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June 26, 2021 12:01 am
Before the people of Israel could enter the promised land, a great obstacle stood in their way: the walled city of Jericho. Today, R.C. Sproul rehearses the miraculous victory that God granted His people.
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Going up today on Renewing Your Mind, Joshua and the famous battle for the walls come tumbling down to Moses.
Joshua took over as the leader of Israel. They were on the cusp of entering the promised land. Something stood in the way the walled city called Jericho the people wondered how they were going to conquer such a daunting phone when God accomplished is nothing short of astonishing. Dr. RC Sproul to continue the study through the book of Joshua one of the rich heritage we enjoy in this nation is to be the beneficiaries of a whole genre of music that has been traditionally labeled spiritual. It's the music that came out of the black community, chiefly during the period of slavery in earlier, songs like swing low Sweet chariot and go down Moses and a host of other songs that have enriched the repertoire of American music, but of course one of the most famous of those old spirituals is the song Joshua fit the Battle of Jericho back so well-known is that spiritual that even people who have never read the Old Testament have heard of Joshua and of the battle of Jericho. If for no other reason that having heard the lyrics of that particular spiritual one of the things I ought to say, in passing, is that if you pay attention to the sound of that genre of music and pay close attention to the lyrics you will hear music that expresses a couple of things one is pain. The pain of people who've grown under the burden of slavery but also the music expresses hope swing low Sweet chariot. I looked over Jordan. What did I say come in for to carry me home, what does the person see an angel coming to take him home. There is a strong accent on heaven and a strong accent on the Old Testament and of the work of God in delivering and oppressed people there. Moses and the Exodus figures prominently in the music of these people during the time of their captivity and their bondage or slavery. So why would they sing about Jericho Joshua fit the Battle of Jericho Jericho just for the battle Jericho and what in the walls came tumbling down with the Negro slave saw in the story of the battle of Jericho was the hand of God redeeming his people as he had promised them and so also the black slave look for the days when the walls of his prison would be torn down by the intervention of the God of heaven who would break the barriers and break his shackles and chains and give him freedom well. With that background, let's look at the narrative of this event in the life of the people of Israel. We find it in the sixth chapter of the book of Joshua we read these words now Jericho was securely shot up because of the children of Israel.
None went out and none came in my what this describes in the opening of chapter 6 is a city that is barricaded and prepared for a common method of military activity in the ancient world, namely the siege, Jericho was a walled city. It was a fortress and in a sense it was the fortress because it guarded the entrance way to the entire land, something akin to the Siegfried line that the allies had to cross before they began the invasion of Germany in world war two, and so this outpost. This fortress stands as a formidable point of defense for the whole country. If the Israelite army is going to be successful in their effort to conquer Canaan.
First of all they have to take Jericho and Jericho has heard the reports of this massing army against them and so the walls are shut the doors are sealed. The defenses are put in place, the Army that is inside is on battle alert and no one is allowed to enter the city and no one is allowed to leave the city because they are preparing for an all-out assault against their walls or a protracted siege is usually a combination of these two techniques that we encounter in antiquity, and so actually read this introductory statement we read in verse two and the Lord said to Joshua C. I have given Jericho into your hand, it's King and the mighty men of valor will take that statement literally. That's not what Joshua would city hall, he would see would be the formidable walls of that city standing there and he hadn't taken a single person captive yet, but God says I have already delivered the city into your hand at soldiers, it's King its whole inhabitation. Then comes the strange instructions in verse three you shall march around the city all you man-of-war you shall go around the city once this you shall do six days and seven priests Albert seven trumpets of rams horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times and the priest shall blow the trumpets what it seems to say here is that God gives the strange instructions.
I want the whole army to march around the city once a day for six days and then on the seventh day.
I want you to march around the city seven times. Wonder what is going on here. What's all this parade and display of the strength of the Israelite army that they just simply march around the wall at best. All that can do is show the inhabitants of Jericho. The strength of the Jewish multitude that is invading them and perhaps provoke them to fear or carelessness.
