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May 28, 2021 8:00 am
Who comes to mind when you hear the words ancient military genius, Napoleon, Attila the Hun, Caesar, Alexander the great one about Joshua today on the Bible study our Dr. James Montgomery Boyce explains the surprising secret to Joshua's stunning success as a military conqueror and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act quickly. Ancient warfare usually conjures up images of siege ramps and battering rams, but the instructions that God gave to Joshua Jericho don't remotely resemble those tactics.
What will Joshua do with the highly unusual, seemingly unreasonable battle plans given him by the Lord.
Dr. Boyce details these events in Joshua six number of years ago there was a teacher at the University of Pennsylvania taught in the ROTC program area military strategy who would often speak to his students about the most stirring lecture he had ever heard his name is Lieut. Col. Forrest Kirkland and this lecture to which he referred was given by a man.
I was not even a professor. He was just an incidental lecturer and he had come to class on this occasion to talk about the strategy of an ancient military general genius and he described to the students how this man even though many years ago. Exercise techniques that soldiers have used many times since the technique for example of driving into the very center of the enemy's territory unless dividing his forces, then having divided the Army conducting a cleanup operation first. On one side and then on the left talked about surprise tactics ambush psychological warfare, terror, and after he got to the end of the lecture he had the students reflect on who this general might be. They suggested a number of possibilities. Napoleon came first, the mind demanding Julius Caesar, Attila the Hun, Alexander the great, and so on all the great military conquerors of history and none of these were the answer when the testing was all ended, the lecturer described who this ancient military genius. Once it was Joshua in the campaign he was describing was the campaign we have for us in the six through 11 chapters of the Old Testament book the Bears his name. I suppose that it was this campaign of Joshua was that Field Marshal Allenby had in mind. World War I. Because the campaign of the British troops under alum. They followed in their successful liberation of Palestine precisely the attack that Joshua had mounted the promised land.
Palestine is a mountainous country and it is connected, for the most part by a long road, at least in ancient times.
This will stroll along the road that runs down the highest portions of the country linking the north to the south. The approach to it from the desert to his is difficult.
You have to make your way up to that high road and only when you're at that point you have an opportunity properly to invade the country get this is what Joshua did and this is what Allenby did following Emily struck to the West from the desert and then when they had divided the country they conducted a campaign on either side.
Joshua's case first of the South in a series of battles that are well recorded and described in Joshua and then finally to the north where the wrapup operations began the problem with this approach was the problem. The confronted Joshua at the very beginning of the campaign.
That is, that this way of entering the country was obviously known to the defenders and therefore they had made elaborate precautions to defendant at the easternmost approach to this way.
That led up to the high road link the country stood the great ancient fortress of Jericho Jericho really wasn't much of the city.
In science we talk about the city of Jericho, but it was really more like a military outpost. Not large but terribly well defended. It was surrounded by high solid walls and anyone who was attempting to invade the country from the east would obviously have to take Jericho. First of all you couldn't bypass Jericho and simply make your way inland, because to do that would leave a large military force at your rear. The rear portions of the Army would be exposed. On the other hand, it was very difficult overpower the city. As I said it was well defended.
Undoubtedly, those who lived within it were experienced in warfare and any general approaching the country the way Joshua did must have pondered what was to be done about the city as I read the story. I sense that that's what Joshua was doing in the verses that occur at the very end of chapter 5 says when Joshua was near Jericho. That is, he was looking at the city was trying to figure out what to do and that was while he was mulling this over in his mind that the commander of the Lords host appeared to him with the instruction for the battle. Now if Joshua had held a council of war as one would expect the general to do and had asked those who were is experienced in warfare is any of his commanders might have been not much but someone had asked him now what are we to do with this great city of Jericho, they would undoubtedly have given them the kind of advice commanders would give today. Under such a situation, one would say well the only way to take a city like that with high waltzes by siege ramps. This incidentally is the way the Romans eventually took Masada nearly a thousand years later you build a large ramp that goes up to the top portion of the walls are close enough to the walls to allow you to provide battering rams and then you make your assault somebody else would've said no we can't do that were not experienced in that kind of warfare. We've never done it before and besides these are extremely thick walls and also apply. The only thing we can do is surround the city and started into surrender. People of done that as well in history. I guess if Joshua had done that he would've lost campaign because they would not have succeeded in reaching the walls by siege ramps and they could hardly afford at this stage in the campaign inexperienced as they were to wait while the city was slowly starved and the submission would've given time for the other nations of the land. The other city states to unite and finally come down from the mountains in force against the Israeli troops and overpower them.
