Defeat at Ai
Verse 1 – God was very plain in verses 6:17-19 about destroying “everything!” The accursed thing or (devoted things some versions say) is referring to clothing, livestock, inhabitants and objects such as gold and silver and any of the other plunder that God said to destroy. It was not only the attitude of, “Well, it’s going to be thrown out anyway, so I’ll just put it to good use.” It was a deliberate defiance of God’s command (see Deuteronomy 20:16-18).
Verses 2-5 – So Joshua sends out spies; the spies come back and say, “We can take them, because they are few.” The Israelite’s go to attack and are chased out and some were killed. Now all of Israel is scared.
Verse 6 – Joshua, the elders, and most of Israel are confused by the defeat after such a huge victory of Jericho. As we should today, Joshua humbled himself and went before God to get His wisdom and guidance about what had just happened.
Verses 7-9 – I didn’t read anywhere that Joshua consulted God before they attacked Ai. Could it be that after that great victory he might have had a smidgen of pride in thinking, “piece of cake, I got this one Lord!” Too often, we rely on our own skills and talents to handle the small stuff and only go to God for the big things. When the obstacles seem too big we cry out to God for help. Joshua didn’t understand what had happened, so he poured out his heart to God. It will do us no good to hide our true feelings when praying to the All Mighty. God is all-knowing and all-powerful.
I remember Moses praying the same way as Joshua did when he said, “Then what will you do for Your great name?” (This was when God was about to wipe-out the Israelite’s in Exodus 32:12 and Numbers 14:13-19). I’ve asked God the same thing in a crises; “What will happen to my testimony that I have for others about who You are if you don’t help me?” I really don’t think God is worried about His reputation as we are about ours. Even when we mess up, God is still God All by Himself.
Victory at Jericho
Verse 1 – Now, here is one of the oldest cities built, thousands of years before Joshua was even born, with walls all around, some 25 feet high and 20 feet thick. Guards stood on top of these walls and could look out for miles. It was invincible, so they thought. It had been shut up with no one coming in or going out ever since they heard of the Israelite’s coming across the Jordan.
The Canaanites saw Israel’s God as one of their nature god’s and a war-god because He had parted the Jordan and defeated Sihon and OG. They never even considered Him a fortress God who could prevail against a walled city.
Verses 2-5 – God told Joshua that his enemy was already defeated. Sound familiar? Christians also fight against a defeated enemy. Our enemy is Satan, defeated by Christ (Romans 8:37-39; Hebrews 2:14, 15; 1 John 3:8). We should never walk around in fear when battling the enemy, feeling paralyzed, helpless. Through Christ’ power and what He’s already done, the victory is ours. Let’s look at what God told Joshua to do, how he was to take the city; this battle would be clear when it was over that God had done it, not Israel’s military army. The priest carried the Ark, not the soldiers. This strange (to Israel) military maneuver was a test of Israel’s faith to trust All Mighty God, completely. These blasts of the trumpets were the same trumpets used in their religious festivals to remind them their victory came from the Lord (Numbers 10:9).
Verse 10 – The only noise coming from this army would be the blasts of the trumpets until the day Joshua would tell them to shout. For 6 days, the Israelite’s marched around Jericho’s walls, one time a day, priest blowing the trumpets and no one saying a word.
Verse 15 – On the seventh day, God’s number for perfection, and the conclusion of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, they marched around the city 7 times.
Verse 16 – This shout was a war cry!
Verses 17-19 – Joshua said all who are in the city except Rahab and her household were to be destroyed; the livestock, the idols, everything except the precious metals that were to go into the Lords treasury.
Verses 20, 21 – God was carrying out severe judgment against the wickedness of the Canaanites. This judgment required that everything be destroyed (Deuteronomy 12:2, 3; 12-18). This threat to the right kind of living that God required had to be fully removed, if not, it would affect the Israelite’s like a cancerous growth. Rahab and her household were saved because she had helped the spies and her faith in the Living God of Israel. The silver and gold were not kept to enrich the people but would beautify the tabernacle of God. Does this sound familiar with Christian living? God doesn’t want us distracted with anything that would keep us from accomplishing His purpose for our lives.
