Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Daily reading assignment: Joshua 6-10
Having crossed the Jordan River, Joshua and the nation of Israel faced the challenge of waging war with the inhabitants of the land God had promised He would give to Abraham and his lineage. The first great city of the land was the ancient city Jericho whose walls made it not only the strongest fortress in the land, but one that had to be conquered for the people to pass on and take possession of the land.
The two men Joshua had sent to spy out Jericho had, after finding refuge in the home of the harlot Rahab (Joshua 2), returned and given a report that the king and citizens of Jericho feared the God of Israel and her armies (Joshua 2:11-12).
Joshua 6 is a record of God’s plan for Israel to overthrow the city of Jericho, not by the force of its army, but by God delivering the city into their hand.
Joshua 7 reminds us the sin of one man can invite the judgment of God on a family and a nation. Achan allowed covetousness to rule his heart when he took into his home the gold, silver, and elaborate clothing God had forbidden (7:21). That decision proved to be a disaster for the nation and the ruin of Achan and his household (7:24-26).
Having learned the consequences of sin and presumption without seeking God’s direction and blessing, Joshua 8 records Israel’s great victory over the city of Ai.
Joshua 9 finds Joshua and the elders of Israel making a foolish treaty with the Gibeonites who had disguised themselves as a people who lived a great way off (9:3-16). Why do I characterize the peace treaty as foolish? Because we read that Joshua and the elders of Israel “asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD” (9:14). Israel’s ill advised peace treaty with the Gibeonites drew Joshua and the nation into battles with other city kingdoms in the land (Joshua 10).
In closing, I invite you to consider Rahab, the harlot of Jericho, an astonishing testimony of God’s grace (Joshua 6:17, 22-25). It is worth asking, out of all the inhabitants who perished in Jericho’s destruction, why would God spare a prostitute and her family? The answer to that question is found in Hebrews 11:31.
Hebrews 11:31 – “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.”
Rahab’s character and lifestyle garnered no merit with God or Israel. She was a heathen, a prostitute, and numbered among a people Israel was to destroy. Why was she spared? She believed Israel’s God was the One True God and Israel was His chosen people. She had welcomed the spies into her home and, when the army of Israel surrounded the city, she had tied a scarlet rope around her window as not only a marker for her home, but also a symbol of her faith.
God rewarded Rahab’s faith; not only was she spared the destruction of Jericho, she would become the mother of Boaz, the great-great grandmother of David, and is named in the lineage of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5). What a testimony of saving grace!
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith