Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April 12- Joshua Fought The Battle of Jericho...Or Did He?

April 12, 2011

Scripture Readings:
Joshua 5:1-7:15; Luke 15:1-32
Psalm 81:1-16; Proverbs 13:1

Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
Jericho, Jericho.
Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
And the walls came a tumblin' down.

Joshua 5:1-7:15

Alexander the Great was one of the greatest military commanders to ever live on earth. Born in July of 356, Alexander inherited the throne of Macedonia from his father.  Upon his father's death, Alexander set about to fulfill military conquests planned by his late father. Alexander successfully defeated Darius III, the king of Persia, and expanded his empire to include land that stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River. Alexander never lost a military battle. The interesting thing is that what defeated Alexander in the end was his own sin.  Alexander died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 32.

Today we meet the Israelites who experience victory while following God and experience defeat when they do not follow God.

As our reading begins, the Israelites are about to fight their first military battle in the Promised Land on the west side of the Jordan River.  In preparation for this event, Joshua is told to circumcise the entire male population of Israel.  We are talking about thousands upon thousands of people. Apparently, when the nation of Israel sinned against God and wandered in the wilderness for forty years that generation of faithless rebels did not practice the circumcision of their children as commanded by God.

You may remember that Moses got in trouble with God for not circumcising his son.  Ignoring this ritual was a sign to God of unbelief in the promise He had made to Israel. The mass circumcision, therefore, would have been a significant and historical event for the nation. Remember that circumcision was the sign that God designated for all of Abraham's male descendants to acknowledge His covenant to give them the Promised Land.  No conquering of the land would occur without the Israelites being spiritually in line with God. The act of circumcision cemented Israel's faith that God would be with them in battle and help them to conquer the Promised Land.

Lesson:  Circumcision for the Christian is the cutting away of the old nature to be replaced by the new nature Christ gives us.  Have you had your heart circumcised by God?  Has the penalty of your sin been cut away by Christ's sacrificial death so that you are prepared to claim the Promised Land in your life?  Can you really face life's battles without claiming God's promises in your life?

After circumcising the community, the manna that had fed the nation of Israel stopped.  No longer would the nation be fed miraculously by heaven. They would begin to eat off of the fruit of the Promised Land. Do you eat from the living bread of Christ everyday?  Does your spiritual Promised Land provide you sustenance to get through the day?

The next event to occur in our reading is that Joshua, the general of Israel, meets the True Military Commander of Israel.  As Joshua prepares for battle, a man comes into the camp carrying a sword.  Joshua confronts the man and asks if he is a friend or foe.  The man replies, "Neither one. I am the commander of the Lord's army."  At this statement, Joshua falls flat on his face in front of the man.  As you might have guessed, this is another pre-incarnate Christ appearance in the Old Testament.  This time, Jesus is a warrior.  Are you surprised at how many times Jesus is appearing in the story in the Old Testament?  Whenever God needs to confront a person on earth in a body, Jesus comes down pre-incarnate to handle the situation.

This first battle in the Promised Land, to conquer the land, is a huge deal.  This is God fulfilling His promises.  It should be no surprise that Jesus comes in the flesh to direct the battle.  Jesus lays out the battle plan for Joshua.  They are to march around the city carrying the Ark of the Covenant before them.  Remember, the Ark represents Jesus.  Jesus will go before them in battle.  Jesus fought the battle of Jericho.

Upon their obedience to Jesus' battle plan, the walls of Jericho fall down and all the people, with the exception of Rahab and her family, are killed. The gold, silver, bronze, and iron are to be taken into the Lord's treasury.  It makes sense that since the Lord fought the battle, he gets the booty.

Do you realize that in your daily battles it is really the Commander of the Lord's Army who is fighting for you?  Obey His battle plan.  Live your life based on biblical principles. That is how you will win the fight.  Then realize that Jesus will fight YOUR battle of Jericho, also.  The walls of sin, shame, and defeat will come tumblin' down in your life, if you rely on the Commander of the Lord's Army to fight for you.

The next event shows us that we are often our worst enemies.  The sinfulness of our own hearts leads to defeat.  Instead of giving all of the treasures to the Lord, a man named Achan steals some of the treasure and hides it in his tent.  The Israelites immediately lose the next small battle they fight.  Distressed and dismayed, Joshua goes to the Lord to complain.  The Lord admonishes Joshua that Israel has sinned.  He lays out the method for finding the guilty party.

Do you allow your own personal sin to get in the way of living victoriously?  Have you defeated yourself in life through bad decisions?

Luke 15:1-32

He was lost, but now he is found.  What a beautiful sentiment.  What a picture of all of our lives.  Today, Jesus teaches the sinners and Pharisees around him the concept that God is seeking to save sinners.  Jesus is trying to help people to understand the whole point of history.  Do you know the whole point of history...His Story?  Here is what he is saying...
    • We are like sheep, treasures, and children to God, but we are lost.  We are lost because of the sin of man in the Garden of Eden.
    • God's purpose for the whole of history is to seek the lost, find them, and bring them back into fellowship with God.
    • Jesus is the central character of history, who is able to go get the lost sinner and bring that person back to God. 
    • God is the Father, who loves and accepts the prodigal child.
    • The whole story of the Bible is designed to allow us to see who God is.  To see that He is relational, merciful, loving, holy, powerful, creative, awe-inspiring, brilliant, unable to be fully comprehended, and yet, those who love Him and are called by Him are His family.

Did Jesus find you when you were lost and carry you back to the Father on his shoulders?  If so, you are part of God's family for eternity. 

Psalm 81:1-16

Vs. 7 says that God saves us out of our trouble.  This follows our lessons for today.

Proverbs 13:1

Wise children accept their parent's discipline.  Do you accept God's discipline in your life?  If you do, you are wise.

What did you see today?

Blessings,

Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton


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