God Gives Victory! – Joshua 5:13-6:27

(I taught 5 lessons at a kids camp recently and wanted to get them online for anyone to use. I’ll try to get them formatted better soon. ~ Anthony)

We have seen in our study that God wants us to not only obey His Word – the Bible – but to read and study it. We’ve learned that God shows us compassion and care, and God provides for us. In the last study, we saw that God loves to remind us of His care, His compassion, His provision, and what He did for us in His Son Jesus.

Now let’s look at the victory the Israelites had and the victory we have today!

13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”
14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”
15 Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.
~ Joshua 5:13-15

Joshua meets the captain of the Lord’s army! What an amazing sight that must have been. Again, we see a incredible parallel between Joshua and Moses.

1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
2 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.
3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
4 So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”
5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”
~ Exodus 3:1-5

Again, God reminds Israel and Joshua that He has appointed Joshua just like He appointed Moses for the task of leading the nation of Israel. He shows it to them by using some of the same words and actions that He used with Moses. Immediately, Joshua would have recognized this moment as similar to the way that God called Moses from the burning bush. By now the book of Exodus was probably written, so the story of the burning bush would have even been something that Joshua had read.

1 Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in.
2 And the LORD said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor.

God reminds Joshua of His promise to give them all of the Promised Land, and that includes Jericho. Remember what Rahab the harlot said?

9 and said to the men: “I know that the LORD has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.
10 “For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.
11 “And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.
~ Joshua 2:9-11

Now Joshua Goes to Battle!
3 “You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days.
4 “And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.
5 “It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”

Here we see God give Joshua a very specific and unusual instruction for battle. “Walk around the town each day once for six days, then the seventh day go around the city walls seven times and blow your trumpets and shout really loud.”

That seems pretty wild doesn’t it? Walk around the city, blow your horns, and shout. To us, that’s not much of a battle plan. Can you imagine if our country’s army were given that instruction today from the commanders? It would seem to be a recipe for losing.

Yet in this moment of battle, if they see the walls fall down and victory handed to them, can there be any doubt who did the work? They didn’t make a normal battle assault of climbing over the walls with weapons in hand. It certainly wasn’t the Israelites great walking ability. They didn’t march so hard or so much that they created an earthquake. It couldn’t possibly be their super-charged loud horns that did it. They didn’t blow the walls down with the wind from their trumpets. I’m sure it wasn’t their shouting. No matter how loud they tried to shout, it wouldn’t cause the huge stone walls to come crashing down into a pile of rubble.

Throughout the Bible, God gives us some pretty weird instructions.

“Humble yourself.”
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
~ Matthew 18:4

“Serve one another.”
13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
~ Galatians 5:13

“Pray with other people.”
20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
~ Matthew 18:20

But it’s in these instructions that God has provided us a victory if we follow them. In humility, God says we’ll be great. In serving, God says we’ll show other people love. In praying together, God says He will be in the middle of them.

God doesn’t call us to be humble, to serve, and to pray just because He likes to be the boss. All through the Bible, God is showing us how to live our lives and to be victorious just like He did with Joshua.

Sometimes God will also speak to your heart and ask you to do something that seems weird. God called our family to list our house for sale when we had no idea what God was going to do once it sold. God may tell you in your heart to go mow the lawn for that little old lady across the street. Or he may speak to you quietly and ask you to pray for somebody even when they didn’t ask for it and you don’t know why. Again, God is somehow able to give us a ‘win’ because we did as we were told by the Holy Spirit.

5 That your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,
8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”[fn]
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.~ 1 Corinthians 2:5-10

God’s Holy Spirit reveals these incredible things to us that the world cannot understand. What are some examples you can think of that God might instruct you to do that the world might think is ‘not normal’? Discuss.

5 “It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”
6 Then Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD.”
7 And he said to the people, “Proceed, and march around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the LORD.”
8 So it was, when Joshua had spoken to the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the LORD advanced and blew the trumpets, and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them.
9 The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets.
10 Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout.”

Notice the Bible doesn’t tell us that people argued. As a matter of fact, it looks like they simply obeyed the Lord’s instructions. It certainly isn’t that way with me all the time! I have argued with God on many occasions about what He was asking me to do. The victory is much better and easier and can be sweeter when we don’t argue, but sometimes God works in our hearts and lives through the conflict. He teaches us in that moment. Look at Jonah in the belly of the big fish. He didn’t like God’s instructions so he slipped out of town on the next ship he could. Then God allowed Jonah to be thrown overboard where he was swallowed up by the whale. From deep inside that whale, God changed Jonah’s heart:

1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly.
2 And he said: “I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, And He answered me. “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice.
3 For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me.
4 Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’
5 The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head.
6 I went down to the moorings of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God.
7 “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple.
8 “Those who regard worthless idols Forsake their own Mercy.
9 But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.”
10 So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
~ Jonah 2:1-10

But the Israelites didn’t argue, they had hearts that were humble enough to hear from God and to do as they were asked. What other examples do we find in the Bible where the person did as asked and didn’t argue?

Abraham with Isaac – he risked his sons life
David with Goliath – he risked his life
Daniel in the lions den – he risked his life
Jesus – God gave up His son for us, and Jesus gave up His earthly life for us

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
~ Romans 8:28

If we obey God or if we do not obey God, either way God is using things in our life for our own good. If we disobey, like Jonah did, we may end up in the belly of a whale so God can work that stuff out in us. If we obey God, He will use that also for our own good and to work in us like He did with Joshua.

5 “It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”
6 Then Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD.”
7 And he said to the people, “Proceed, and march around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the LORD.”
8 So it was, when Joshua had spoken to the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the LORD advanced and blew the trumpets, and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them.
9 The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets.
10 Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout.”

If Joshua had disobeyed God, no doubt they probably would not have had the victory. It would have been difficult to lose and God would have had to do some more work in Joshua’s heart and in his life so they he would obey the next time.

But here, we see that God rewarded Joshua for his obedience. He handed them an easy victory. Sometimes when we make wrong choices, God allows us to go through difficult things like Jonah did in the whale. Other times when we make good choices and obey God, He gives us incredible victory! This makes me think of my cousin Jackie and her work at the Union Gospel Mission. Many of the people she is helping have made some poor choices in life. But as she counsels them and shares with them from God’s Word and they begin to make good choices to obey God, He gives them victory in their life.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:57-58

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