Daily reading assignment: Joshua 5-8
Having crossed the Jordan River, Joshua and 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 of Jericho, whose walls made it the strongest fortress in the land, but one that had to be conquered for the people to pass on and take possession of their inheritance.
The two men Joshua had sent to spy out Jericho had, after finding refuge in the home of Rahab (Joshua 2), returned and gave a report, stating that the citizens of Jericho feared the God of Israel and her armies (Joshua 2:11-12).
Joshua 5 – Circumcision, Now?
Circumcising all males born during Israel’s wilderness sojourn was Joshua’s first task after leading Israel into the Promised Land (5:1-9). While the generation that had departed Egypt had been circumcised, the succeeding generation who were born during the forty years of wandering had not been circumcised (5:5).
Why did Joshua wait until crossing the Jordan into “enemy territory?” Circumcision was a sign of the LORD’S covenant and it was His desire that it be administered in the land He had promised to give the sons and lineage of Abraham. Egypt was in the past and a new land was before them (5:9).
The first Passover was also observed in the new land and the people remembered how the LORD had delivered them out of the hand of Pharaoh and slavery in Egypt (5:10-12). The daily manna the LORD had provided during their sojourn ceased as the people would begin consuming “the fruit of the land of Canaan” (5:12).
The appearance of the angel of the LORD, a theophany of God’s physical presence, confirmed to Joshua that LORD was with him and Israel (5:13-15).
Joshua 6 – The Fall of Jericho
Joshua 6 is the record of the overthrow of the ancient city of Jericho. Jericho was not defeated by a force of arms nor a well-planned siege of ancient military engines. God delivered the city into Israel’s hand, and all perished with the exception of Rahab and her household.
Joshua 7 – The Humiliating Defeat at Ai
Joshua 7 reminds us the sin of one man can invite the judgment of God on a family and a nation. Achan had allowed covetousness to take root in his heart. Seeing the wealth and riches in the ruins of Jericho, he set his heart on them and took into his heart and tent the gold, silver, and elaborate clothing God had forbidden (7:21). Achan’s decision proved to be a disaster for the nation and was the ruin of his household (7:24-26).
Joshua 8 – Faith is the Victory!
After learning the dreadful consequences of sin and the presumptive failure to seek God’s direction and blessing, Joshua 8 records Israel’s great victory over the city of Ai.
I close today’s devotional commentary inviting you to consider Rahab and the astonishing testimony of God’s grace she represents (Joshua 6:17, 22-25). Why did God, out of all who perished in Jericho’s destruction, spare a harlot 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 garnered no merit with God or Israel. She was a heathen and a prostitute. Why was she spared?
She believed Israel’s God was the One True God and Israel was His chosen people (Joshua 2:8-13). She had welcomed the spies into her home and when the army of Israel surrounded the city, the scarlet rope tied in her window was a testimony and symbol of her faith.
Rahab’s faith was rewarded by God! She was spared the destruction of Jericho, she became the mother of Boaz and was the great-great grandmother of David. Rahab is named in the lineage of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5) and is a lasting testimony of God’s saving grace.
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith