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Conquest of Jericho (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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September 29, 2020 6:00 am

Conquest of Jericho (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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September 29, 2020 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Book of Joshua (Joshua 6)

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Then, of course, the words number seven in the Hebrew itself, Shiva, comes from the root meaning to be full, to be satisfied, to be complete. And it helped give the sacred significance to the Jew and it shows up in scripture.

They see the number seven, they think about what's going on here. For instance, you go to Genesis chapter 12 verses 1 through 3 and God gives seven blessings that he promises to Abraham. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Joshua.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Joshua chapter 6 as he begins his message, Conquest of Jericho. Joshua chapter 6, the fall of Jericho. Now, because of the unspeakably corrupt lives of the people in Canaan, the land was about to vomit them out. Now, if I had chosen those words, it would be, boy, that's a little harsh or a little, but that's biblical. Leviticus chapter 15 verse 25, for the land is defiled. Therefore, I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it and the land vomits out its inhabitants.

That's a violent rejection. They are about to be ejected through the sword. Over the centuries, all of the nations in Canaan had become so morally corrupt, depraved is the theological word, that the land had to be cleansed. They were irretrievable. They would not repent. There were, of course, it was Rahab, and God even showed some mercy to the Gibeonites, but overall, they were unfit to continue the things that they were doing. The Bible is not interested in saying, well, let me tell you again all the rotten things they're doing. It was mentioned in Leviticus.

God said to his people, these are the things that they're doing, and I don't want you doing them, and we don't lose sight of that in case there is somebody who thinks they can be more merciful than God, more wiser than he, which in the world there are many like that. The Lord has shown himself as the commander, the one in charge of God's will, God's intention, and Joshua submitted to him as the commander of God's forces, of God's will, God's instruments, as I said moments ago. But he still did not have a battle plan. And how to take Jericho, a double-walled city on slopes, no siege engines, that's just humanly not possible with what Joshua had at his disposal.

Even an army with siege engines would have had a very difficult time. It would involve faith and work, which is what James tries to get across to the church that he was preaching to through his letter. Faith and works, they go together, just can't give God lip service and you just can't work. We want a combination of a Martha and a Mary spirit, not just Bible study and no action and not all action and no Bible study, but striking that balance. Hopefully, the study of the Word will bring about the action, but without the Word, you will not have the faith and devotion. Faith comes by hearing, hearing the Word of God. We should not lose sight of that. In verse 1 now, Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel.

None went out and none came in. Well, true to Jericho being a type of the world, and we have in these three chapters, chapters 6, 7, and 8, we have Jericho, Ai, and then the Gibeonites, and they all parallel, in some respect, the world, the flesh, and the devil, and I'll just take a little time to bring those out. Now, here they are on lockdown against Joshua. Joshua and his armies, of course, the Lord, just as the world locks down on Christ, builds these high walls up so that the Lord can't get in, determined to resist him to the death.

That was Jericho, like the world, an untenable and indefensible position. In spite of seeing God do miracles, in spite of the record, in spite of the, you know, they knew all the way from 40 years ago what God did in Egypt, just like the world, it did not mean enough. The fact that they just crossed the Jordan with two million men, women, children, and animals, and during its high flood season, they just dismissed it.

They were going to somehow survive this, they thought. Now, they were surrounded by the Jews. Now, the Jews had to bring them down quickly because if they delayed too long, then the other Canaanite people may come to the rescue to assist those that would be besieged, so a siege was not a good option.

They had to conquer them in a reasonably fast time. We're going to need to talk about the walls a little bit more, and this, incidentally, locking the city up, keeping the men of war in the city so that they don't run away, and also causing them to fight harder for their families, and this is one of the reasons why they locked down. They didn't want spies coming in, etc., but these walls. Another city, the one that Israel will face next in chapter 7, Ai, was considered small next to Jericho, but we're told in Joshua chapter 8 that there were 12,000 people in Ai, so if that was a small city compared to Jericho, thinking that it must be speaking of the population also, then Jericho probably has somewhere 20,000, 24,000 people.

Archaeologists have, of course, chimed in on this, and they estimate the population to be somewhere between 18,000, 20,000 people also. It was a fortified city. As I mentioned, double-ringed wall going as high as 45 feet. The first level was, you know, of walls, and if you got past that one, you were going up a hill now, sloped upward to another wall of 45. That's four and a half stories tall by our calculations today, and thick. The first one was six feet thick, the second wall 12 feet thick, so no wonder Joshua was looking at Jericho wondering, how am I going to get in there?

