Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 And Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. 3 And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he said, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.”
4 Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. 5 The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.”
6 Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. 7 Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 8 Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground.
9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” 10 And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” 11 And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.
Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. 13 And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.
15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho saw him opposite them, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. 16 And they said to him, “Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men. Please let them go and seek your master. It may be that the Spirit of the Lord has caught him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley.” And he said, “You shall not send.” 17 But when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, “Send.” They sent therefore fifty men. And for three days they sought him but did not find him. 18 And they came back to him while he was staying at Jericho, and he said to them, “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not go’?”
-The Lord calls us to make a clean break with our old way of life.
-We have an ascended Master, Jesus Christ, in a glorified body in heaven, ruling the galaxies. We must keep our eyes and affections on him.
-In a mocking and skeptical world, we must speak the truth of what we have seen and heard.
-The last thing you ever want is for God to leave you alone!
Talking about sin is hard. But we need to because the Scripture does. If we claim to love Jesus Christ then we are told directly by HIM that we must obey HIS words, all of Scripture and all principals that agree with the scriptures.
Let us clearly define sin based on the Bible / Scripture. Sin is doing, thinking or believing the opposite of what God wants. Many things are spelled out explicitly, others things less clear but still important.
To avoid sin…
1st we have to know what God would have us do, who He would have us be…And THEN we have to honestly, intentionally and transparently pursue such a life. Disobedience to God’s desires is sin. Ignoring God’s commands, precepts and principals is sin. Taking away a part of what God says, interpreting His Word out of context, is sin. Adding to what God prescribes for HIS people is sin.
God’s Word is meant to convey multiple meanings and have multiple uses. Everything from the big picture to personal application. The centuries long story of how God takes a group of people and HE walks with them to reveal himself and HIS desires for all people. Through these people, HIS people HE demonstrates how no human being can live in a way acceptable to HIS Perfect Triune Holiness. From that nation HE comes in person to make a way for our lives to be acceptable to HIM. By HIS perfect sacrifice for us we can embrace our dependency for a ‘Father’ we need.
There is also a massive amount of human relational information given to guide us in how we live. The characters are all there for a reason: to teach us how we are and are not to relate to our Creator. Every interaction can be mined for application to our lives as Christ followers. This information is only revealed by God’s Spirit in us and our yielding to to HIS tutelage.
As we join the story today, Jericho has been dedicated to the Lord, His desire was for everything thing to be destroyed except Rahab’s family and the metal objects.
1 But Israel violated the instructions about the things set apart for the Lord. A man named Achan had stolen some of these dedicated things, so the Lord was very angry with the Israelites. Achan was the son of Carmi, a descendant of Zimri son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah.
It doesn’t say ‘Achan’ violated God’s instructions, it say ‘Israel’ violated
The object of God’s righteous anger is the entire nation (His Body)
God knows every little thing, it’s declared throughout Scripture…and life!
2 Joshua sent some of his men from Jericho to spy out the town of Ai, east of Bethel, near Beth-aven. 3 When they returned, they told Joshua, “There’s no need for all of us to go up there; it won’t take more than two or three thousand men to attack Ai. Since there are so few of them, don’t make all our people struggle to go up there.”
Map shows the proximity, spies were sent the next day
They are confident that it will only take a portion of their fighting men
4 So approximately 3,000 warriors were sent, but they were soundly defeated. The men of Ai chased the Israelites from the town gate as far as the quarries, 5 and they killed about thirty-six who were retreating down the slope.
God is the One who decides who wins or loses every battle
Soundly defeated, aka ‘routed’; it implies being turned back, retreating
Outside the town they had quarries to hold water, the Israelites were trapped
36 soldiers did not return from the battle
The Israelites were paralyzed with fear at this turn of events, and their courage melted away. 6 Joshua and the elders of Israel tore their clothing in dismay, threw dust on their heads, and bowed face down to the ground before the Ark of the Lord until evening.
The loss of 36 soldiers totally unnerves the whole nation
The removal of God’s favor is noticeable to the spiritually sensitive
They know something is wrong
7 Then Joshua cried out, “Oh, Sovereign Lord, why did you bring us across the Jordan River if you are going to let the Amorites kill us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side!
