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.