BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 2: Joshua 5:13-6:27

Image result for battle of jericho

Summary of Joshua 5:13-6:27:

As Joshua is preparing to take Jericho, a man holding a sword appears before him. This man identifies himself as the commander of the Lord’s army. Joshua prostrates himself, while the man tells him to take off his sandals for he is standing on holy ground.

Summary of Joshua 6:

The Lord spoke to Joshua and told him how to take Jericho, which had now retreated behind their city walls. The Lord tells Joshua to march around the city one time with all of his men for 6 days. Have 7 priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the 7th day, march around the city 7 times, while the priests blow the trumpets. When the priests give a loud blast on the trumpet, have everyone shout and then the walls will collapse and you can just walk in and take the city.

So the people obeyed Joshua’s orders and did exactly as the Lord had commanded. On the 7th day, Joshua commands the people to shout and take the city that the Lord has given them, but to spare Rahab and all who are with her in house. He also warns the people not to take the devoted things or they will be destroyed. All the silver, gold, bronze, and iron (the devoted things) are sacred to the Lord and must go into His treasury.

The Israelites devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed everything and everything–every man, woman, child, cattle, sheep and donkeys. Rahab was escorted safely out of the city by the two spies whom she saved and placed into a camp near Israel’s camp. Then the whole city was burned to the ground, excepting the silver, gold, bronze, and iron, which went into the Lord’s treasury. Rahab lived amongst the Israelites all of her days.

Image result for battle of jerichoJoshua cursed the city never to be re-built. The Lord was with Joshua and his fame spread.

BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 2: Joshua 5:13-6:27

3) Joshua met a man with a sword in his hand who identified himself as the commander of the Lord’s army. The man is acting on the Lord’s orders to appear before Joshua. He is following a command and is therefore indifferent to whatever is happening in Joshua’s world.

4a) The Lord encourages Joshua, saying that Jericho is already his. He has delivered it into his hands along with the king and all the fighting men. Thus, Joshua’s faith and courage would be bolstered, and his trust grown deeper roots. God wants us to succeed. He is a loving God who encourages and cares for His people.

b) This is one of the most unique “battle” strategies ever. To begin with, there was no battle. The men marched around the city, blew some trumpets, the walls fell down, and Jericho was taken. The Israelites I’m sure were confused and wondering what was the purpose of this. The residents of Jericho must have thought the Israelites were insane and wondered what was wrong with them.

5a) God ordered Joshua to kill every living thing inside the walls of Jericho except Rahab and her family who were congregated inside her home because she had saved the lives of the two spies. God ordered the people killed as judgment upon them for their sins against the Lord–namely unbelief, worshipping other gods, and the so-called religious traditions they practice such as burning their sons and daughters as sacrifices to these false gods. The land was burned because even the land was defiled.

b) Personal Question. My answer: This is a perfect example of why so-called “innocent” people are killed and slaughtered.  None of us are innocent. We are all guilty of sin and deserve death. When what seems to us senseless killings (floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, or wars against each other) all serves a purpose in God’s plans for us. That’s why bad things happen to “good” people. None of us are good.

Conclusions to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 2: Joshua 5:13-6:27:

Who doesn’t love this story? I would have loved to have been there to see such a sight, and I would have wondered what on earth these crazy people were smoking to be marching around a city and blowing trumpets. It’s such a classic tale of complete and utter trust in the Lord. Note no Israelite is killed as far as we know. The city was taken without a fight. That by itself is a miracle.

End Notes to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 2: Joshua 5:13-6:27:

We know that this man, standing before Joshua, was God. Although the man identifies himself as the Commander of the army of the LORD, leading some to say this may have been an angel (Revelation 12:7), angels are never worshipped (Revelation 22:8-9). Furthermore, Joshua calls the angel “My Lord” and removes his sandals like Moses did at the burning bush (Exodus 3:5).

Army of the Lord does imply that this was an army of angels.

Some Biblical scholars speculate this could have been Jesus in bodily form, which we know he existed from the very beginning, so this could be possible (Genesis 18:16-3332:24-30, and Judges 13:1-23).

The whole point of this section of Joshua 5 is to show that Joshua is obeying God whole-heartedly and submitting to God’s will and not his own. With the army of the Lord on our side, how can we lose?

Why did God appear before Joshua?

God appeared to instruct Joshua on the very important taking of Jericho and, as we’ll see, it was such an unlikely scenario that it could have only come from God. God came to make sure Joshua was completely committed to Him–a lesson for our own lives. Are you completely and totally committed to whatever God tells you to do?

Image result for battle of jericho

Joshua 6: The Fall of Jericho

The City of Jericho:

Before, the Israelites have only had promises from God. Now it’s time to deliver. And God starts with the hardest first. Jericho, a formidable city, might possibly mean “city of the moon god.” It was located 5 miles west of the Jordan River and 7 miles north of the Dead Sea. It’s climate is tropical and in ancient times date palm trees flourished there as well as balsam, from which medicine was extracted. Today, banana groves grow, fed from springs of water, a green oasis in the middle of the dry Jordan rift area. It’s capture was the key to the invasion of the central hill country.