Communal mourning & humbling themselves before God
Joshua is dramatic, but he is feeling the weigh of leadership
He is talking to God without knowing the whole situation (Every Human Prayer)
8 Lord, what can I say now that Israel has fled from its enemies? 9 For when the Canaanites and all the other people living in the land hear about it, they will surround us and wipe our name off the face of the earth. And then what will happen to the honor of your great name?”
Joshua can’t explain his army losing, he thought God was doing his bidding…
He is jumping ahead to what he thinks is going to happen
Joshua, like us, is only able to see from his perspective in the situation
He is concerned about God’s reputation (learned that from Moses)
10 But the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? 11 Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings.”
Why does God tell Joshua and the Elders to get up?
God charges the leadership with lack of supervision and ultimately being lax
God addresses them as a singular thing: Israel
God says: you did it, you lied about doing it and then you made it your own
This is a pattern of how sin is multiplied instead of repented of
Without repentance sin only multiplies
The word ‘repent’ has two aspects: one is to admit the wrong, and the second is a intentional move away from that particular behavior / attitude / words / lifestyle. ‘Come Clean and then Change’
12 “That is why the Israelites are running from their enemies in defeat. For now Israel itself has been set apart for destruction. I will not remain with you any longer unless you destroy the things among you that were set apart for destruction.”
The spiritual impact is a lack of connection / separation from God
The sin that is not repented of has multiplied and is defeating an entire nation
In current state of un-repentance, the nation of Israel is under God’s judgement
God will withdraw HIS presence unless the situation is rectified
13 “Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the Lord. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you.”
Get to work…tell everyone to prepare spiritually
HE instructs Joshua to tell all the people:
God says there is someone who has hidden things meant to be devoted to God
God says this sin will hold back the nation from their promised destiny
It must be dealt with, as a community
14 “In the morning you must present yourselves by tribes, and the Lord will point out the tribe to which the guilty man belongs. That tribe must come forward with its clans, and the Lord will point out the guilty clan. That clan will then come forward, and the Lord will point out the guilty family. Finally, each member of the guilty family must come forward one by one.”
Everyone will be examined, all 12 tribes worth. Millions down to one person
God will point out exactly who the guilty party is
15 “The one who has stolen what was set apart for destruction will himself be burned with fire, along with everything he has, for he has broken the covenant of the Lord and has done a horrible thing in Israel.”
When the guilty party is identified all that is his will be devoted to the Lord
The price is high because of what it cost (God’s disdain & 36 men)
16 Early the next morning Joshua brought the tribes of Israel before the Lord, and the tribe of Judah was singled out. 17 Then the clans of Judah came forward, and the clan of Zerah was singled out. Then the families of Zerah came forward, and the family of Zimri was singled out. 18 Every member of Zimri’s family was brought forward person by person, and Achan was singled out.
At each point of the process Achan could have come forward
He is given multiple chances but not an infinite number of chances…
19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, by telling the truth. Make your confession and tell me what you have done. Don’t hide it from me.” 20 Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel.
Only now when Achan has no other choice does he repent (Too Late)
One day every knee will bow to Jesus Christ! We, HIS followers, joyfully do it now!When Christ returns and MAKES every knee bow, it will be too late for that supplication to save anyone.
21 Among the plunder I saw a beautiful robe from Babylon, 200 silver coins, and a bar of gold weighing more than a pound. I wanted them so much that I took them. They are hidden in the ground beneath my tent, with the silver buried deeper than the rest.”
His confession: Beauty from Babylon, Heavy Gold & Spendable Silver
He took three things that express pride (the root of all sin)
He wanted to feel special / have security / gratify any urge
22 So Joshua sent some men to make a search. They ran to the tent and found the stolen goods hidden there, just as Achan had said, with the silver buried beneath the rest. 23 They took the things from the tent and brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites. Then they laid them on the ground in the presence of the Lord.
