Make seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march round the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, make the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.
Joshua 6:4-5 (NIV)
Read: Joshua 6:1-27
Consider: You might never have thought about how the Israelites felt when Joshua explained to them how they were to take the city of Jericho. We know that none of the generation who escaped from Egypt were present. The current Israelites would have been the children and grandchildren of those involved in the exodus. As such, they would not have had first-hand knowledge of the miraculous things God did for them as they wandered through the wilderness for forty years. It is very likely that they would have heard the stories of God’s dealings with their parents and grandparents.
Imagine the scene: Joshua is explaining to the Israelites that their armed men are to march round Jericho once for six days. The ark of the covenant was to be carried before the army and seven priests were to go in front blowing trumpets. Joshua told them that no-one was to make a sound, as they circled the city on each circuit. On the seventh day they were to march round the city seven times and only shout when Joshua gave the order: ‘Shout! For the LORD has given you the city! The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD’ (Joshua 6:16-17).
I don’t know what you would have thought, but I’m sure that there would have been many raised eyebrows amongst the Israelites. Like us, today, they knew that city walls don’t fall down when people march around them, blowing trumpets and shouting. Perhaps on the first day the people watching the Israelite army and the priests might have expected something to happen. However, by the sixth day they might have been thinking that what Joshua told them was absurd. On the seventh day they watched as the procession circuited the city seven times and we read: When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city (6:20). While God’s orders that Joshua shared with the people might have seemed ridiculous, they were followed to the letter and the city fell to the Israelites.
Did you notice that amongst all of Joshua’s instructions he said: All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury (6:19). In Joshua 7 we read: But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi … took some of them (7:1). Achan’s greed came to light because the Israelites were routed in battle by the men of Ai (7:4).
These incidents in the life of the Israelites reveal that obedience to God brings blessing, while disobedience brings punishment. Additionally, it shows us how God views sin and his righteous judgement on those who disobey him.
Pray: Father, you want us to obey you in every aspect of our lives. Forgive us when we make excuses for our sinfulness, rather than confessing it to you and seeking your forgiveness. Amen