In the New Testament, its location shifted south a few miles. It yielded a large revenue to the royal family and Herod the Great’s winter palace was built here. The road from Jordan to Jerusalem passed through Jericho, making it a stopping place for Galilean pilgrims to Jerusalem who traveled this way to avoid contamination by the Samaritans.

Jesus passed through Jericho on a number of occasions (Mark 10:46-52; Matthew 20:29-34; Luke 19:1-10; Luke Image result for city of jericho10:29-37).

Fun Fact about City of Jericho:

Archaeology supports a city at Jericho since the seventh to sixth millennia BC, which puts Jericho as one of the oldest cities known–having existed 5000 years before Abraham.

Many archaeological digs have been conducted over the years to determine if Jericho actually existed. Some scholars believe it did, but Jericho was a much smaller fort. Evidence has been eaten away by the elements. So much digging has been done that the likelihood we’ll ever know remains doubtful.

God tests their faith first by having the city fall by the most unconventional of means. It required total faith by Joshua and total faith by all of the Israelites. Again, we see how God’s people have to do something; God just doesn’t give them the city.

Normally, the ark of the covenant does not go into battle. This was so the people know God was with them.

Key Points of the Battle of Jericho:

  • Joshua acted immediately, without delay.
  • The Israelties were open to attack as they marched around the city.
  • The Israelites had to be patient and persistent as they had to march for 6 days, doing something that required absolute faith.
  • The fall takes place on the 7th day, so the Israelites would have had to march on a Sabbath. Note how God does things in 7 days, the number of spiritual perfection (Creation, sprinkling of blood on the mercy seat, etc.)
  • All the valuables are set aside for God as Jericho is the first fruits.
  • Everyone (except Rahab and her family) in Jericho is destroyed because they are in total rebellion against God.
  • Israel took what God gave: the city.

When the wall fell, were the Israelites surprised? I’m sure the people of Jericho were shocked. How often are we surprised when God fulfills His promises?

Slaughtering everyone is a harsh penalty. But the Canaanites were in spiritual disobedience and this was their judgment. God chose His people to enact the penalty. Sometimes, He does the consequences like in Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24-25).

We know that Jericho had heard about the God of Israel (Joshua 2:8-11), but only Rahab responded. Thus, she is rewarded with her life. Scholars say Joshua was written at the time these events occurred because of the line “she [Rahab] lives among the Israelites to this day.

Joshua’s curse in Joshua 6:26 was fulfilled literally when a man attempted to rebuild the city of Jericho in the days of King Ahab (1 Kings 16:34).

Themes of Joshua 6 and What We Learn from the Battle of Jericho:

  • Faith: Joshua and Israel believe God’s commands
  • Obedience: Joshua and Israel follow God’s commands.
  • Courage: Joshua and Israel execute God’s commands.

All while trumpets are the weapons, not swords.

Like we saw with the 10 plagues of Egypt, God is declaring war on all of Canaan who are wicked (Deuteronomy 9:5) and had forfeited their right to the land 400 years prior (Genesis 15:16).

Advertisements

BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 5: Joshua 5:1-12

Image result for gibeath haaraloth map

Summary of Joshua 5:1-12:

Upon hearing of God’s bringing of His people across the Jordan River by stopping its flow, all the Amorite king and Canaanite kings lost courage to face the Israelites. God ordered the circumcision of His people at Gibeath Haaraloth. These were the sons of the the wandering Israelites who had not been circumcised on the journey. They remained in camp until they were healed.

The Israelites celebrated the Passover, eating the produce of the land (unleavened bread and roasted grain). The manna stopped after this since the Israelites were now able to produce their own food.

BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 5: Joshua 5:1-12:

11) To circumcise all the Israelites who had not been circumcised previously. God had commanded Abraham that all Israeli males be circumcised as a sign of the covenant made between Abraham and God, which was God’s promise to Abraham to make him into a great nation and receive the gift of the Promised Land. It was also a requirement to be circumcised to take part in the Passover, which is a celebration in remembrance of God sparing the Israelites in his judgment of Egypt, passing over the houses of the children of Israel when He killed the firstborn of man and beast in Egypt.

Deuteronomy tells us also that “God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”

12a) Passover. The passover signifies the fulfillment of God’s promises to His people.

b) God stopped giving manna. This signified to the Israelis that they now would be able to provide for themselves–something all of us wants.

13) Personal Question. My answer:  God has given me a new job, so my husband and I can start getting out of debt and getting on the right path for our lives. It’s a job that grows me and will serve me (and Him) forever in the future. I will thank Him by following Him, giving Him the credit, and loving Him.

Conclusions to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 5: Joshua 5:1-12:

It’s important to remember our blessings each and every day, which can easily get distracted with our daily struggles and problems. God chose circumcision and Passover for His people. Now, you can choose whatever you wish as a remembrance: just make it something concrete, visible, and meaningful to you.

Watch VIDEO of book of Joshua if you haven’t had a chance yet.

End Notes to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 5: Joshua 5:1-12:

Related imageSeeing the miracle of the Jordan River parted is only part of the reason the kings cower before the Israelites. The other reason: the Israelites trust in God. Trust is powerful. Think of all the people you trust enough to cross a parted river. Maybe a handful?

