TODAY’S READING: JOSHUA 6-10
The conquest and destruction of Jericho; the sin of Achan; the destruction of Ai; the deception of the Gibeonites and their subsequent covenant with Israel; Joshua leads Israel in victory after victory.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
As Christians, we face many “Jerichos” in our lives. All too often, we want to give up at the sight of insurmountable odds, just as the spies at Kadesh (Num. 13:28-33). But no wall is too high and no sin is so great that our Lord Jesus Christ cannot give us the victory. Just note that the soldier who fights the best and experiences the victories is the one who bows the lowest before battle (see Joshua 5:13-15)! We win our battles on our knees and on our faces before the Lord (Phil. 4:6-7).
No man can take a city by himself. Joshua had the loyal cooperation of the priests and the people, and together they overcame the enemy. The Book of Hebrews commands us to not forsake assembling ourselves together, as many people do (“i.e. you don’t have to go to church to be spiritual”), but to exhort one another, especially as we get closer to Christ’s return (Heb. 10:25). We all need the accountability and help that a local church provides, in order to keep our enemies defeated. It is the only way we can live in victory. Why? Because God said so! (See Matthew 16:18).
In chapter 7, God reveals to us the consequences of secret sin. Achan had taken some of the spoils from Jericho in direct disobedience to God’s command (Josh. 6:18-19). Israel suffered their first defeat at the hands of Ai because of this sin in the camp. Ever since Adam, man has thought it was possible to hide his sin from God (Gen. 3:8 - Adam and Eve “hid themselves from...God”). Even Achan hid (Josh. 7:21-22) that which he coveted and took for himself, thinking God would never know! We may look at Achan and think, “how absurd he was to think that God wouldn’t know or find out about his sin”. But, what sin are you presently harboring that you think you will get by with? II Corinthians 7:1 says, “Deal with it now!” (“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”) Take heed to God’s warning in His Word... “be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23)!
Note that in Joshua 8:2, God said that the people of Israel were to take the loot from Ai unto themselves (unlike Jericho where all the loot was supposed to go to God alone). Had Achan just waited a few days, he would have had all the wealth he could have carried (Matt. 6:33).
Once again, Ai represents the flesh and the daily battle we have against it. In chapter 8, “Joshua arose” (verse 3) to lead Israel to victory against Ai. This is another awesome picture God is painting for us. It is through the power of Jesus’ resurrection that we can conquer and defeat the flesh and sin in our lives. In verse 6, we are told that “they will come out after us,” picturing the fact that our flesh will never quit...it always wakes up ready to come out and fight the Spirit each morning. Notice that the end of verse 9 says, “Joshua lodged that night among the people”. We have this same promise from our Joshua (Jesus) in scripture; Jesus is always with us to help us conquer the flesh (Rom. 7:24-25, 8:35-39; Matt. 28:20).
Gibeon was the next city to be taken after the victories by Israel at Jericho and Ai. The Gibeonites used deceit as their tool to avoid destruction. In chapter 9, they posed themselves as ambassadors from a far country who wanted to be the servants of Israel. They succeeded in getting this agreement (or covenant) from the leaders of Israel and then the truth was revealed (they were actually the Gibeonites themselves). Beware! The flesh will make deals with you before it will allow you to kill it. Note that it is often after great victories that Satan will launch his subtle attacks from the “back door”. We must never let our guard down, allowing ourselves to become complacent in our relationship with God. We must do as the apostle Paul did when he said, “I die daily” (I Cor. 15:31).
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
In the ARK OF THE COVENANT – Joshua 6; God dwelling within Israel (God lives in us – I Cor. 6:19).
Through JOSHUA – Joshua 8 and 10; He is the only one who can lead us to daily victory over our flesh.