Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Behold, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its men of war."
The fortified city of Jericho
Jericho was the first city in the good land that the people were to conquer. It is located in the Jordan Valley 250 meters below sea level and was heavily fortified at that time. Even today it is still the geographically lowest city on earth. Although the people had already arrived in the good land, enemy fortified cities were still waiting for them to be destroyed. This sounds contradictory at first and also often goes against our nature, that after the passage of the Red Sea, the desert and the Jordan, there are still battles going on. And to take Jericho should not even be the last battle in the good land, although a very special one.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Doesn't God love all people?
When Jericho was taken, almost all the inhabitants of the city died, which on the surface at first appears to be a contradiction to the general love of God. Do we not have a God of love who loves all people? Why then should this city be burned (cf. Joshua 6:24)? The other nations in the good land here represent actions and deeds with which God does not agree. Therefore, the Israelites should not share the Promised Land with them. These peoples are written about earlier:
You shall not do so to the LORD your God, for they have done to their gods all that is an abomination to the LORD and that he hates, for they have also burned their sons and daughters with fire to their gods."
The peoples in the good land were not peace-loving, but corrupted by idols, until they even burned their own children for them. From today's point of view, this is an almost unimaginable cruelty.
But is God unjust to destroy an entire city? There is a family that was rescued from Jericho that shows that the chance of salvation was real. This family was the house of Rahab the harlot, because she had hidden the scouts with her:
"By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been compassed about for 7 days; by faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with the disobedient, because she had received the spies with peace."
Rahabs decision and the consequences
Here it is worth to go into the role of Rahab. Already in chapter 2, when the scouts came to Jericho for the first time to scout out the city, she took them in very early directly with her. Already here the heart attitude of Rahab is obvious. When the king of Jericho learned of this, he demanded that Rahab hand over these spies. When she refuses and even lies to her own people, she commits treason and puts herself in great danger:
"They went and entered the house of a harlot named Rahab and stayed there. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there are come in this night men of the children of Israel to search out the land. So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, "Hand over the men who have come to your house, for they have come to explore all the land. But the woman took the two men, and hid them. And she said, Yea, men came in unto me, but I knew not whence they were. And when they were about to shut the gate of the city, as it was dark, the men went out, and I know not whither they went. Chase after them with haste, and you will seize them."
Rahab decides at this moment against her own people and against the protection of this fortified city. She decides to lie to her own people without any certainty of how it would turn out for her. Yet in verse 9 she says "I know that the LORD has given you the land; for a terror of you has fallen upon us, and all the inhabitants of the land have become cowardly before you." At this moment she puts her trust in the God of Israel, even though she herself was not one of His people. She is even aware that from here on she cannot change her mind and demands from the scouts a guarantee that she will be left alive at the battle of Jericho (cf. Joshua 2:12-13). This guarantee is thereupon assured to her and later also kept.
About Rahab's salvation, her actions were clearly more decisive than her past. Rahab certainly did not have a consistently exemplary behavior, but at the decisive moment she made the right decision. As a result, she was rescued from a very corrupt area when it fell. Later, she was even blessed to the extent that she was allowed to dwell with her father's entire household "in the midst of Israel" (cf. Joshua 6:25) and even became part of Jesus' family tree (cf. Matt. 1:5).
This world is in the hand of the enemy
Just as the people of God encountered problems and struggles in their predestined place, we still experience difficulties in our lives as Christians today. 1 John 5:19 states:
„"We know that we are of God and the whole world lies in evil."
This struggle took place then and is still not over today. But just as the people of Israel were able to stand together with God in the various situations, so can we today.
The unusual battle strategy
The battle for Jericho was a very unusual battle because no weapons were used by God's people. The exact tactics are described to Joshua in chapter 6:
"Let all the men of war go once around the city, and do so for six days. And let seven priests carry seven trumpets before the ark, and on the seventh day go round the city seven times, and let the priests blow the trumpets. And when they blow the horn, and ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall give a great shout of war. Then the wall of the city shall fall down, and the people shall go up, every man where he is."
First, the city was to be silently circled and then taken with loud trumpet sounds and war cries. Only with musical instruments and the Ark of the Covenant. This strategy was very much focused on the LORD. The people in this case had no choice but to trust God, since no weapons were taken. And this is what God had visibly blessed. The promise described there was also fulfilled a short time later and the city was taken by the people.
Going around Jericho, a picture on the prayer
Just as the people were able to take this mighty city of Jericho through their praise in the presence of the Lord, the Lord can also work mightily today through our prayer. Even in the church or in our lives today, the enemy is always trying to build fortifications. Just as the walls fell in Jericho, the Lord can also tear down these fortifications today. Not through our own struggle, but through our prayer and devotion.
„"For though we walk in the flesh, yet we do not fight according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty with God, to destroy fortifications."