How are we going to conquer this? God set him up. God was going to, of course, get him up into the city also. The fact that it was built on a hill meant that the Jews would have to fight an uphill battle, which is never good.

You suffer very high losses on that kind of an assault, so a direct assault was not advisable, and the fortifications, the arrows that they would be shooting, and all the other booby traps they would throw their way just made this a mess, but God intervened. Just like in a life of an unbeliever who has these high walls up, these fortifications, is adamant about resisting Christ, Jesus has to show himself, the one who plans the strategy to bring the walls down, and there's no other way. This is the lesson from the life of Paul, from that moment in the life of Thomas when he said, unless I can stick my fingers in his wounds, I am not going to believe. See, he had put high walls up because his feelings were hurt. He had spent so much time loving Jesus, watching him, dedicated, ready to die with him. Thomas was the one that said, let us go to Jerusalem, that we might die with him. He was not afraid, but when he saw Christ die on the cross, it was just too much.

He didn't know what to do. He would not be tricked again. That is why he makes such a statement as he does, and of course the Lord overcomes that wall miraculously.

Go ahead Thomas, stick your fingers in the wound. Our own personal conversion is proof that great walls can come down if God gets involved, and that's what part of the story is to us. In verse 2, he says, and Yahweh said to Joshua, see, I have given Jericho into your hand, its king and the mighty men of valor. Now this is a book of war.

Again, he could not go up with an eviction notice and expect them to just pack up and leave the city. There would be the need to actually go into the city and shed blood, much blood. Those twenty-four, twenty-four thousand people that, and animals, they were to kill the oxen and sheep, they were not to take a spoil for themselves. Joshua's strategy was to split the promised land in two, cut right through Jericho across and then cut south, vanquish the larger forces that were threats, and then move up north, and that he did. But this is the first stop, first place that Joshua would strike is the world.

As I mentioned, Jericho represents for our consideration a type of the world. The first place the Lord strikes at, the first place in saving a soul, is their worldly relationship. And out of that, Jesus said, the world hates you. You know that it hated me before it hated you, John 15, 18.

So we Christians should never be surprised when the world turns on us and hates us with a passion even. The second enemy, Ai, represents the flesh. The word Ai means ruins. That's what the flesh does to us.

It ruins everything spiritually if not dealt with. Joshua, when it's time to face Ai, he sends a small force against them. The reports come back, it's a smaller city than Jericho. As I mentioned, we can take it with a smaller army.

It'd be easy to take. But it is the first place in the promised land that they suffered a telling defeat. They underestimated Ai. Just like we, when we come to Christ, we're so in love with him, we're ready for the miracles, and we underestimate our own flesh, our own carnality. We underestimate the flesh of another Christian also.

And we suffer telling defeats that way. And so here in Joshua, we get these lessons, we'll revisit that again. Many Christians can overcome the world. That's how we become a Christian. We come into the faith, we get out of Jericho, we come into the faith. But we don't march around the flesh with our horns ready for war as we do, we don't watch around our flesh as we do the world. It's the tactics that worked at Jericho, some of that needs to be applied to Ai, to the flesh.

Well, next up would be the Gibeonites. They represent the devil because they lied to the people of God. And that's what Satan always does without exception.

When he's telling a truth, it is because he's setting up a lie. And so his truths are then lies and never to be received. Revelation 12, so the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old called the devil and Satan who deceives the whole world, he was cast to the earth. Verse 3, oh, let me just review that in case I've lost any of you. So here Jericho, a type of the world with her high walls, Ai, the next objective after they bring down Jericho, they're going to have this courage and they're going to go in and they're going to get beaten at first battle because they underestimated the flesh, the place of ruin. And then they will deal with the Gibeonites who will deceive them because Joshua doesn't seek the Lord. He goes in his own strength, which is such a typical mistake. It's a rookie mistake, you could say. A Christian's just, well, it's the obvious thing to do. But they lean on their own understanding and not the Lord.

The next thing you know, there's a tremendous problem. Verse 3, you shall march around the city, all your men of war, you shall go all around the city once, this you shall do six days. Well, here we have the leader, Joshua, he is going to be part of this number, marching around the city after 40 years, marching around the desert.

