Songs and Praise
   

 
 
 

Less 155 THE SUCCESSFUL CONQUEST OF JERICHO

 
Joshua 5:10-15; 6:1-27;

Lesson 155 Senior Lessons

MEMORY VERSE:  "Who is like unto thee, 0 LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful In praises, doing wonders?" (Exodus 15:11).

I First Days in Canaan Land

Israel kept their third Passover on the plains of Jericho, Joshua 5:10; Numbers 9:4, 5; Exodus 12:7-11 The manna, Israel's main supply of food for forty years, ceased when Israel was able to obtain food in the land of Canaan, Joshua 5:10-12

II Captain of the Host of the Lord

Joshua met the Captain of the host of the Lord, Joshua 5:13-15; Exodus 23:20-23; Isaiah 55:4; Hebrews 2:10; Revelation 19:11-16 Joshua worshiped the Lord, Joshua 5:14, 15; Exodus 3:5

III Conquest of Jericho

The city of Jericho, its king, and its inhabitants were given to Israel by divine command, Joshua 6:2; 2:9, 24; 8:12; 11:6-12; II Samuel 5:19; Daniel 2:21 Specific and detailed instructions were given Joshua by God as to the methor of attacking Jericho, Joshua 6:3-5; Judges 7:16-18 Israel's faith in God was tested by following a seemingly useless ritual before the attack on Jericho, Joshua 6:6, 7; Judges 7:4-7; II Kings 3:16-20 Israel obeyed the commands of God, with the result that Jericho's wall fell down, Joshua 6:8-20; Hebrews 11:30  Israel was warned to destroy every living creature, both man and beast, all except Rahab and her family, which was done, Joshua 6:17, 21-25 Israel was told that everything in the city was accursed, except the gold, the silver, and the vessels of brass and iron, which were to be the Lord's, Joshua 6:17-19, 24 Joshua pronounced a curse upon anyone who would rebuild Jericho, Joshua 6:26, 27; I Kings 16:34

NOTES


Keeping the Passover

'The children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.' This statement is all that the Scripture has to say of the first Passover feast that was observed by Israel in Canaan land.


It must have been a joyful time for Israel. Gone was the desert heat and burning sun of their wilderness wanderings. There was no more dreary waiting for long years to pass before entrance could be gained into the land of promise. Only one other time had Israel observed the feast of the Passover since they had left Egypt. That had been at Mount Sinai, the mount of fire, when God came down and gave to Israel His commandments and His covenant. There had they kept the feast of the Passover in memory of that memorable night when God delivered His people from Egyptian bond¬age (Numbers 9:4, 5).


'This day shall be unto you for a memorial' (Exodus 12:14); and it must have been with mixed emotions and memories of many events that this younger generation of Israel kept this Passover on the threshold of their occupying the land of promise.


As it was the time of the barley harvest, Israel probably gave to God an offering of barley before partaking of the fruits of the harvest of this new land. (See Leviticus 23:14.)


God had provided food for Israel by giving them manna. It arrived every morning, except on the Sabbath, and was life-sustaining. It never failed, and was in sufficient quantities to feed several million people forty years. If ever proof was needed of the willingness of God to work miracles for His people, this record of God's providing food and water for Israel during their wilderness wanderings is ample evidence.


Yet God performs miracles when nothing else will suffice. When Israel had no food and water, God provided. When they entered into a fruitful land, abundant with food and water, immediately the manna ceased, and Israel had the fruit of the field and vine.

Captain of the Host

When Joshua was looking over the scene of the coming battle, he was met by a Stranger. As the Stranger had a drawn sword in his hand, Joshua boldly questioned Him as to whom He was allied with. The Stranger informed Joshua that He had come as the Captain of the host of the Lord.


it was then Joshua evidently realized that he was being visited by a heavenly Being, and not a mortal man. Yes, and more than a heavenly Being! This Visitor was the Lord! He was indeed the Captain of the host  of the Lord, for there is only one Captain of that host, and He is Jesus Christ!


Joshua fell to the earth to worship Him, whereupon Joshua was told to remove his shoes for he was on holy ground. Moses had a similar experience when he saw a burning bush, unconsumed by the fire. Moses drew aside to see such an unusual sight, and was told by God to remove his shoes for he was on holy ground. It was then Moses received his commission to lead Israel out of Egyptian bondage.


Joshua, also on holy ground, was met by the Lord and received instruction and inspiration for the coming days of battle. The Lord is always quick to encourage His people when there is a need, and this time was no exception. What could have been more encouragement for Joshua than a visitation of the Lord to embolden him for his task?

Orders for Battle

Joshua was given explicit and detailed instructions as to how the conquest of Jericho was to be conducted. As in the past, nothing was left to chance or doubt.