What Joshua did was obey the Lord and the command that God gave was a most peculiar one from the standpoint of military strategy defined in verse two of chapter 6 the Lord said to Joshua C. I delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men march around the city once with all the armed men do this for six days of the seven priests carrying trumpets on rams horns in front of the ark on the seventh day march around the city seven times with the priests blowing the trumpets when you have them sound a long blast on the trumpets of all the people gave a loud shout, then the wall of the city will collapse the people will go up every man straight in. I say that say most unusual set of instructions for taking the city. One might even say that it was utterly unreasonable to think of the walls of Jericho would fall in such a manner, but Joshua obeyed the Lord's people obey Joshua. The city was encircled, according to God's precise instructions and on the seventh day of the end of the seventh encirclement. They horns were blown, the people shouted the walls fell down in the city was taken as God told Joshua it would be was a great victory, there was a time to shout. It's interesting, however, is read the story that even here in the sixth chapter of Joshua we still find the people in a time of preparation, properly speaking, you say there's been lots of preparation before the people had been prepared in one way or another. During 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.
Certainly Joshua and Caleb been prepared going back that far. They work great man of faith in the exercise their faith during that long-delayed conquest.
The armies were prepared. They had been prepared in the wilderness and when the river was crossed was still the preparation that we looked at earlier that involving the right of circumcision in the observance of the Passover quite clearly God was very concerned that the hearts of the people be right before him before the assault began. I think of something I heard earlier this week about revival, which is currently going on in the South American country of Argentina. Argentina is particularly right revival right now it seems to be moving strongly thousands of people are being converted day by day, largely in large open-air meetings to effective preaching and this revival was described to me in some detail by people who know what is happening there.
And one thing that I was told impressed me a great deal. It's that those who were leaders in the church in Argentina began to prepare for the revival lot six months ago, our six years ago, but about 20 years ago as they said in prayer with one another. What are we going to do when God finally does send revival to our land, they said. After all, some preparation should be made if we are praying for revival in faith believing that God will send it.
We should be beginning to prepare what we going to do with all the people God is going to send our we going to disciple all of those that become Christians through the result of preaching at those times and so they began to work on that.
They began to prepare leaders because they said the church is going to need leaders and that specially they began to train families to work with other families because they said not only are families an effective way of working with people that is within the context of a home that we even have a facility problem. We have all these people becoming Christians. Our churches are going to be able to hold the Millie place were going to be able to deal with them is in people's homes. So they began that. Preparation 20 years before. Now, in a sense that's what God had been doing with the Jewish people have been preparing them for years. As I say here even on the eve of the conquest before their first and greatest victory. We find that preparation still going on because I can hardly fail to escape our notice that though they were in the presence of Jericho and were about to begin the assault they still had to follow God's directions. In this conquest over a period of time to consume the whole of seven days, so you look to that you say well what is it that God used to prepare them even here in this final week before the assault and other several things just notice them briefly.
Number one, they were commanded to be silent. This is what Joshua was told in verse 10 do not give a war cry do not raise your voices. Do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. I don't know how they did that must've been about 2 million people. Can you imagine the difficulty they would be ordering the March of 2 million people.
My family has 45 and I tell you we can get out the door silently and here were several million people that were being ordered to march around the city of Jericho. Once each day for six days and seven times on the seventh day after all they were children direct their workgroups to be ordered was a path to be chosen and taken how they did that in silence for seven days. I don't know. But the Bible says they did in obedience to God's command was us to again imagine that as they went around the city. Day after day that the defenders within the walls were silent first day. Probably they were there was this vast host of invaders silently encircling their city.
I must've stood on their walls and awed silence and watch them. What is this army up to, they must be thinking they were saying anything either. That was a bizarre situation silent city defended by silent soldiers surrounded by silent Army must've been the strangest military invasion in history. But as I say I find it very hard to think that situation would've lasted circling was completed on the first day the people went back to their camp admit defenders were left on the walls scratching their heads what in the world was that supposed to mean.