Verse 26 – This curse was fulfilled in 1 Kings 16:34, when Hiel, rebuilt Jericho and consequently lost his oldest and youngest sons.
The Canaanites Fear Israel
Verse 1 – The Amorites and Canaanites were the two major groups living in Canaan. The Canaanites worshiped many gods but their favorite was Baal. Sad to say the Israelite’s turned to Baal several times after entering Canaan. Worshiping these false gods’s brought down the Israelite’s. The tables are turned now; the Israelite’s spent 39 years in the desert because they were terrified of the Canaanites, now the Canaanites were terrified of them. Let’s not ever underestimate God that He can make our opposition disappear. God can and does cause the attitudes to change from those who oppose His will.
Verses 2, 3 – Only Israel used circumcision as a sign to a covenant with God. Others circumcised to show entering into adulthood. A reference to once again, means that many men of this generation had not been circumcised.
Verse 9 – Gilgal was Israel’s camp and their temporary center of government and worship, while their invasion of Canaan took place. Gilgal also was the place where king, Saul was crowned (1 Samuel 11:14, 15).
Verse 10 – This is where Israel celebrated Passover for the first time in the new land.
Verses 11, 12 – The day after Passover the Israelite’s ate the produce of the land, no more manna. God had provided food for the Israelite’s 40 years while wandering in the desert and here again provides food from the land He had given them. Sometimes we pray for things that are well within our reach and we just don’t see it. Ask God for wisdom, energy, and motivation to see what He has provided.
The Commander of the Lord Appears
Verses 13-15 – Can you imagine, having so much courage, because you know God is on your side, that you would walk up to a man with a sword drawn and ask who’s side he is on? I imagine this high-ranking angle was no small man either. He must have been very threatening looking, but Joshua walked right up to him. Then the angle answered and said, “I’m the Commander of the Lord’s army!” People like to boast that they have seen angles, but I sincerely think it would majorly unsettle them for a good while if they truly have seen an angle. Joshua showed respect for God and this angle by removing his shoes. How can we today show respect for our God; by our attitude and actions. Is our attitude right towards God and others? Is our actions right in front and behind others? Some still take their shoes off when entering someone’s home out of respect for the homeowner to this day.
Verses 1-9 – The Israelite’s did not jus rush across the Jordan and begin fighting. God was giving them direction to set a memorial up of this event in stone. The 12 leaders of the tribes of Israel took 12 stones from the river and carried them across. Then Joshua took 12 stones and placed them where the priest had stood with the Ark of the Covenant. We get too busy in our lives to stop and take time to meditate on the goodness of God, but God wants life to be more than that hustle and bustle for our lives. If you will take the time out of every day to reflect on all that the Lord has done in your life, you will have a lifetime of peace.
Verse 14 – Although Israel was not a world power at that time, Joshua’s reputation for handling his responsibilities God’s way brought him greater glory than if he had been just a super-hero in war. Doing right is more important than doing well.
Verse 18 – Sometimes when I watch these Biblical stories on the “History” Channel, I get so frustrated because they don’t stick to what the bible says. I trust what the scripture says took place in the events and stories that are listed to be true. Scripture says that as soon as – when the priest feet touched dry land, the waters returned and flowed over the banks as before! This was not some creek bed that had dried up as some say.
Verse 19 – Gilgal – (circle of stones or rolling). This is the name of several OT places, the most important being Israel’s base of operations after the crossing of Jordan into Canaan.
Verses 21-24 – These 12 stones were to be a constant reminder of the day that the Israelite’s crossed the Jordan River on dry ground. Their children would see these stones and learn about God in the retailing of stories about God’s faithfulness keeping them alive within our families.
Verse 2 – Don’t forget there are over 2 million Israelite’s by now, so it took 3 days for the officers to get word to everyone that they were moving out.
Verse 3 – They were to wait for the Levi Priest to go past with the Ark of the Covenant and keep a distance of 1,000 yards behind it. The Ark represented the presence of God going before them.
Verse 4 – Any time you set out in a new direction, just remember our Lord was there first preparing the way.
Verse 5 – Consecration and sanctification was an outward cleansing illustration to man’s being not right with God on the inside. This would come about because of defilement, as in eating certain unclean foods, childbirth, touching dead people, disease, or sin.