Twice it says the silver is buried beneath the other stuff, deeper in the ground
Why is the silver buried deeper? $100,000
24 Then Joshua and all the Israelites took Achan, the silver, the robe, the bar of gold, his sons, daughters, cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats, tent, and everything he had, and they brought them to the valley of Achor. 25 Then Joshua said to Achan, “Why have you brought trouble on us? The Lord will now bring trouble on you.”
God gave specific instruction, Joshua made sure he followed them
Notice: ALL the Israelites did it together, demonstrating the pattern God wants
Together we establish & maintain ‘Biblical Culture’ regarding dealing with sin
It is THE LORD who brings the trouble (Your sin will find you out)
And all the Israelites stoned Achan and his family and burned their bodies. 26 They piled a great heap of stones over Achan, which remains to this day. That is why the place has been called the Valley of Trouble ever since. So the Lord was no longer angry.
Judgement was enacted. The Justice of God
Valley of Trouble
The desires of pride always lead to trouble
The explicit instruction of God regarding the devotion of the entire city of Jericho are disobeyed by only one man amongst the whole army of Israel. This act of disobedience is not seen by God as an individual act but instead HE charges the whole nation with the guilt of it.
In the corporate sharing of the cost of one man’s disobedience, thirty six men die without need: husbands, fathers, brothers, friends…because of a robe, a gold bar and 20 pieces of silver! When we live in God given community we share a communal responsibility to deal with the sin of our community.
The whole nation participates in the exposure, denouncement and punishment of the sin. The cost is great, and everyone has to deal with the up-close reality of God’s judgement. In the end there is grace extended by Yahweh to the people, but it is costly grace! God’s people are to live based on these principals.
What would have happened if Achen had admitted his sin prior to the failed attack on Ai?
What if Ananias and Sapphira would have admitted their sin when Peter asked them?
Why does God make the whole nation pay for the sin of one man?
How might you live differently if you were to acknowledge the effects of your sin on others you share life with?
How well do you repent? (based on the scriptural definition: confession & change) What does that look like?
Why do the Israelite lose their courage a few days after watching God act so miraculously on their behalf, in the destruction of Jericho?
What are some regular practices we can embrace as a community in order to promote transparency regarding sin here at Midtown?
VISION & PRACTICE:
In the Body of Christ we acknowledge our interdependence and communal responsibility to deal with sin as a group, culture that reflects scriptural principals. We intentionally work to establish relationships among The Body that are strong enough to carry the weight of transparency and confession of sin, entrusting our forgiveness and peace to our Lord Jesus Christ.
https://midtownchurchatl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/logo-full-Black-340x100-v2.png00Todd Briggshttps://midtownchurchatl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/logo-full-Black-340x100-v2.pngTodd Briggs2021-09-19 10:30:302021-09-20 12:09:14Joshua Pt. 8:The Ripple Effect of Disobedience (In the body of Christ our sin is not ours alone)
When I say devotion what comes to mind? Devotion begins with a conviction to be devoted to something or someone. Devotion is about sacrifice… when I am devoted to someone or something I am willing to sacrifice for that person or team or church. Devotion is action, my devoted thought is not proof of my devotion, my actions are.
How about being devoted to God? What is your level of devotion?
How about the terms of your devotion: do you decide what sacrifices or actions display the devotion or does the person or entity you are being devoted to set the terms of what will be considered acceptable devotion?
Our text is not the whole story of what devotion to God is all about, but it gives us some good principals to base our relationship with God on.
Quick recap of the book of Joshua so far…
God continues to create a nation that He will bring salvation for all people out of. They will now possess the land God has promised as the nation of Israel.
God rejects the rebellious generation that he brought out of Egypt and HE elevates and equips Joshua as leader of the generation who will enter the land.
God, through Joshua, leads HIS people through a series of spiritual preparations, connecting them to each other as a ‘Body’ and to HIM as their Lord.
God leads HIS people through the waters of the Jordan into the land HE has promised HIS people.Now it is the beginning of the physical conquest of the promised land.
Picking up from last week…
6 So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” 7 And he ordered the army, “Advance! March around the city, with an armed guard going ahead of the ark of the Lord.”