The next day on the Jewish armies came out and repeated the process. The taunts probably would've begun. What do you think you're doing, you certainly don't think you're going to conquer our city by marching around and do you are you afraid to fight all will show you how to fight this sort of thing that must've been shouted from walls yet people of Israel.
The armies just March silently around the city. As I sat on how they did it, but the Bible says they did and they did it out of obedience to God. May I suggest because I want to apply each of these points that something you and I have to learn to do in spiritual warfare.
One of our problems is that we are always talking that's a problem with one another. Somebody has a problem in no way we can hardly wait until they finish saying what their problem is so that we can give advice.
We like to talk or in normal conversation, you know, we interrupt the other person because we want to say what we want to say we do it with God. One writer says, you know, even if we don't do it verbally. We do it mentally. When we read the word we don't pause to hear what God will side were not silent.
Our thoughts are churning around in our minds we have to learn to be silent in the presence of the Almighty to hear him speak. Sometimes God shouts, I'm sure he shouts loud enough that even though were talking he gets through, but we are also told about that. Still, small voice, which is what we need to hear FB Meyer said it is only the still heart can reflect the heaven of God's overarching care or detect the least whisper of his voice through its quiet atmosphere or know his full grace and power so I commend unto going to say. I'm sure you understand where the study is going that there are battles for us to fight part of the preparation for those battle tests is learning how to be silent in here. God, the second thing is obedience.
The people had to obey it and obey God's command. I suspect that it is probably because of the faithfulness of the people and obeying the commands of God relate to them through Joshua on this occasion that the people are commended for their faith and that great 11th chapter of Hebrews, there is a chapter that speaks of the heroes of the faith, those great Old Testament saints. But there is a person that says by faith the walls of Jericho fell down on the people that encircled the city seven times. What is that mean it means that obedience is a part of faith. There is no faith without obedience. Here, the people were told what to do. So they obeyed and that was an exercise of their faith. Let me ask the question this way, what is it that God primarily wants of us. What is it that God most the lights to use is that our native ability or talents. All people can have great natural ability and talents and squander them just like the prodigal squander his father's possessions is that profession of faith.
Those who can stand up and loudly say what they believe, know many people have said, Lord, Lord Jesus and parish not doing what he says is it an attractive appearance or personality to look at those who were popular in evangelical Christian circles today. You would think that's what God uses people to come off well on television that have a good television personality. Is that what God wants.
Now we remember that Saul stood head and shoulders above all his fellows, and yet he didn't finish his course. Well he floundered. He said eventually was removed by God.
It's not appearance. It's not personality it's not profession. It's not great ability when God honors is obedience. You know how that was conveyed in the case of Saul.
Saul had disobeyed God and failing to sacrifice kill all of the particular body of people that he had commanded to conquer and exterminating what he pretended that he had.
He said I did almost all of it, but he didn't do it all.
And when the prophet appeared to him. The prophet rebuked him for it said that God had removed him from being king of Israel and asked this question. Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord and then answered his own question to obey is better than sacrifice, and the heat is better than the fat of rams. That's the answer to the question, what does God most still like to honor the answer is obedience.
That's what God looks for his people and is throughout obedience that the walls of our Jericho's fall is 1/3 step in the preparation of the people for their victory and I want to point that out though it overlaps the one I just given.
First of all, be silent. Second of all obey hurriedly, obey in all things to the very end. I call this total obedience to the very ends and course, as I said it overlaps when I just said about obedience because obedience it is not total and to the end is not true obedience is disobedience. That's what Saul did he disobey but nevertheless you have to emphasize it because of our problem in this area. Many of us start out well. Beginning we really do obey.
We want to follow God.
We don't do it. The end. And so we miss the blessing we have to stress that because God does not operate on our timetable. We Americans have tight timetables and we keep moving it up all the time. One thing the British have so much trouble with ocelot. They just can't see why we are so fascinated by our timetable, but that's the way we operate in a God doesn't operate on our timetable well I better watch out because he's gonna miss what we're doing. That's the way we think that we have to learn that God moves when God will move and we have to wait for him and to do that we have to keep obeying until he moves was the case with the people as you read this story carefully. You sense I think this is proper conclusion from it that Joshua did not tell the people exactly what was happening.