In any case. Then God says but the seventh day you march around the city seven times and the priest shall blow the trumpets and it shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram's horn and when you hear the sound of the trumpet that all the people shall shout with a great shout than the wall of the city will fall down flat and the people shall go up every man straight before this is an unprecedented ploy of military invasion but already Joshua has come to be convinced that God is with him. And so when the Lord gives them these seemingly bizarre instructions for this military tactic he acquiesces to the command we read in verse six. Then Josh will the Son of Man called the priest and said, take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams horns before the ark of the Lord. Then he said to the people proceeded march around the city and let him who is armed advanced before the ark of the Lord. So it was when Joshua had spoken to the people that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams horns before the Lord advanced and blew the trumpets and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them the arm and went before the priest who blew the trumpets and the rearguard came after the ark while the priest continued blowing the trumpets that you see what's going on here is this time instead of the ark of the covenant being in front of the Army.
It is placed in the middle of these advancing troops where you have one group of men walking in front of the ark and another group of rearguard following after the ark, and the throne of God now is in the midst of the advancing army. Joshua had commanded the people firsthand saying you shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth until the day I say to you, shout, then you shall one of the memories that I have as a boy growing up outside of Pittsburgh, was our Christmas Eve candlelight ceremony. It was a tradition in our church service. Always start at 11 o'clock and the service would rise to a crescendo in about 11:45.
When the minister would give the same homily was a brief one where he read a letter from an Irish priest to policeman and he would read this letter every Christmas Eve, and he would always finish the letter on how we did it at about 20 seconds or so before midnight and then he would pause the church big dark except for the candle that was lighting the podium or the pulpit where he was and we had got carillon in the church and sometimes the bells could be played not only outside the could hear them inside so the organist about 20 seconds to 12 would begin to hit the bells and have the bells strike 12, was very dramatic and then we would listen to the bells and everybody counting them silently to themselves. 1234 as soon as it got to 12 and the carillon stopped the pastor would say to the congregation. It's Christmas and may I be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas and that was his tradition that was a wonderful thing and we all just couldn't wait for that moment of the striking of the 12th bell and then would come the candle lighting ceremony, the candles would be lit. We would sing Silent Night and in that situation and that tradition there was a Congregational recessional where everybody filed out of the church carrying their lighted candle now. The tradition was this minister would say that we are to recess from the sanctuary in absolute silence and, if possible, we ask you to keep your candle lighted until you enter into your home and we ask that you keep a visual of silence until you arrive at home and that was part of the tradition that we would go out sometimes in the cold night wintry air to keep the candle lighted, but the basic thing was to maintain silence. I remember his kids how hard it was for us to keep quiet. Just leaving the church until we got home know what God is commanding the people of Israel to do here is a visual of silence, a protracted period of silence where we read you shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth until the day I say to you, shout, and serve during this whole ritual of marching around the city of Jericho.
The people of Israel were to keep a visual of silence with their lips, they couldn't talk to each other.
They weren't responding to taunts from the enemy. There were no war cries all battle cries God said you keep still keep absolutely silent until I say shout and then all the moist super saved up inside of yourself.
All this time and come out with one gigantic shout when I give the command right so then we continue to read, so he had the ark of the Lord circled the city going around it once and then they came into the camp and lost in the camp and Joshua rose up early in the morning the priest took up the ark of the Lord and then seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams horns went before the ark of the Lord and they went on continually and blue with the trumpets in the arm and went before them, and so we read that the second day they marched around the city and return them so they did this six days and then verse 15 came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early about the dawning of the day and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only. They marched around the city seven times in verse 16 says, and the seventh time it happened was in that interest seventh time it happened, what is it that happened when the priests blew the trumpets. Joshua said to the people shout for the Lord has given you the city.
Now the city shall be due by the Lord to destruction, and all who are in it.
Only Rahab the harlot shall live. She and all who were with her in the house because she hid the messengers we sent. And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things less you become accursed when you take out the accursed things and make the camp of Israel occurs in trouble.
It all the silver and gold. The vessels of bronze and iron are consecrated to the Lord, that shall come into the treasury of the Lord, not what this little passage does here is very important to the whole history of the book of Joshua.