Verse 9 – This was Joshua’s first speech to the Israelite’s. Now God was speaking through Joshua to the Israelites. When you take time to sincerely listen to what God has to say at the beginning of the day, it just might save you some heartache later on.
Verse 10 – In Genesis 15:16, we see that God calls the people living in Canaan wicked. The only way to prevent Israel from being infected of their evil religion was to drive them out of the Promise Land.
Verses 13, 14 – The Jordan was at flood stage at this time because it was after the winter rains during barley harvest. It could reach 100 feet in width and 10 feet deep. I’m sure there was swift movement of this river also. The Priest would step out first with the Ark. Often God will provide no solution to our problems until we begin to trust Him and move forward in what we know to do.
Verses 15, 16 – The Israelite’s entered the Jordan at the springtime flood stage. God heaped the water far off from His people. They crossed over the Jordan on dry ground. God showed His great power in His timing for His purpose for His beloved people. God’s supernatural power served to build hope in God and to give the Israelite’s a great reputation with their enemies.
The Faith of Rahab
Verses 1-3 – Joshua sends two spies into the land. They were to see the military might of Jericho in order to know what they would be up against. They ended up at Rahab’s house because it was easy and assessable. Rahab’s house was built into the wall that surrounded Jericho. God directed the spies to Rahab’s, a known prostitute. God often uses people with simple faith to accomplish great purposes no matter what their past has been or how insignificant they may be to you or I. Rahab didn’t let who she was or what she had been, keep her from the new role God had for her.
Verses 4, 5 – Rahab lied in order to protect the spies. Is this alright, even under pressure? Rahab was not a Jew, so was she under any obligation to keep God’s law of not lying? Rahab was deceiving the enemy during wartime. She broke a lesser principle in order to uphold a higher truth-protecting God’s people. God doesn’t demand that our judgment be perfect in all situations, He simply ask us to put our trust in Him and to do our best. Rahab did that and was commended for her faith.
Verse 6 – Flax was harvested in the fields and piled high on the rooftops to dry. It was then made into yarn that was used to make linen cloth. Flax grows to a height of three or four feet. Stacked on the roof it made a great place for the spies to hide.
Verse 11 – Rahab recognized who Israel’s God was. Many of the Israelite’s didn’t. Jericho had heard of the Israelite’s Mighty God and were terrified. Do you know how big our God is?
Verse 15 – In Joshua’s day, it was common to build houses on city walls. Rahab may have lived in such a house with a window that looked out the outside wall.
Verses 17-20 – The scarlet cord is symbolic of the Passover and its placement of blood on the door frames of the house in which the family was preserved from death.
God commissions Joshua
Verses 1-5 – Joshua succeeded Moses as Israel’s leader. Because Joshua had assisted Moses for many years, he was well able and prepared to take over leadership of the nation. Joshua’s new job consisted of leading more than two million people into a strange new land and conquering it. Just as God was with Joshua, He is with us as we face our new challenges in life. Every day we can face situations temptations, or difficult people. We may not conquer any nations but God says He will never leave us. By asking God to help us we can overcome many of life’s challenges.
Verses 6-8 – God tells Joshua to be of good courage, there is nothing to fear when He is in charge. The key to prosperity is written here; (1) be courageous in all you do; and (2) meditate on God’s words. As believers, success won’t always look the same as the world’s success. If you will know and understand, what God has written on your heart, your decisions will be much easier. Faith comes by hearing and hearing and hearing the word of God. Meditating will bring clarity and understanding.
Verses 12-15 – In the previous year the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half-tribe of Manasseh had asked Moses if they could stay east of the Promised Land. They were allowed to have that land on one condition-that when it was time to conquer the Promise Land, they would go with their fellow tribesmen. Now it was time to fulfill that agreement.
Joshua is accepted by Israel
Verse 16 – God had spoken directly to Joshua and gave Him His plan of conquering the Promise Land. All the Israelite’s agreed to follow everything Joshua told them to do .Sometimes with different decisions it’s not always that easy to know what God wants us to do. Do we give up or do we fight for what we believe is right? You can rest assured in this; if where you are going in your decision is not part of God’s plan for you, doors will shut. No matter what you or anyone else does, they will not open again. God will and does let you know which way to go, in His timing.