Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lessons From Jericho

Intro.: I remember as a eight-old child having a brilliant idea for getting to space.

  1. My eight year old mind felt that we could get to space by using weather balloons.

  2. Now that was not the amazing part of this story.

  3. The amazing part is that my dad was the chef in the officer's mess on the nearby army base.

  4. He arranged for me, an eight year old boy, to stop by the home of the commanding officer's home to explain my brilliant idea.

  5. I think it was the only time I ever met a real life commander.

  6. Today – we will meet a real life general. In fact we will meet two – the commander of the Lord's army and Joshua, the commander of the Israelite army.

Read: Joshua 5:13 - 6:5


Trans: There are several ways to study the Bible

  1. There are times when we might just look at the use of a word in scripture – we might understand “love” by doing this kind of study.

  2. There are times when a passage address a very specific issue – this would be the Psalms or the letters of Paul. We can spend time seeing what the writer wants to say about his topic

  3. But when we get a glimpse of history, the writer is not focusing a topic, but on an event or person. Just as our life is composed of many elements – so were the people we see in scripture.

  4. This is the way we will approach our subject today.

T.S. I want to look at three lessons that we can get from the circumstances surrounding the capture of Jericho.

  1. What does the world fear?

    1. I wonder what it wold have been like to life in Jericho – here come the Israelites. You have, of course, heard rumors of how they had conquered city after city on the west side of the Jordan River, but no one has yet to face the Israelites on the East side. So they have closed up their city. The gates are locked. Soldiers are stationed along the upper battlements so they can report on all that is happening.

    2. But at the same time God is doing two things in Joshua's life.

    3. First, God is preparing his heart for battle. As Joshua prepares to move toward Jericho, he finds a man prepared for battle standing in his path. Joshua, the general, asks the expected question - “Friend or foe?” The answer comes quickly enough - “Neither, I am here as commander of the Lord's army.” Important to know that the Commander of the Lord's army ir really the Lord Himself.

    4. Joshua responds appropriately enough – he falls to the ground. The man reminds Joshua that he is on holy ground – and Joshua removes his shoes.

    5. How do we connect these two events – Jericho closing its doors and Joshua meeting the commander of the Lord's army. I think the connection is here – The people of Jericho feared the wrong thing. You see their battle was not with the Israelites – rather their battle was with the Lord. It was not Joshua that was going to be their undoing – it was the work of the Lord that they really had to fear. As we shall see in a few minutes, if they really feared the Lord, they would have nothing to fear.

(Appl.) It really is not too different today. We live in a culture that fears Christians – they are afraid to let us pray, they are afraid to let us worship, they are afraid to let us tell others what we believe. Do you know what they really fear need to fear – God. Like the people of Jericho, they do not know God and so they fear His people.

  1. Obedience is the key

    1. God was shaping Joshua's heart – by allowing Joshua to meet Him on holy ground.

    2. But as God met Joshua that day, he was also going to give him instructions – they tell me that most military people would find these instructions to be silly. Why in the world would anyone plan on marching around a city, not once, not twice, not even three times, but seven times.

    3. But that is what God said to do. And Joshua was going to listen.

(Ill.) Lucy, of the Peanuts comic strip, tells Charlie Brown that she has to read a book but doesn’t want to. Would he please read it to her? “Read it yourself,” he says. She replies that reading takes effort and she hates anything that takes effort. Charlie wisely says that listening takes effort, too. But, Lucy retorts, she wasn’t going to listen.

How often we are like Lucy. Shamefully, some of us don’t want the Bible taught. Others want it taught, but not at a level that will provoke thought, action, or change. That is bad. But to want it taught while we sit and not really listen is worse still. The worst of all is to listen—and not obey. Jesus left no doubt. Only those who listen to the Word, obey what they hear, and produce its fruit are acceptable to him. Since we believe in his absolutes, we absolutely believe in hearing and doing the Master’s will.1

    1. And that is what Joshua did – he listened and obeyed. It may have seen. His people may have wondered what was going on, the residents inside of Jericho may have wondered what was going on. But God had no doubts about what was going on.

  1. God keeps his promises

    1. God had two promises to keep.

    2. One of those was to the people of Israel. He was to protect them and give them the city of Jericho.

    3. And seven days later, this is what happened. I have heard stories that walking around loosened the foundation – so that when the seventh day came, the stones naturally fell. Others have suggested that the Israelites marching around the wall was designed to confuses the people of Jericho. They kept expecting a charge, but it never happened.- not on the first day, not on the second day, not on the third day. And when it finally came, Jericho was caught by surprise.

    4. I really don't know what happened 3400 years ago – I do know that God kept his promise and the city of Jericho was destroyed by the Israelites – as promised by God.

    5. Bu there was another promise made. And that promise was to a woman with a very poor reputation – Rahab. You will remember she was responsible for hiding the spies that had come from Israelites. She asked for protection for herself and her family and it was offered.

    6. It was the one person who understood what it meant to fear the Lord. I can't help but wonder if the city had turned to God for protection like Rahab, would he have spared the whole city.

(Ill.) At the beginning of the 20th century one of the names that you would have heard mentioned in the business section of your daily paper was John Wanamaker. Wanamaker is the founder of one of the first, if not the first, department stores in the United States. In 1889 he was named the postmaster general of the United States. While serving in that position, he issued the very first commemorative stamp. He began to lay the foundation for free, rural mail delivery – though it would be years before it was fully implemented.2 At the same time he ran a Sunday School program that had several thousand students.

Someone asked John Wanamaker: “How do you get time to run a Sunday school with your four thousand scholars, in addition to the business of your stores, your work as Postmaster-General, and other obligations?” Instantly Mr. Wanamaker replied: “Why, the Sunday school is my business! All other things are just things. Forty-five years ago I decided that God’s promise was sure: 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.'”

    1. Israel believed God's promises, Joshua believed God's promises, Rahab believed God's promises. So can we.



1Hurley, V. (2000, c1995). Speaker's sourcebook of new illustrations (electronic ed.) (136). Dallas: Word Publishers.


No comments: