Gospel Project Commentary: The Battle of Jericho
As God’s people entered the land promised to their father Abraham, it was not without opposition. The great fortress at Jericho stood looming before them as they miraculously crossed the Jordan River on dry ground.
I want to quickly offer three highlights/takeaways from the story of the battle of Jericho. Bible scholars, this story can be found in Joshua chapter 6. These notes are my own, but they are meant to supplement Session 4 of the Spring 2016 Gospel Project Chronological curriculum.
God uses the foolish things to shame the wise.
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 ESV
Jericho loomed as an impenetrable fortress for the nomadic Israelites, but perhaps with a solid plan, flawless execution, and an extra measure of luck, a take over was possible. Of course, after the battle, the masterminds of the plan would have boasted in their wisdom. The soldiers would have told tales of great strength. And the people would have forgotten their Savior.
So what did God tell the people to do? March in circles. Blow some trumpets. Shout real loud when I tell you. Why? Because in choosing a “foolish” plan, the wise man cannot boast, and in choosing a plan that even children could accomplish, the strong man cannot brag.
“Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.'”
Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV
Faithfullness is better than genius.
If we serve a God who uses the foolish things to shame the wise, then we must be very wary of pragmatism. Our own wisdom is faulty. There are times when God would have do things that make no practical sense. Things like marching around a city 7 times instead of attacking it. In His wisdom, God has given us rich, practical instruction in His word. Creativity is a wonderful gift from God, but so is the prescriptive nature of the bible. God’s word gives us bounds for our creativity, sometimes those bounds might not feel “smart” to us. We must trust that His ways are higher than ours and let Him work through us on His terms.
There is always a thread of redemption.
Rahab the Prostitute. Now that doesn’t exactly sound like the name of a key player in God’s plan of redemption does it? If you blink, you might think she’s just the lady who let two strange men stay at her house. Yet our holy God is not only merciful, He transforms people. It turns out that “Rahab the Prostitute” gave up her sinful ways and settled down. She married a man named Salmon and had a son. His name was Boaz. Boaz married a lady named Ruth. (If you know that story, you might ask if Boaz learned his redemptive heart from his dad.) Ruth and Boaz had a son named Obed, who had a son named Jesse, who had a son named David. Of course being King David’s great great grandmother is a big enough claim to fame, but in His sovereignty God brings His own son into the world through the line of David, through the line of Rahab the Prostitute.
God is always redeeming His people. That includes Him forgiving our sins. That includes Him transforming our lives. That includes Him giving us a place in His plan to fill the earth with God worshipers.
If we want to honor God, we will seek to be apart of His work of redemption. Yet as we seek to be apart of His work, we must remember that it is His work and that He set’s the terms by which we participate.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 ESV