(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
There isn’t much to tell about the clay feet of Joshua! According to the Bible record, he conducted himself pretty well! And he is listed in the Hall of Heroes in Hebrews 11:30: “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.” This refers to the most unusual military victory in the history of warfare!
Moses had died on the eastern side of the Jordan River. He wasn’t allowed to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land because he and Aaron had disobeyed the LORD at the Wilderness of Zin, when to get water for the congregation, he struck the Meribah rock twice instead of just speaking to it, as God had said! (see Numbers 20:7-12).
But God had raised up another capable leader, “…Joshua, the son of Nun…” (Deuteronomy 31:23). It was Joshua who led Israel into the Promised Land! It was Joshua who commanded the Israelite army that defeated the seven pagan nations dwelling in Canaan! Hebrews 11:30 refers to the first battle after the Israelites miraculously crossed the Jordan River (see Joshua 3:14-17). This is when God gave Israel victory over Jericho! Here is a brief account of what happened, from Joshua 6:2 through 5:
...the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand....You shall march around the city, all your men of war; you shall go around the city once. This you shall do for six days. And the seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city se- ven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. Then it will come to pass, when they make a long blast with the rams’ horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a mighty shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat.
That’s not the way a war is fought, or how conquests happen! You don’t send out seven priest blowing seven trumpets, to go out first ahead of the army of fighting men! Well, you don’t……..unless they are terrible at their jobs and you want to get rid of them!!! Ok, unless God tells you to do just that!!!
The exact mechanics of how it happened at Jericho, we really don’t know!
- Was there some vibration set up by the blowing of the rams’ horns and the shout of six hundred thousand plus soldiers (see Numbers 26:51), that caused the walls to crumble?
- Did God so direct the builders of the walls, however long before, to use a certain kind of mortar, or lay the stones in a certain way, that centuries later the walls would “come a’tumbin’ down”?
- Were unseen angels there to instantly dismantle the walls?
However, we do know one factor in the taking of Jericho by Israel – faith! From what we learn from Joshua’s tactical methods following the destruction of Jericho, he was a warrior who had good military acumen and used good military tactics! And he was led by God!
- The next city after Jericho Joshua attacked was Ai (about eleven miles northwest of Jericho). At the first try they did not succeed. “…Achan, the son of Carmi…” (Joshua 7:1) had taken loot from Jericho that was to be totally dedicated to the LORD. Because of his disobedience, the three-thousand-man Hebrew army suffered defeat at the hands of the army of Ai, and 36 Israelite soldiers were killed! (see Joshua 7:1-5). But God showed who was at fault, and Achan and his family were put to death! (see Joshua 7:10-26). Sin just does not pay!
Under the LORD’s direction, Joshua then set an ambush against Ai, with the main army out in plain sight. When the men of Ai engaged the Israelite army, Joshua feigned panic and retreated, drawing the enemy army away from the city. Ai was left open and defenseless and then the ambush appeared and set the city on fire! The army of Ai was promptly defeated! (see Joshua 8:1-29).
The next campaign was against the armies of five Amorite kings: “…the kings of… Jerusalem…Hebron…Jarmuth…Lachish, and…Eglon….” (Joshua 10:3).
And the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hands; not a man of them shall stand before you.” Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal. So the LORD routed them before Israel, and killed them with a great slaughter.... (Joshua 10:8 through 10).
…and with the help of a God-sent miracle and hailstones! (see Joshua 10:11-14).
- Then the cities of Makkedah, Libna, Lachash, Gezer, Eglon, Hebron, and Debir fell next, and their people were wiped out!
- Joshua then turned his attention to northern Canaan, where he engaged a federation of kings joined by the “…the Canaanite…Amorite…Hittite…Perizzite…Jebusite…and… Hivite [armies]…” (Joshua 11:3).
So they went out, they and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand that is on the seashore in multitude, with very many horses and chariots....But the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid...of them, for tomorrow about this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel....And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, who defeated them....They attacked them until they left none of them remaining. (Joshua 11:4, 6).
In Joshua 11:7 through 24, there is a list of thirty-one Canaanite kings the Israelites defeated!
But that first assault against Jericho was unique! God gave Joshua instructions that just didn’t make sense…to the human mind! But by faith he followed the LORD’s instructions, and victory resulted!
Hebrews 11:1 and 6 tell us:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen....But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is [exists], and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
The instructions that God gives us to live our lives and accomplish His work cannot be comprehended by human reasoning based on our five natural senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Faith makes the things of God we can’t see real and solid! So, “…the just shall live by faith…,” we are told four times in the Bible – Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38. God uses words sparingly! If it is written four times in Scripture, it must be important! There is no other way but by faith to please our Heavenly Father!
That’s why Joshua was successful! By faith he believed the LORD! It might have sounded foolish to General Douglas McArthur of World War II fame, to march around a city blowing rams’ horns and shouting. But “…the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (I Corinthians 1:25).
That’s why Joshua is listed Hebrews 11 in the Hall of Heroes, those who lived by faith!
What is God leading you to do by faith?