Continuing a plan to get through the entire Bible in a year, follow as I journal through the reading. I have chosen a straightforward approach that begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. This will not be an in-depth study or a comprehensive commentary. There are plenty of sources for such material. This is stage one Bible reading, taking the text at face value and sharing impressions.
Today’s reading comes from the book of Joshua, chapters 5 through 8, chronicling Israel’s victories at Jericho and Ai. Some impressions from the text:
- It was fitting that one of Israel’s first acts in the Promised Land was an observance of Passover. This moment marked the end of God’ provision of manna. The Israelites probably welcomed the change. After all, they had eaten little more than manna for forty years. However, from our perspective, the end of manna marks the end of an era of wonder. There has never since been a time when God so visibly dwelt among a people as when he dwelt with the Israelites in the wilderness.
- The Commander of the Lord’s Army was none other than the Lord himself. How do we know? When Joshua falls to his face and worships the Commander, he receives no rebuke. Everywhere in scripture where an angel is worshiped, that angel rebukes the worshiper and redirects toward God. This Commander does not, because He is God.
- The destruction of Jericho was theatrical indeed, a siege lasting six days consisting of nothing but marching around the city and blowing trumpets. Then, on the seventh day, the walls of Jericho fall flat without a bit of effort on the part of a single Israelite. This was God showing off, and rightfully so.
- It’s worth noting that others paid for Achan’s sin though they were not culpable. Thirty-six Israelite warriors died in their ill-fated attack on Ai, because Achan had broken faith and kept some of the spoils from Jericho for himself rather than turn them over to the treasury. There’s an important lesson in this. We aren’t the only one’s who pay for our sin. It affects others, sometimes gravely.
- There’s some evidence indicating that Israel may have acted presumptuously when first attacking Ai. When they attack the second time, after Achan’s demise, it is God who sends them. He sends them in force, with all the fighting men of Israel. By contrast, when they attacked the first time, it appears to have been of their own accord. Further, they sent a relatively small force, confident of victory after their success at Jericho. It appears they may have forgotten why they succeeded at Jericho and presumed that God would remain with them at Ai. This may have been on Joshua to some extent, assuming he had a role in sending the first attack and failed to consult God ahead of time.
Return soon as we continue our year-long journey through the text of the Bible.
Catch up on the previous entries:
Israel crosses the river Jordan. – Joshua 1 through 4