Joshua 6 & Psalms 135-136

Joshua 6

    Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. And the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD.” And he said to the people, “Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the LORD.”

    And just as Joshua had commanded the people, the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the LORD went forward, blowing the trumpets, with the ark of the covenant of the LORD following them. The armed men were walking before the priests who were blowing the trumpets, and the rear guard was walking after the ark, while the trumpets blew continually. But Joshua commanded the people, “You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.” So he caused the ark of the LORD to circle the city, going about it once. And they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp.

    Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD. And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets blew continually. And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days.

    On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the LORD has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD.” So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword.

    But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, “Go into the prostitute's house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.” So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel. And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. But Rahab the prostitute and her father's household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

    Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the LORD be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho.

    “At the cost of his firstborn shall he
        lay its foundation,
    and at the cost of his youngest son
        shall he set up its gates.”
    
        So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.

(Joshua 6 ESV)

Psalm 135

    Praise the LORD!
    Praise the name of the LORD,
        give praise, O servants of the LORD,
    who stand in the house of the LORD,
        in the courts of the house of our God!
    Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
        sing to his name, for it is pleasant!
    For the LORD has chosen Jacob for himself,
        Israel as his own possession.
    
    For I know that the LORD is great,
        and that our Lord is above all gods.
    Whatever the LORD pleases, he does,
        in heaven and on earth,
        in the seas and all deeps.
    He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth,
        who makes lightnings for the rain
        and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
    
    He it was who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
        both of man and of beast;
    who in your midst, O Egypt,
        sent signs and wonders
        against Pharaoh and all his servants;
    who struck down many nations
        and killed mighty kings,
    Sihon, king of the Amorites,
        and Og, king of Bashan,
        and all the kingdoms of Canaan,
    and gave their land as a heritage,
        a heritage to his people Israel.
    
    Your name, O LORD, endures forever,
        your renown, O LORD, throughout all ages.
    For the LORD will vindicate his people
        and have compassion on his servants.
    
    The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
        the work of human hands.
    They have mouths, but do not speak;
        they have eyes, but do not see;
    they have ears, but do not hear,
        nor is there any breath in their mouths.
    Those who make them become like them,
        so do all who trust in them.
    
    O house of Israel, bless the LORD!
        O house of Aaron, bless the LORD!
    O house of Levi, bless the LORD!
        You who fear the LORD, bless the LORD!
    Blessed be the LORD from Zion,
        he who dwells in Jerusalem!
    Praise the LORD!

(Psalm 135 ESV)


Psalm 136

    Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
        for his steadfast love endures forever.
    Give thanks to the God of gods,
        for his steadfast love endures forever.
    Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    
    to him who alone does great wonders,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who by understanding made the heavens,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who made the great lights,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    the sun to rule over the day,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    the moon and stars to rule over the night,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    
    to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and brought Israel out from among them,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who led his people through the wilderness,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    
    to him who struck down great kings,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and killed mighty kings,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    Sihon, king of the Amorites,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and Og, king of Bashan,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and gave their land as a heritage,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    a heritage to Israel his servant,
        for his steadfast love endures forever.
    
    It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and rescued us from our foes,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
    he who gives food to all flesh,
        for his steadfast love endures forever.
    
    Give thanks to the God of heaven,
        for his steadfast love endures forever.

(Psalm 136 ESV)

Something to Consider

Joshua 6: The Lord has clearly declared that Israel’s victory and salvation would be won by Him and through their faithfulness to Him as their ultimate Lord, Commander and King. Their initial victory at Jericho would demonstrate this declaration made by our Lord. Rather than executing a strategic military plan to take the city, the Israelites are ordered to follow a spiritual procession that would require great trust in God to in fact give them the city instead.

A general observation can be made from the fall of Jericho. A strategic military plan ordered by Joshua to take the city would not have necessarily been a bad thing. In fact, such a plan would have been good discipline and practice that would better prepare the people to indeed secure success in their task. However, the problem with such a plan is simply that God desired to carry out this mission in a different and more unassuming way. 

How often do we put great trust in securing salvation and the salvation of others through programs, plans and processes? Plans are smart, but God’s instruction is certain.  

We must learn the humility of receiving God’s promises on His terms rather than attempting to take God’s promises on our terms. As the Israelites secured the victory over their enemies through their walk of faithfulness and their shouting with trumpets, may we seek to secure victory over this world through our walk of faith and the proclamation of the gospel. May we trust the unassuming ways that God expands His Kingdom and submit to His certain provision rather than our strategic plans.