Story tells us that God told Joshua they were to circle the city once each day for six days and then on the seventh day they were circled seven times, and on the seventh time priests were to blow the ram's horns and the people were to shout of the walls of the city would fall. That's what God told Joshua but when Joshua gave his commands to the people he did not give the whole thing. Apparently Joshua told the people now marching orders for today are these to get together the armies to go first in the priesthood become the ark of the Lord and in the people are to follow in your to go out there march around the city and come back to camp silently so the people said all right they started out they went around the city. This Joshua had seven the end of the succulent. They came back to camp and absolutely nothing that happened walls of the city were still there. The people had not surrendered and so far as I could tell they were no closer to a victory over that city of Jericho than they had been 24 hours earlier. Well, all right. Didn't work today will see what Joshua has in store tomorrow. Tomorrow the commands precisely the same.
Your to go out the Army's first and the priest with the ark of the Lord all the people are to follow your to go around the city.
When you finish that you come back to camp.
They didn't and the ends of that encirclement absolutely nothing happened, and so on. On the third day on the fourth day in the day and the six day and they came to the seventh day and Joshua told the people on the seventh day now to ready to have him say it. It hasn't worked so were going to try another strategy didn't do anything of the sort.
Today the same thing, only there's going to be the slight difference were going to circle the city seven times. All right, so they start out once and twice and three times and four and five and six and seven.
Nothing but the end of the seventh time around the city. The command was given. Now it's the time to shout and so the priest flugelhorn is the people shouted and you know how that particular story and it reminds me of another story in the Old Testament the story that also concerned. Generally this is not a Jewish generalist was said Gentile general Syria and his name was Naaman is a great generally was a general that at this period of history had been instrumental in conquering Israel, and he carried off some captives, one of whom proved quite helpful to him because as the story unfolds, we discover that name, and though it was a conquering general and though he was feared by those he had conquered was a leper and there was no known cure was a matter great distress naturally in the kingdom and one of these slaves that have been carried off from Israel was a young girl who was a servant to Naaman's wife and she said to her mistress. You know if if Naaman master were in Israel there's a prophet. There will I show who could cure. They were desperate so wife went to her husband and says this girl here says that there's a prophet in Israel who can cure people and Naaman said, well, nobody hears achieving anything in terms of my cure. It's a desperate situation. He went to the king, he said, I like to go to Israel and see if this man Elisha can cure me. And so he started off with the Kings blessing and when he got there he acquired first of all, of the king said come here to be cured of my leprosy, and the king was frightened. He said look as though we have enough trouble already.
This general company try to provoke a coral can cure him of his leprosy, but they pointed out that it was Elisha who could do this all glad that you got on the road and yo-yo fighting told where to go and he went down there and you know when he came this great important general with his troops came to the house of Elisha Elisha didn't even go out to meet it was improper for him to do it. The man being a leper but Naaman did know that he just thought Elisha was loaded and so that Elisha sent a message. He said here's the message go wash in the Jordan River seven times and will be cured. Now we know that Naaman didn't like that he didn't like being rebuffed and he didn't like the directions the reason we know is because we know what he said. It's recorded he said shortly.
I thought the plan would come out waved his hands over me touch my spot and I would be cured of my leprosy. Then he said instead he sends me to the river he said we have good water in Damascus what it is every bit as good as this muddy water in the Jordan, I guess, in his dander, he might very well it turned around and gone back to Damascus were not for a servant to was much wiser than he, at this point in spiritual things. Servant said to them, you know, I've never seen anyone cured by bathing in a muddy river either.
But it is worth a try, is that you come along way the prophetess told you to do some great feet you go do it. While this is just a little thing. Why don't you try so Naaman said all right we went down to the river. Now it does not record the dialogue.
I can imagine very well what would've happened. Naaman looked at the water and was most reluctant to go in servants that go on now so he said all right I'll try it once and so he went down in the water and he came out and he was absolutely the same as when he went in except now he was all wet and muddy and I guess he would've said well enough about it as a worker going on.
The servant said the prophet said seven times.
All right I'll try again when down in the lottery came back out. He looked at the spot.
It hadn't even begun to go away.
It was a slinking wasn't even beginning to fade. Nothing. Nothing that happened 1/3 time 1/4 type of fifth time, and so on to the seventh thought it was only after he came out of the water. The seventh time in order total obedience to the command of the prophet to the very end he was cured.
The text tells us he was cured of his leprosy. His skin became like that of a young boy.