This was a cakewalk, you could say. But there would be Joshua, the leader, there would be the troops and there would be the priest. This was the formation, this made up their formation. And without these battering rams and siege engines, they were going to have to bring down the walls according to God's strategy. He says, you shall go all around the city once, that's once for six days. These orders are by man's standards are insane.

They're a waste. Any go-get-em commander would be saying, what are you doing sending our forces in circles? Maybe you have said that to God. Maybe you've said, God, I'm going in circles here. I'm just marching around the place that's giving me the problem, the place that's got to be conquered. I'm just going in circles. When am I going to get the victory? I don't want another march.

I want to take them out. And so the lessons that come from that, Rahab must be looking out the window because she has a wall, you know, her window is on the wall, outer wall. She's got to be saying, what are they waiting for? Let's get this thing done. No human puts together a battle plan like this and then wins. Great credit to this generation of Jews. They adhere to their instructions and not a peep about not doing it. They all show up for formation and they all march, unlike so many of our Christians or those who claim Christ that are never in formation. Kill them to go to church. The Bible is very clear on this.

It's not a suggestion. Paul calls them deserters forsaking the assembling of ourselves. And I hope that as hard as it can sometimes be to attend the same church over decades, I hope you understand it's supposed to be worth it.

What are we supposed to do? Every time we don't like something, switch churches. It's musical churches.

When the music stops, when you're no longer happy, just change churches. I'm not talking about doctrine. If doctrine goes south, that's another matter. The critical doctrines, not the secondary doctrines.

The essentials, for example. What if a church had everything in place except love? Critical doctrine's not there. Maybe you shouldn't be either. Well, this again, once a day for six days, we've got to keep in mind they cannot hug the wall as they're marching around the city. They've got to keep a distance. They've got to stay out of arrow range, for example, and probably insult range, too. You don't need to hear them being mocked. Hey, you dodos!

Is that all you've got? Verse 4, and seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of ram's horns before the ark, but the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times and the priests shall blow the trumpets. Now, he's still getting his orders from God. This is the strategy. He's not yet given it to the army, but again, they're a disciplined lot overall, and they're not going to give Joshua a problem.

They stick to their word. As we were with Moses, we're going to be with you, and not like our fathers were not with Moses, but like we were. Anyway, we need to just point out the ark here may have been uncovered for all of this.

We don't know. We know that the instructions were to cover it when it was outside of the tabernacle, but it's hard to picture such a glorious, you know, ark, but even if it was covered, it would still, though mysterious, you know, mysteriously leading us, as God does, it would be in character. I'd just tinker with that as I look at this verse. The artists get a lot of stuff wrong. They can draw pictures like nobody else.

That's why they're artists, but when it comes to detail, they often make a mess of things. Sometimes it's little things, like the one we have of Moses out there with the rod, holding his rod up. It's a skinny rod. The rod would be thicker than that. You can't take a snake out with something like that.

Now, I know we have snake likers, and I'm not speaking against them, but that's one of the main reasons they had those things, to protect themselves from beasts and creepy things. Anyway, where was I? Seven. Seven.

We have a Sesame Street moment. We need to talk about the emphasis of the number seven. Seven priests, seven trumpets, count them. I am the count.

He's the cute one. Seven priests, seven trumpets, seven days of marching, seven marching, seven circuits around the city, and then the seventh day. A lot of sevens. It's clearly written into the life of Israel, the number seven. Clearly, there's a significance to this number seven.

We have to be careful that we don't start trying to read this as an omen into something. There are lessons in the number for Israel and the way God moves, and we can grab some of those lessons, but we don't want to become superstitious. You know, imagine if it was a Christian baseball team and everybody wanted the number seven.

It just wouldn't work out. You'd have numbers up to like 7,777 and just keep going to satisfy some superstition. The number seven. The Sabbath created on the seventh of the week. Seven times seven is 49. The 49th, 49 days till Pentecost, the 50th day would be the celebration. The seventh year was the sabbatical year.

Again, seven times seven, 49 years. It comes as then the 50th year, the year of Jubilee. Three of Israel's major feasts were in the seventh month.

