By Emma Danzey, Crosswalk.com
There are many amazing battles in the Bible, but one of the most important victories was the battle of Jericho. There have been songs written about it, incredible sermons on it, and there are even children shows focused on Joshua 6. Today, we are going to take a closer look at not only the battle but the preparation and the greater purposes that we see within the Scriptures.
What Happened in the Story of the Battle of Jericho?
As the Bible is studied, we can see how men establish plans, even cities, but the Lord’s plans will always prevail (Proverbs 19:21). The city of Jericho was sitting on the land of promise for the people of God. After wandering for 40 years in the desert, the Israelites were about to enter the promised land. Moses, unfortunately, made poor decisions and would not enter with them (Numbers 20:2-5). However, in God’s great mercy, He allowed Moses to see the land before he died.
Deuteronomy 34:1-5 “Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the LORD showed him the whole land… Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.” And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said.”
Joshua 1 shares of the new leader for the Israelites, Joshua. He calls them to courage as they enter the land of promise. Chapter 2 encompasses the two spies who Rahab protected and helped successfully get back to the Israelites. The people of God put feet to their faith yet again through the waters in Chapter 3. The priest carried the ark of the covenant across the dry ground and stood in the middle of the river as the people passed through.
Fast forward to Joshua 5:13-15, Joshua had an encounter with an angel and just as the Lord had Moses take off his sandals at the burning bush, Joshua removed his sandals on the holy ground. Just as God was preparing Moses for the movement and victory, He was preparing Joshua for Jericho and the victories in the promised land to come. The people may have missed Moses, but I think of Moses’ fear to even speak before Pharaoh. This was Joshua’s assignment to lead in battles and to conquer the land. He was the one for this time.
Joshua 6 is the crux of our story today. This secure fortress was locked down so no one could enter or exit. Instead of charging the walls, God gave clear instructions in verse 3 “ March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days.” Then, He says in verses 4-5, “Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”
This must have been a strange experience to give yourselves away by marching around the city and to literally walk in circles hoping to have a victory. I wonder what was going through their heads marching every day? I wonder if they were tired by day seven?
Then, we see that Rahab is not forgotten. Even though this city was being destroyed, the Lord remained faithful to Rahab and her house (Joshua 6:17). She and her loved ones remained with the Israelites and were a beautiful picture of being grafted into the family of God.
Joshua 6:20-21 says, “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. They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.”
Joshua cursed Jericho and the Lord was with him
Why Is the Battle of Jericho Important?
Jericho was an important battle because it was the first conquered city by the Israelites in the promised land. Not only that, but Jericho was a pretty large town to begin the conquest. I guess the Lord wanted Canaan to have a heads up of Who was coming.
Not only was the battle itself important, but the step of faith that the Israelites took was also a huge change from distrust and complaints. The Jews learned to trust in their Great God. They marched and they shouted and then they claimed the victory.
The woman Rahab comes into the picture because of this attack. She was a heroine and a convert to the Lord. She is a prime example of us being in our own fortresses of sin and Jesus coming in to rescue us from the coming destruction. I imagine the amount of faith it must have taken Rahab not being able to leave the city with her family until the walls came down. She heard the marching for days and then finally the sound of freedom as the walls came down and the two spies came to rescue her and her loved ones. This broken woman would be in the genealogy of Jesus Himself. We can be reminded that in our mess, our Savior meets us there and pulls us out. He invites us to His promised land.
What Can We Learn from the Battle of Jericho?
Don’t Skip on the Preparation: All of the prayers, circumcision, and worship before the battle led to a stronger confidence in the Lord during the fight. When we neglect to spend time with God and ignore meditating on His Word, we miss out on confidence and training.
Following God Is What Leads to True Victory: Kyle Norman from Crosswalk shares, “The Lord was not present to serve the wishes of Israel. Rather, Israel is called to follow the way of the Lord. To overtake Jericho, Israel had to acknowledge that God fought for them. There was simply no possible way that the odd-ball strategy could ever provide the victory otherwise.”
I think of Psalm 18:29, “With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.”
Our God is Greater than Our Sin: Maybe you feel entrapped by your sin. Joshua 6 shows us that the Lord conquers strongholds and frees us just like Rahab. Never give up on God, He is always faithful, and He can pull you out of the most unexpected barriers.
Facts You Didn't Know about Jericho
1. This was the first battle and victory of the Israelites in the promised land of Canaan.
2. Joshua declared that whoever would rebuild Jericho would be cursed. Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho in the time of Ahab (1 Kings 16:34).
5. Zacchaeus lived in Jericho and Jesus went to his house (Luke 19).
No matter what “Jericho walls” you are facing, remember that you have victory in Christ. Follow Him and He will never lead you wrong. Even if we are as helpless as Rahab, God can intervene and bring success.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/John Theodor
Emma Danzey’s mission in life is to inspire young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. Emma is a North Carolina resident and green tea enthusiast! She is married to her husband Drew and they serve international college students. She enjoys singing, dancing, trying new recipes, and watching home makeover shows. During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first two writing projects: a Bible study on womanhood and a non-fiction book on singleness. You can visit her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com