Day 63: Joshua 5-7; Obedience and Disobedience

It’s nice to be into an area of the Bible with familiar stories again.  The battles of Jericho and AI are probably the most familiar in the conquest of Canaan.  Our reading today is a narrative that directly comes from four(ish) particular passages that we have already read this year regarding the life of Israel and their living at God commanded them.

1.  Circumcision/Passover:  Joshua 5 happens right after the Israelites have crossed the Jordan River.  Scripture tells us that the hearts of the people in the land melted because God had dried up the river.  Like the Egyptians, the people of Canaan worshiped many gods, one of which probably had something to do with water.  God’s showing of power here would have been a sign that the God of Israel was stronger than this god.  When they have crossed the river, the chapter says that they all perform the act of circumcision.  Scripture explains that none of the children were circumcised as they were wandering in the wilderness, but if we remember back to Abraham in Genesis 17, we will know that the sign of the covenant relationship between Israel and God is circumcision.  As the people have now been, in a way, baptized, they once again recommit themselves to the Lord performing a sign that they belong to God.  Scripture also tells us that rather than going up immediately and taking Jericho, they spend time (7 days) encamped across the Jordan celebrating the Passover.  If you remember back to Exodus 12, God commands the people of Israel always to remember the Passover on the 14th day of the 1st month.  Joshua 4 says that Israel crossed over on the 10th day of the first month, after which they were immediately circumcised, healed for 3 days, and the celebrated the Passover.  That’s a whole lot of remembering and being re-membered, or once again claiming their identity as God’s people in one week.

2. Obedience (Jericho):  The Battle of Jericho, apart from being a miraculous victory that is attributable to none other that God, is a narrative about the blessings and victory that are found when the people of Israel obey God.  You see in this story that there is no disobedience, the people do as they are told, and everything goes right.  If we remember back to Leviticus 26 or Deuteronomy 28 we see that there are specific blessings that the Lord lays out for the people of Israel when they obey him.  The Battle of Jericho is a narrative that remembers all the good that comes from obedience as well as the faithfulness and power of God.

3. Disobedience (AI):  The Battle of AI is, in stark contrast to Jericho, a narrative about what happens when the people are disobedient.  Remembering once again Leviticus 26 or Deuteronomy 28 there are also lists of specific curses that will come with disobedience.  Where the people found victory in the Lord at Jericho, they met with the defeat of themselves at AI.  Sad as it may be, the sin of one person reflects on the whole community, which may not seem fair to us, but is none-the-less true in this situation.  The anger of the Lord “burns against the people of Israel” because of Achan. and until he is punished for his sin there will be no blessing for obedience.  Again, this is one more way that God is teach the people of Israel about the need for obedience, and showing them what it truly means to have their identity in Him as His people.  They are to be holy ans He is Holy, which cannot be accomplished or realized if even one has sinned and disobeyed the command of God.

5 Responses to “Day 63: Joshua 5-7; Obedience and Disobedience”

  1. GFWC says:

    Reblogged this on Grace Fellowship Worship Center.

  2. […] from God.  And this is exactly what see too isn’t it?  The Golden Calf was one example, the sin of Achan is one example, and now we’re into Judges, a book full of examples.  Just wait until we get […]

  3. […] Day 63: Joshua 5-7; Obedience and Disobedience ( […]

  4. […] of what it means when the people disobey God.  We saw it in the Judges Cycle and earlier with Joshua’s leadership in the conquest of Canaan.  In these times we have seen both the good and the bad, a lot of the […]

  5. […] faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.  By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the […]

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