It was way back in Genesis 12, when Abraham first passed through in the land of Canaan, that the Lord told him: “To your offspring I will give this land.”
It's been a dozen generations or more since any of his family had owned property there. Jacob had to gone to Egypt where Joseph would rescue them from famine. Canaan had been overrun, divided again, and property claims would have been washed away with the centuries.
So yesterday’s crossing and Passover celebration represent a homecoming of sorts, for Israel, for Jacob, for Abraham. And Jericho, which lay before, is where the LORD’s promise to sweep the Canaanite from before them will first be put to the test.
The instructions for Joshua and the Israelites resemble what you’ve come to expect of the LORD’s actions. No strategic military coup; no decisive weaponry. This is rather a priestly action: priests, ram’s horns, and the Ark of the Testimony form the front line of Israel’s army. Something extraordinary is going to happen, and everyone will know that it was the LORD, not Israel, who accomplished it.
Imagine what it would be like in Jericho, watching this very non-military action for six days. We already know from Rahab that they are terrified of Israel. Six days of marching, and then a seventh, and then a great shout. And it was all over.
Pay attention in chapter 6 to the reminder that everything was devoted to the LORD – charam – to be destroyed or turned over to the tabernacle treasury. This folds into chapter 7, when Israel is unable to take the much smaller village of Ai. Joshua and the LORD engage in tense dialogue: Joshua beside himself and the LORD enraged: “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face?” He asks. “Israel has sinned…”
Throughout this reading listen attentively to the promise kept to Rahab; you’re allowed to wonder about the LORD’s perspective on this because none is given, except that “she lives in Israel to this day.” Listen also to the search for the sin that caused Israel’s defeat at Ai, to its thorough consequences, and hear the covenantal language in the LORD’s words that Israel has sinned.
Our verse for this week is Galatians 3:29: And if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.
Joshua chapters 6 and 7. Now let’s read it!
And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.