The point is that that's what we have to learn to do with God to be faithful in our obedience to the very and God tests us in our obedience. It's so hard to start out obeying God. You know that you look at your own life you know there are things you been told, you should do so.
You start out doing and what is hard is persevering in your obedience. I look at that situation I find myself asking why God doesn't that way wife.
It's so hard. Does God do that with his well-trained character that's true, but I think maybe he does something else here these people walking around the walls seven days and seven times on the seventh day.
I don't know what they were learning as they went around the walls but I suspect that at one thing they were learning. Is this city is never going to be taken by Celeste God intervenes to see the first time around. You might've been looking for a week place in the walls. The second time you might've been looking for a door that somebody accidentally left open after you got around that city 13 times you would know that you are never going to get in unless God made the opening say maybe that's why God calls upon us to obey over such a long period of time, often in difficulty and certainly time and time again just so we will learn that the victory is going to, it's going to come by God who is in the business of marking down walls and giving his people victories that I want to apply what I said in this way. First of all Christians. This was a literal historical battle. I'm going to talk about spiritual battles but don't think that our spiritual battles are any less literal or historical. You and I face walled cities strongholds of that one who is God's and our enemy the devil. Sometimes these are in the world are great baskets of evil power in this world. Sometimes there in the church Paribas fumes of evil in the church.
Sometimes they are within our own hearts Paribas fumes of evil there. God is in the business of tearing down the strongholds and he uses us as his soldiers on temptation. We have is to try to do it God's way find that the victory is delayed and then abandoned God's method is so much of the church is God and instead begin to use the methodology of this world thinking that the way to win the world's battles is by the world's methods forgetting of course that it's not the world's battles, but it's God's battles spiritual battles and that only God's methods will suffice.
What are God's methods. The Bible tells us prayer word of God in our testimony. Apostle Paul spoke of his weapons, which he said are not weak weapons, but are powerful to the tearing down of strongholds we read in the book of Revelation of the saints victory over the devil and it says they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.
That's how God operates all I'm not against writing letters to your Congressman, I'm not against the kind of things that we do politically.
After all were citizens of this world to do when we have political processes open to us, but that is not the way the spiritual battles are going to come to come when God's people give when they silent our hearts before God.
Listen to him and hear his voice and obey him and obey him to the very end. Praying that God will get the victory, studying and proclaiming his word and giving testimony to the power of God to transform lives, and through transform lives to renew the degenerate society is what we want is what we pray for. That's what God is in the business of doing those people as he operates. We will see the strongholds of wickedness for and then I have the second application, the last of this is to those were not Christians see this is a story of God's judgment. It's a story of God's literal historical judgment against the wicked people when the city was overrun. The people were destroyed and there's an analogy between that victory and that destruction and what God is going to do in your life if you refuse to surrender to them and, finding salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
Apart from that surrender your heart is a walled city you have erected barriers in your life you have Mandel walls of your own rebellion you are determined above all else, not to let God in. This is your city. You're going to run it your way and so long as you are able you are going to keep the Almighty God outside of the foolish thing that is do you really think that you weak creature are able to stand against the power of Almighty God save the day is coming when God is going to batter those walls down. If you've not come to terms with them. The embryo is going to be the destruction God describes in Scripture as the lake of fire. Bible says the second Psalm kiss the son, lest he be angry and you perish in your way. That's the conclusion of the story for you.
Make terms with God. Now terms as Rahab did.
It is interesting incident in the story tells about the destruction of this great city, with its massive walls.
Nevertheless, the midst of the battle.
Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute with her family and all belong to her because she hid the men Joshua had sent his spies to Jericho, she identified with Israel's God and Israel's God Jehovah God of the Lord Jesus Christ preserved her in the day of destruction.
She was no better or worse when you are the author of salvation that she heartened is even clearer in your case, you know far more about it. Why should you perish in the day of God's wrath.
When the opportunity of coming to God in faith is open before you now to spray her father we ask you to do homework in the minds and hearts of any who have been holding out against you, thinking that somehow they're capable of preserving their life and keeping you outside father. Before that great and dreadful day of judgment when the walls will be battered down and those who have resisted you will be judged to that other work softening hearts, renewing a will quickening the mind. Granted, those who have resisted up till now made by your grace, surrender to that sweet offer of the gospel through Jesus Christ we pray believing in his most blessed name, amen and amen.
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