FAITH TO ENTER GODS PROMISES

Dont Covet What God Has Conquered

Joshua 6

Jerry A Collins

2/13/05

SCC

 

*               What does Jericho signify about our walk with God?

*               What are the things that we should not covet?

*               Does God expect us to keep our word?

 

We often hear that faithfulness and obedience is defined in terms of familiar things that Christians usually do regularly. But for godly men and women in the Bible, faithfulness meant obeying Gods challenge to do something they had never done before and usually nobody had done before and possibly something nobody would ever do again. To have faith in God and to obey God for creative people meant doing something new. When Jesus taught how to disciple He said put new wine into fresh wineskins Matt 9:17. The apostle Paul said if any man is in Christ he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come. 2 Cor 5:17. To the Ephesians Paul wrote and put on the new self 4:24. We look forward to a new heaven and a new earth 2 Pt 3:13 and at the end of the Bible God says I am making all things new Rev 21:5. God commands Joshua and Israelites to do something new that would require obedience and trust in God.

1. GODS STRATEGIES REQUIRE NEWNESS AND DEMANDS FAITH

Joshua had been part of the conquest of several cities with Moses for 40 years. But he had never taken one by marching around it and blowing on horns. Yet that was the formula had had to obey to capture Jericho.

Jericho tightly shut 1 The reason it was shut is because of the sons of Israel. Gilgal was within two miles of Jericho on the same flat plain. The inhabitants of the city had every right to shut themselves within those walls since they heard of the exploits of these people for over 40 years and the recent Jordan experience. Plus their hearts had melted at this news. No one in or out emphasizes impossibility of penetrating this city. It reminds me of the battle of helms deep in the Lord of the Rings. All they can do is shut themselves up inside the fortress while the enemy assembles before them preparing to attack. A few against overwhelming odds.

Lord instructs about attack on Jericho 2-5 There are five stages for these instructions: (1) Men of war are to march around the city, once a day, for six days. (2) The 7 priests are to carry 7 trumpets in front of the Ark. There are 7 priests, trumpets, days, circuits of the wall on 7th day. 7 symbol of completeness. (3) On 7th day were to march 7 times and blow trumpets. (4) When they make long blast on trumpets people are to shout. (5) Walls will fall flat down and people should go straight ahead in front of them. No battle strategy appeared more unreasonable than this one. But obedience and faithfulness had little to do with keeping traditions, being conservative, staying out of danger or doing what everybody else was doing. Joshua instructs the people 6-16 Here is what Joshua did: (1) He gave Gods instructions to the people 6-7. (2) He added 2 things; a. the trumpets were to be blown continually vs 9 b. that the people were to be completely silent until the last day vs 10. Neither violated what God commanded, but Joshua added them without changing Gods intent. We should never add to or take away from the Word of God. But in applying it, we will add certain things to flesh it out in our particular situation to fit it and use it. Joshua did not change Gods Word but he applied it with some things God had not specifically said. The difference is, those who violate Deut 4:1-2 & Rev 22:18-19 change the intent of God and give it a different meaning than God intended. They are still attacking Jericho but Joshua added some details in their application of Gods command. (3) Josh rose early in the morning and carried out the 6-day march around the city 12. (4) On 7th day they marched around 7 times. (5) He commanded the people to break the silence and shout 16. It is clear that the strategy was not only military but religious in nature. The prominent place given to priests and the ark show God leading them into battle not Joshua or soldiers. So things like faithfulness, obedience and trust for Joshua and the people also meant doing something new. Usually something new that noone had ever done before. We are often slow at changing ourselves, habits, patterns, values, paradigms, attitudes, perspectives. We are comfortable with familiar and routine. So God may involve is in taking extraordinary steps of faith into new ideas and realms that require us to trust Him and motivate us to try something new. He did so with Noah, Abe, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Daniel, Mary, Peter, & Paul that required risk and newness. 2. DONT COVET WHAT GOD HAS CONQUERED 17-19

Joshua gives the people two more commands here:

(1) Anyone found in Rahabs house shall live and not be killed. In keeping with the biblical pattern, Rahab and her family were spared from divine judgment like Noah & ark Gen 7:1; Lot & family Gen 19:23; righteous remnant Eze 11; rapture 1 Thess 5:9 because of their faith. Judgment was upon sin and God delivers righteous first. Rahabs history an example of grace of God operating in lives of a person and her family. She became part of line of Christ Mt 1:5 the mother of Boaz who married Ruth had Obed who had Jesse father of David. Rahab was prostitute who joined Israel and her God, believed, got married and used by God. Your past does not have to keep you from being used in marvelous ways by God.

(2) A ban on the city, things were not to be taken. Specifically, do not covet those things and take them, they are designated to go into the treasury of the Lord. The contents are to be given to the Lord including silver, gold articles of bronze and iron. So do not covet what God has conquered. God has overcome the world so do not covet the things in the world. One way we do that according to James is by living in luxury James 5:5-6. Living in luxury is living with more than we need. What you need is what you need to fulfill your calling which includes your opportunities, work, situation, personality, gifts. Talents). When we live beyond our needs it leads to pride James 4:1-6, self-indulgence James 5:3-4, spiritual dullness Rev 3:15-18, insensitive to priorities of kingdom of God Lk 16:21; Js 5:6. The question is what do you need to do your calling? It is always a judgment call and you alone get to make it before God.

3. DONT COMPROMISE WITH SIN BUT WAR AGAINST IT 20-27

Here the walls came down and eberyone, people and animals were killed because: (1) Moses said these were wicked people being judged by God. Israel was instrument to carry out that justice Deut 9:5. Whenever God brot justice to Israel he used surrounding nations to do that. But when those nations refused to acknowledge God and instead gloat over their victory, God brot judgment upon them too. (2) So the Canaanites ways would not be an influence on Israel Deut 20:16-18. We must go to war against sin in our lives determined to have complete victory. Sin must be overcome and never accepted or compromised. At best some sin we can never conquer this side of the grave but will fite against it for life. The secret to success in this campaign was not Joshuas military genius, armys skills in warfare. Victory came because he and the people fully trusted God in something new, and obeyed His commands. 1. Every command from God, like go make disciples of all nations or love your enemies, is like Joshuas in that God gives us a command and He brings the result 1-2. 2. God involves all His people in His work. Josh, priests, armed men, all the people marched and participated. Today we all have spiritual gifts to be used some way, but no one is left without an essential task. 3. Be sure you keep your word as Joshua did with Rahab. Your no better than your word.