That would be the feast of trumpets, atonement, and booths. And then, of course, the words number seven in the Hebrew itself, Shiva, comes from the root meaning to be full, to be satisfied, to be complete. And it helped give this sacred significance to the Jew, and it shows up in scripture. They see the number seven.

They think about, all right, what's going on here? For instance, you go to Genesis chapter 12, verses 1-3, and God gives seven blessings that he promises to Abraham. And, you know, anybody that, I will bless who blesses you, I will curse who curses you, those are two of the seven that are in that section of promises, seven promises to Abraham. Seven branches on the tabernacle's lampstands. His sevens are everywhere. No other number shows up like seven. Anything involving the number seven had spiritual meaning to them in their scripture that came from the Lord and his others, but that's enough for now. Suffice it to say that seven spoke of God's ability to finish whatever he started.

That's the point. The seventh day he rested because he finished what he started, and then the curse came and upset the whole thing, and then Jesus comes along and says, my father works until now. Yeah, I work on the Sabbath. I don't have a day off because sin. And we understand that with our emergency services. We don't want them to be off. You know, call 911, you know, sorry they're all off today.

Call back tomorrow. And so we can understand that there's this drama introduced to the human experience. The Sabbath is not what it used to be. Things change and we adjust and we follow them. We hold to what we can, but we move intelligently through time, hopefully as Christians, just as they were to move.

We'll come to that again in a minute. And he says, and the priest shall blow the trumpets. Joshua 6, the word shofar for trumpet and another word for trumpet also shows up, but it's just interchangeable. It's not a different type of horn. It's like they didn't have, you know, French horns and tubas, which is, I mean, if mankind did not have the tuba, would anybody notice?

Would it like, man, where is the thing that goes around the guy like a tire? Now maybe you played the tuba because you didn't like your parents, and I don't know. It's just an interesting thought.

You know, I haven't had hate mail in a while, and I'll give somebody cause. I got the snake lovers and the tuba lovers coming after me. Anyway, the word shofar shows up 14 times in this one chapter in eight verses, and so there's an emphasis there. This is the horn of war.

That's what this is. It's how it's being used, and that's its dominant usage in the Scripture. So, you know, we understand a lot about God and ourselves from the Bible. We don't understand, of course, everything about God. He cannot be fully understood, otherwise he wouldn't be worthy of worship. One thing that belongs to worship is awe, that this is beyond me. This is something so high and so lifted up.

I just kind of appreciate what I can lay hold of and also appreciate that there's an infinite amount more that I can't hold or get hold of, and I just love knowing that that is there. The ultimate mysteries of God, as Moses taught in Deuteronomy 29, the secret things belong to God, but there are other things that belong to us. There are other mysteries that we can discover and explore and use to the glory of the kingdom. Verse five, it shall come to pass when they make a long blast with the ram's horns, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet that all the people shall shout with great shout, and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall go up, every man straight before him. Now, that will be on the seventh day when the walls go flat and the people go and enter the city. The walls do not have to come down in every single place, incidentally. They only need to come down where they need to be breached.

That is an interesting thought also, because Rahab had everything collapse, her house being on the wall, she would have been in the rubble, and God doesn't do it that way. There's a lot of details in this section that really are dead-end rabbit trails. Just not really worth, you know, were you sure it wasn't on the trumpet? I used to agonize over these things, and you end up in dead ends, and you get back to, wait a minute, the study of the word is to find out what God is saying. It's not just this, you know, adventure hunt. Well, there could be a little bit.

You just can't let it get carried away. So, it would be one loud, long, clear blast that would do the city in, and so we have it ordered by God, commanded through Joshua, and executed by the troops, the priest and the troops, the priests with the horns, the troops with the swords, verse 6. And so there we have men with horns and men with swords, not horns growing out of their head, but they have horns nonetheless.

I thought that was kind of cute when I read it to myself earlier, but you guys are dull of heart. Thanks for tuning in to Cross Reference Radio for this study in the book of Joshua. Cross Reference is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. If you're interested in more information about this ministry, please visit our website, crossreferenceradio.com.

You'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick available there. We also encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. By doing so, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross Reference Radio. Just search for Cross Reference Radio in iTunes, Google Play Music, or your favorite podcast app. You can also follow the links at crossreferenceradio.com. We're glad we were able to spend time with you today. Tune in next time to continue learning from the book of Joshua right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-25 23:02:36 / 2024-02-25 23:12:22 / 10

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