The worship of God was very detailed, and was carried on in the most orderly and disciplined manner, and so also were the other affairs of Israel.


Under the leadership of God, Israel was more than an unorganized group of shepherds and herdsmen. They were a well intergraded army, victors over the greatest warriors of their day. They had left Pharaoh and all his men drowning in the Red Sea, and had marched undefeated and triumphantly through all the countries of their enemies. Israel was the exemplification to the heathen nations of the power and might of God.


The author of the Song of Solomon wrote in metaphorical language of the splendor, might, and power of the Bride of Christ and the Church: 'Thou art beautiful, 0 my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.' And again, 'Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?' (Song of Solomon 6:4, 10).


Balaam, a man accredited with ability to bless and curse whom he would, was inspired by God to prophesy of Israel, and he said of this great multitude: 'God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought! Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain' (Numbers 23:22-24).


The armies of Israel were an awe-inspiring sight, and the tales of their invincibility had gone through all the land, until the nations resisting Israel were terrified at the prospect of opposing them in battle.


Rahab told the two spies that the people's hearts did melt because of Israel, and there was no courage in any man, because of the God Israel served (Joshua 2:9-11). Thus Jericho found itself surrounded by this great army who worshiped the great God of Heaven.

Victory by Faith

The conquest of Jericho was a battle to be won by faith in God. The Lord had told Joshua that the city, its king, and all its inhabitants were given into the hands of Israel; so Israel marched around Jericho in com¬plete confidence that God would perform all He had promised (Romans  4:21).

To the heathen nations, some of the military tactics Israel used in battle may have seemed ridiculous. However, there was nothing ludicrous about the results Israel obtained with their peculiar ways, for their peculiarity was the wisdom of God. (Read I Peter 2:9; I Corinthians 1:18-29.) Israel's forty-year wandering in the wilderness had taught them to obey God despite how little they might understand the reason or wisdom of God's commands. Consequently, marching around Jericho seven days may have mystified the occupants of Jericho, but to Israel it was a march of obedience and faith.


There are savages yet today who, before going into battle, work themselves into great frenzies of shouting and excitement, thinking that in such displays they will not only embolden themselves but will also frighten their enemies. Such exhibitions are the product of sin and fanatical superstition. (Read I Kings 18:26-29.)


Israel's march around Jericho was not in fanatical idol worship, but was in obedience to the command of God. They marched in silence, except for the blowing of trumpets. Perhaps God had them march in silence to show the contrast between the usual mad howling of heathen savages as they went into battle, and the prayerful silence of the people of God. Silence is a sign of respect; and could not Israel's silence as they marched around Jericho have been respect for the God who was in their midst?

A Shout for Battle

When Israel had encompassed the city for the seventh time on the seventh day, Joshua commanded all the people to shout, for the Lord had given them the city. The priests blew the trumpets, and the people all shouted, and the wall of Jericho fell down. Israel went up and took the city.


Military history has proved that a walled city can be very difficult to conquer, and sometimes impossible. Israel's might was their faith in God; and no matter how well Jericho might have been defended, from the military standpoint, it availed little for Jericho. The Psalmist has said, 'Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain' (Psalm 127:1).


And again, 'There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength' (Psalm 33: 16, 17).


The heathen nations of Canaan refused to recognize the homage and duty of love they owed to the great God of Heaven, and, therefore, suffered the righteous judgments of God by the hand of Israel. They could have repented, but they did not. Their day of repentance finally came to an end, and they suffered destruction for their sin. They would have done well to have listened to the admonition of God's Word: 'Give unto the LORD, 0 ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. 0 worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth' (Psalm 96:7-10).


'By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days' (Hebrews 11:30). Here, in short, is the picture of the armies of God who will in the end encompass every stronghold of iniquity and wickedness, and will at last by faith, through that great Captain of the host of the Lord, have complete and final victory, and will reign for¬ever with Him in peace, holiness, equity, and righteousness.


Do you hear them coming, brother,
Thronging up the steeps of light,
Clad in glorious, shining garments,

Blood-washed garments, pure and white?


'Do you hear the stirring anthems

Filling all the earth and sky? '

Tis a grand, victorious army;

Lift its banner up on high.'

QUESTIONS

1 How many Passover feasts had Israel kept at this time? and where were they observed?
2 What form of food did Israel use in Canaan land?
3 Who was the Captain of the host of the Lord?
4 Why did Israel march around Jericho seven times?
5 Was there any military reason for such a march?
6 Why were the Canaanites afraid of Israel?
7 What was the secret of the invincibility of Israel?
8 How is this story going to be fulfilled again?

 
   
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