8 When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the Lord went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the Lord’s covenant followed them. 9 The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding.
The people respond with the same urgency Joshua did
Notice the use of the number ‘seven’ in this passage
The whole army was involved, in front and behind 400,000 – 500,000 men
Constant blowing of the shofars
10 But Joshua had commanded the army, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” 11 So he had the ark of the Lord carried around the city, circling it once. Then the army returned to camp and spent the night there.
God’s leader gives God’s people specific guidance to help them be obedient
Solemn and focused, they did just as they were told
Best guess it took about an hour once they were set up in formation
One time around with no one saying a word, just the horns blowing
12 Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the Lord and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets kept sounding. 14 So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.
The mention of the number of priests and shofars
Next day, same deal…six days all together
At times being God’s people is about doing the same stuff over & over again
15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! 17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent.”
The same manner as to the Arc, the priests and the army
The difference is in how many times they did the circuit around the city
The instructions are out of sequence in the text (instruction prior to the ‘shout’)
The ‘devotion of everything in the city, except for Rahab and her family
Because she hid the spies… but why did she hide the spies? Belief in Yahweh!
God is sovereignly protecting Rahab for HIS purposes
18 “But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.”
The ‘devoted things’…this includes living things and non-living things
There was to be no keeping of anything for yourself, it is all God’s
The breaking of obedience, of not ‘fully devoting’, is specifically warned against
The precious metals had utility in the rest of possessing the promised land
20 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. 21 They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.
Trumpets sound, half a million warriors shout & massive walls crumble like dirt
They charged ‘straight in’ means there were not fissures, there was rubble
Jericho’s army was at best 2000 men vs 40,000 coming through the rubble
I would imagine there was a lot of surrendering
22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her.” 23 So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.
They were positioned and ready to go, they got in and out before it got nasty
Why did the same two guys go, why not a army unit?
God uses relational bonds to impart salvation
Everyone who put their faith in Rahab’s faith were saved
24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.
Burned the whole city and everything (description of totality)
They put the articles…into the treasury (Text does not say ‘all’ of the articles)
It says ‘Joshua’ spared Rahab…
26 At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: “Cursed before the Lord is the one who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho: “At the cost of his firstborn son he will lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest he will set up its gates.”
The destruction of that Jericho was God’s will
In that world there was nothing more valuable than a son
Demonstrating a high cost to oppose God.
City was never successfully rebuilt on that site, 1st it was a mile south… now 1 mile to east
27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.
Joshua is given the spotlight by God
The Lord ‘being with’ Joshua is how God’s people were meant to be led
The Lord was with Joshua in part because the people were united behind him
We all play a role in the spiritual success of the leadership of God’s people
Joshua commanded the people to do exactly as God told him: no questions asked. The people obeyed Joshua like Joshua obeyed Yahweh. God focused leadership and follow-ship result in unified obedience through the mundane and the dangerous.
As part of possessing ‘The Promised Land’ God asks HIS people to devote things to HIM, because HE knows best. God has HIS people devote things based on HIS wisdom. Yahweh desires singular devotion of HIS people: the 1st of the 10 Commandments!
God’s fully devoted people are used as instruments of HIS sovereign judgement & mercy. The complete destruction of all life in Jericho & the salvation of Rahab and her family.
Rebuilding Jericho is cursed: the cost to rebuild, one or two of your sons, the ultimate price. Willfully opposing God has brutal consequences.
Joshua’s fame results from The Lord being ‘with him’. Joshua is a great example of how God’s people were meant to be led.
Big Principals For God’s People From The Book of Joshua:
Our obedience can fuel the miraculous
We are to possess what God promises
Trust in God’s sovereignty brings strength & courage
True faith results in physical, and mental action
Disobedience leads to disaster for all of God’s people
Leadership matters to all of us
God always keeps His Promises
When given direction by God are you content with the information you have or do you ask God for details?
How good are you at serving God when it is not glamorous or instantly impactful? When have you routinely followed God without needing results or attention?
In your life, who choses what you devote to God, you or HIM? How might you have HIM decide more often?