What God is doing here in these words is instituting what was called the bandwidth war in Hebrew, the Marine Marine was an element in the Old Testament identified with an associated with holy war. This is a Jewish genie hod that is being carried out here where God is not only giving the territory to Israel as their inheritance and as his gift to them. But he is also using the army of Israel as an army of vengeance and destruction and judgment against the pagan Canaanites and so God commands that when they conquered the city that they are to destroy it utterly better to kill everybody there man woman and child all the lots everything and they are to lay waste to the city of this on the surface seems completely barbaric to us and let me just say in response.
The two things. One, this was not uncommon in war in the ancient world. If you study the Jewish wars written by Josephus and the conquest of Palestine in the first century by the Roman armies that you will read there that before the destruction of Jerusalem takes place. There is the systematic conquest of village after village and town after town from the borders of Palestine until the Roman armies reached Jerusalem and they slaughtered multitudes of people in the cities. In fact, Josephus himself was one of only two people who survived the slaughter of a little village of 34,000 people was actually a town more than a little village but in any case, this was something that was commonplace with armies in the ancient world, but in addition to that, you have the mission of Israel.
Good God gives to them that they are to be a holy nation.
They are to be completely separate and apart from the pagans whose land, God is given to them. God wants no pagan influence to penetrate the culture of his chosen people and so he orders that all of the inhabitants with the exception of Rahab and her family be slain, and everything is put under the ban. Now the booty that is taken is to be given to the treasury of the Lord.
No personal booty is to be appropriated by the soldiers, no souvenirs, no spoils given to the victor and so we read in verse 20 the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets and it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat and the people went up into the city. Every man straight before him, and they took the city and they utterly destroyed all that was in the city. Both man and woman, young and old ox and sheep and donkey with the edge of the sword and then of course we read with the family of Rahab was spared so verse 26 Joshua charge them saying accursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds the city Jericho, he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn with his youngest. He shall set up its gates so the Lord was with Joshua and his fame spread out throughout the country. Some of speculated on what really took place. Here are some argue that the walls were weak and that it was a combination of all this noise of the blowing of the trumpets and the shouting of the people caused a massive shock of sound waves that dislodge the mortar and disrupted the building of the was not could be on about the possibility of that explanation.
But again, the timing of it was incredible without having to throw a spear or shoot an arrow. The walls of Jericho and the people of this took possession of this bill.
Of course this is a familiar stories and were not surprised by the outcome.
We know that God knocked the walls.
Now with trumpets and shouting but you know what we should be astonished. Imagine the Israelites reaction God fought the battle for them and he won.
It's just one of the miraculous events we find in the book of Joshua and as you join us each Saturday here on Renewing Your Mind. We will continue through Dr. RC Sproul series in this book. If you'd like to continue your own study will send you all 10 messages for your gift of any amount to leader ministries just request the book of Joshua will send it to you one MP3 CD you can reach us by phone at 800-435-4343 or online at Renewing Your Mind.Ward, and, in advance, let me thank you for your generous gift.
Much of the Christian life is learning how to live out what we find in Scripture. In today's message. For example, we learned about trusting our sovereign God.
We also need to learn about forgiveness, spiritual disciplines, prayer and resisting temptation when you download the free link in your app you'll find articles along with video and audio resources on these topics and many more.
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Let's listen to a final thought from RC is a passage in the Old Testament that is one of the most misunderstood passages that we read the passages this evil hearted be still and know that I am God in the liturgy of the church. That passage from assaults has frequently been applied to our practice of maintaining a call. Serene attitude and posture of patients in the midst of trouble in the midst of anxiety were were restless and frightened.
Be still, that is calm and quiet and to reflect and meditate upon the sweetness of God.
Know all that sort of thing is a wonderful thing in the Bible enjoins us to do that sort of thing from time to set the point of that text, the force of the words would be better translated in this language shot up or be quiet. Holger Miles and no, but I am the Lord. It is a call to silence not columnists silence in the presence of the power of God the client so that we can hear the truth of God and here we see that lived out in the battle of Jericho next Saturday. The Israelites will learn a hard lesson following their victory over Jericho.
They must be taught about the seriousness of sin. I hope you'll join us again next week for Renewing Your Mind