Apparently, no one was circumcised in the 40 years of wanderings. It was time to show your outward obedience to God’s commands and get circumcised. Circumcision is a consecration of yourself to God. It’s renouncing yourself and living for God. This had to be done before the conquering began.

Obviously, this was suicidal from a military standpoint.  All the men of fighting age were made completely vulnerable and unable to fight for a period of several days.

If you remember back in Genesis 34:24-25, Simeon and Levi killed all the men in a city after tricking them into having them all circumcised. While the men were unable to fight, they were slaughtered in retaliation, because the prince of that city had raped Dinah, the sister of Simeon and Levi. This could have been the fate of Israel here in Joshua 5.

  • Israel crossed over the Jordan at a militarily undesirable place (right in front of Jericho, the strongest military outpost of the Canaanites),
  • Then the Israelites incapacitated their army for several days.

The Israelites were circumcised because they trusted God.

God, in His infinite compassion, only asked the Israelites to do this AFTER the miracle of the parting of the Jordan River. God gives us strength and courage before he pushes us again. Radical things happen when we trust wholeheartedly in God.

“Rolling away the reproach of Egypt” means the shame of being slaves in Egypt and the underlying sin and rebellion that had caused that punishment. The Israelites needed to stop seeing themselves as helpless slaves and sinners but as conquering warriors of God who were forgiven.

God did not want the Israelites to forget His deliverance of them. God never wants us to forget Jesus’ deliverance of us out of bondage and into freedom.

God didn’t want the Israelites to get lazy; they could provide for themselves. Again, they needed to trust in God’s provision–not in how it was provided.

Gilgal will become a base camp for the Israelites. After battles they will return here. They will remember God’s greatness with the stones and be strengthened and renewed.

Theme of Joshua 5: Trust in God.

Fun Biblical Fact: This is the only time Gibeath Haaraloth is mentioned in the Bible.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 24, Day 4: Numbers 25:1-5

Summary of passage:  While Israel camped, the men engaged in sexual immorality with Moabite women.  The Israelites joined them in worshipping false gods and God’s anger burned.  The Lord ordered those who engaged in false god worship killed.

Questions:

8a)  To indulge in sexual immorality with pagan women and join them in worshipping false gods, breaking two of the ten commandments and the law against being with unbelievers.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The consequences of that sin.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure here.  I didn’t worship any false gods.  I did worship God.  He continues to provide for my every need in every way always.

9)  The people are about to cross over into the Promised Land.  They need to be godly people and fulfill God’s will and desire for them to be separate and a standard to look up to.  Plus, everything is going well for the Israelites.  Their enemies are afraid.  God just blessed them through Balaam.  Now, one of the oldest tricks in the book, sexual sin, is threatening to take down the Israelites.  God must stop this now.  It must be made clear to the Israelites that this sin is unacceptable.  As most of us know, sin and especially sexual sin, only leads to more sin.  And sin God will not tolerate.

Conclusions:  I liked this in how we see the devil never giving up in trying to take down God’s people.  I like how God answers:  swiftly and severely.  I didn’t like the personal questions at all.  They took the wind out of this passage for me as I paused and had to deliberate.  This passage speaks for itself and sometimes I think the passage gets lost when we try to inject ourselves and our experiences.  Instead of being about God’s word, it’s about us.  History is history and yes we learn from history, but facts are facts.

Example:  John F Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald for no other reason than for evil purposes and to gain notoriety.  In all the history books I’ve read about this historical event, not one has asked me about myself personally or how I applied his death to my life.  It was a tragic event as history both past and present are full of tragic events.  This will never change because man himself never changes.  Deep down we are sinners.  The devil grabs a hold of some people and never lets go despite God’s word.  Deep down we are all capable of murder.  Deep down we are undeserving of God’s mercy.  Deep down we are evil.

Point being:  not everything applies to us personally.  We all know if you do evil, you will face consequences either here on earth or in heaven.  We all know (even unbelievers) deep down who we should worship and who we shouldn’t worship.  We all know as Balaam discovered we will either be blessed or cursed by our decisions.

I am utterly frustrated here with the broad generalizations that are so broad (not even sexual sin is pinpointed here) that I am left with a headache in trying to figure out how to narrow it down.

End Notes:  In some Bible translations you will see Midianites instead of Moabites here. They are indeed separate peoples who at the time were living in the same general area.

We’ve seen Baal before, a constant threat to the Israelites as he was a popular fertility god that promoted sexual sin.

Note how Balak could not curse the Israelites but God can and does–because of disobedience. We ourselves bring upon our own destruction, not others.

Balaam is credited with suggesting this idea of sending in women to seduce the men (Numbers 31:16; Revelation 2:14).  However, he didn’t live very long (Numbers 31:7-8).  God’s judgment was swift upon him.

Map of Shittim:  http://www.jesuswalk.com/moses/maps/map-shittim-peor-topo-750x356x300.jpg

This map shows just how close the Israelites are to the Promised Land and God is taking no chances in His plans being thwarted now:  http://www.bibletrack.com/notes/image/Jericho.jpg