What does being a committed, active, physically present, emotionally invested member of a biblical church body do for your growth in devotion to Christ?
VISION & PRACTICE
Intentionally focusing on our unified devotion to Christ as HIS body, (Discipleship) actively sacrificing our lives based on Scripture, (‘The One Anothers’) puts us in a place to be used by God to do miraculous things.
I have been encouraged by people telling me about how they are enjoying studying the book of Joshua. They are connecting with a part of the O.T. that often gets overlooked. They are connecting with the big story of God’s people. One of the great things that happens when we study the O.T. is we gain perspective on how God’s people find meaning and purpose in this life. Meaning and Purpose for God’s People comes from connection to God. THE GOSPEL IS ALL ABOUT CONNECTION.
We need to connect to God, and HE shows us how in HIS Word, in HIS story is were we find the meaning and pupose of OUR story.
God’s people, after spending 40 years in the wilderness have now entered the Promised Land…and before they begin the conquest God strengthens their connection to him to prepare for what is to come. Led by Joshua (a human ‘Type’ of Christ) the people of God do five things that connect them to purpose and meaning that flow from God.
Connection with the real state of opposition to God’s people.
Connection with the Identity God has given HIS people.
Connection with the freedom God has given HIS people.
Connection with God’s provision yesterday, today and in the future.
Connection with ‘The Person’ of God; aka Jesus Christ
These are foundational aspects of how God’s people live connected to HIM. These principles enable Christ’s people to live a life of discipleship. Today’s text shows us that God desires HIS people to connect to HIS purposes and that is were HIS people find meaning in this world.
The process of inhabiting the promised land begins with the building and strengthening of a connection with HIS people.
Joshua 5 – 6:7
5:1 Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.
The stories at first would be dismissed, but now there is too much confirmation
They felt safe with the Jordan river between them and the Israelites
Two factors: Physical barrier gone & that barrier was supernaturally overcome
If the Israelites crossed the normal way, the Kings would have attacked
After seeing what God did they no longer had the will to fight (lost fighting spirit)
They are a defeated enemy!
Our connection to God is enhanced by knowing the situation of the enemy
Our enemy is already defeated; death has been defeated for those ‘In Christ’
2 At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.” 3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth.
They had metal tool, why use flint blades?
Easy to make multiple very sharp, smooth blades, makes for faster healing
Stone less likely to transmit bacteria as metal… better for this situation
Gibeath Haaraloth means: ‘The Hill of Foreskins’
Circumcision was a mark to identify God’s chosen people
Symbolic and Physical proof of their identity as a ‘Son of Abraham’
4 Now this is why he did so: All those who came out of Egypt—all the men of military age—died in the wilderness on the way after leaving Egypt. 5 All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness during the journey from Egypt had not.
Why didn’t they follow the law and circumcise all male children on the 8th day?
While in the wilderness they were ‘disconnected’ from their identity as God’s people
6 The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the Lord. For the Lord had sworn to them that they would not see the land he had solemnly promised their ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.
The previous generation had been circumcised but broke the covenant
Because their fathers had broken the covenant the children did not get the sign
Rejection of that generation was shared by their children until they were gone
They were going to reconnect with their identity as God’s People
7 So He raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way. 8 And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed. 9 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the place has been called Gilgal to this day.
This generation replaces their fathers and now receive the covenant sign
To keep from bleeding it was necessary to be still for 3 days
Reproach is disgrace, the opposite of unmerited favor (Grace)
The previous generation was tainted by being enslaved in Egypt
Physical circumcision was a foreshadowing of our spiritual circumcision
Gilgal sounds like the Hebrew word for roll
He rolled away the reproach, He rolled away the stone
‘Therefore there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ!’
God reconnected them through the recognition of their true identity
In Christ, you were circumcised, not by any physical act, but by being set free from the sins of the flesh by virtue of Christ’s circumcision. You, so to speak, shared in that, just as in baptism you shared in his death, and in him are sharing the miracle of rising again to new life—and all this because you have faith in the tremendous power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. You, who were spiritually dead because of your sins and your uncircumcision, God has now made to share in the very life of Christ! He has forgiven you all your sins. ~ Colossians 2:11-13 (PHILLIPS)
10 On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. 11 The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. 12 The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan.
