderful grace. Not only is the city theirs, but there is the warning that the city is to be destroyed because of the disobedience of its people. Therefore, the people are not to touch anything that is “accursed.”

“Accursed,” is understood as something which is set apart to the Lord to be forbidden, cursed, exterminated, etc. The evil city of Jericho was to be given wholly unto God for its destruction. (When Achan and other, sinned by taking some of the riches in Chapter 7, Israel lost a war and needed to repent.) That which is of the Lord must be dealt with according to His will and purpose. Other cities would be Israel’s as a free gift of God. But all of the silver and gold from Jericho would be consecrated to the Lord and go “into the treasury of the Lord. “So the people shouted when the priests blew” their trumpets. The city of Jericho was destroyed by the sword, along with the people and their flocks.

Discussion: What is promised by the Lord, and how are the people to respond?


Joshua Saves—Joshua 6:22–27

Before Jericho is leveled, a promise to Rahab is kept. Rahab had pleaded for her salvation in the name and confession of the Lord Almighty. As Rahab is listed as justified by James, and of faith (Heb. 11:31), we should take her salvation as of the Lord: “only Rahab shall live.” Rahab is brought out of the city of Jericho by the spies she once saved, along with her family and goods. Joshua had “saved Rahab the harlot alive, with her father’s household and all that she had, and she found a home in Israel.” Rahab’s salvation came by promise. She found not only a deliverance from the sure destruction of Jericho, but a place in which to live. All of God’s elect know of this deliverance: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

God speaks of the wicked as those who are as “wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever” (2 Peter 2:17). This picture of the fate of the wicked is seen in the destruction of Jericho. This city is to be “burnt with fire,” with the warning that it is not to be rebuilt: “Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city of Jericho.” The desolation of Jericho would remind each generation that the destruction of the wicked is by divine power. To lay another foundation upon the ashes which God so wills, is like putting your own son to death. “Nor did Joshua utter this curse at his own suggestion; he was only the herald of celestial vengeance” (Calvin).

We must not miss the glory of our Savior in this picture of God’s salvation of His people. Did not the angel of the Lord give this name to Him who was born of the virgin, Mary, saying, You shall call His name Joshua, “for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Though we use the name Jesus today, we must remember His name means “Jehovah saves”! He was sent by the Father, that believing in Him we might have life (John 3:15–17). There is no other name by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12). Therefore, acknowledging our sin against God, we repent and turn our eyes upon Jesus (Mark 1:15; Acts 2:36–38).

Discussion: What does it mean to receive salvation from the Lord?


Lessons are based on the International Sunday School Lessons for Christian Teaching, copyright © 2011 by the Committee on the Uniform Series.

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