Finished crossing the Jordan the 10th day, circumcision happens on 11th day
After 3 days they celebrate the passover on Nissan the 14th
Then it is the festival of unleavened bread for 7 days Nissan the 15th – 21st
Except the 1st one, previous festivals featured only mana (God made it kosher)
The provision of God is now coming from ‘The Land’, so mana was not needed
They connected to the reality of God’s provision
Connecting with how God provides strengthens the faith of God’s people
13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”
The assumption is that the festival is now over, Joshua goes for a scouting trip
Looking at the most fortified city in all the land he must have been dismayed
The man is in a battle ready stance
He asks if he is for Israel or it’s foes…he thinks this is a battle of humans
The ‘Man’ tells him it’s not about you or them, it is HIS battle, not theirs
He proclaims: I am the Prince of the Lord’s Host…Who would that be?
I have come now as Army Commander, will HE come later as something else?
Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my lord have for his servant?” 15 The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
Is this an angel? If so he would tell Joshua not to worship him…
Joshua is told to remove his shoes, it’s holy ground…as in ‘burning bush’
At this point Joshua realizes he is face to face with ‘The God Man’
This is the incarnadined Christ / Yahweh in the form of a man; a ‘Christophany’
Joshua on behalf of the nation, is personally connecting with the Person of Christ / Yahweh
6:1 Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. 2 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.”
The city was impregnable to the Israelites, they had no siege works
Only God himself would say: ‘I have delivered’ (He is outside of linear time)
He has already done it all, knows exactly how it will go down (He predestined it)
The all powerful Creator of The Universe condescends to connect with Joshua
3 “March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”
The plan will give Joshua all the confidence he needs, God does all the work
Yahweh is going to surround the city with His presence
Then He is going to defy natural reality, making the city wall collapse
It is going to be a situation that invites ridicule…(veggie tales ‘French Peas’)
This would sound crazy, unless God said it to you!
Unless you had seen God part the red sea, seen God part the Jordan…
Unless you have a personal connection to HIM by HIS spirit
Joshua’s connection was unique at the time
Post resurrection and Spirit indwelling, we all can have a personal connection
6 So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” 7 And he ordered the army, “Advance! March around the city, with an armed guard going ahead of the ark of the Lord.”
Joshua doesn’t hesitate, doesn’t run it by anyone, He enacts the plan NOW
When we are connected to God in every way He wants us to be we are ONE!
God’s people find meaning and purpose in their lives by being connected to God in the ways HE prescribes for us.
In terms of eternity, we have a defeated enemy. The only thing he can do is mess with our minds. We can connect with the reality of that and live without fear.
Our identity as God’s chosen is a key element of being a Christian, we can connect to that identity and let it shape our lives. The nation of Israel’s physical circumcision is a parallel to our spiritual circumcision.
It is vital for God’s people to be connected to their heritage of God’s grace. Scripture is God gift to us that we would live in light of HIS Story.
The celebration of and thanksgiving for the provision God has provided and will provide, is a humbling connection that enables grace to flow through us.
The cultivation and maintenance of our personal connection with Christ will power us through the mundane and the miraculous.
CONNECTION FOR GOD’S PEOPLE
The Connection of knowing the condition of our enemy
The Connection of renewing our identity
The Connection of remembering our past
The Connection of acknowledging God’s provision
The Connection of personal a relationship with God
How can you grow in the level of connectivity you have concerning your eternal fate?
What is the source of your identity as one of God’s people and how well are you connected to that source?
What is your plan to become more connected with the history & heritage of God’s people?
How does your connection to how God provides for you impact the financial and career decisions you make?
How can you improve your day to day personal connection to Christ?
VISION & PRACTICE
As God’s chosen people let us recognize Scripture’s guidance as to how we are to intentionally connect with Christ. And may our lifestyle choices reflect the cultivation of that connectivity.