JEHOVAH TSEBAOTH / Part Three
Following on from the previous post…
3) Thirdly they had to experience the Passover
“Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho.” Joshua 5 :10
Passover was instigated by God as He rescued the people of Israel from Egypt, and as a remembrance it was to be celebrated on the 14th of the first month of the year and, surprise, surprise, on the day that the men had recovered from the knife of circumcision at Gilgal, it was that very day.
Just as they were about to do battle against the stronghold of Jericho in the Promised Land, the day came for the celebration of Passover. God’s perfect timing!
There, within the environs of the massive citadel of Jericho, the first Passover in the Promised Land was experienced and the blood of a lamb was sprinkled on the people, to signify their releasing from the guilt of sin by God. God was giving them a fresh start, a new beginning, and reminding them to lay aside all bitterness and rebellion. The old had rolled away. That is the meaning of Gilgal………rolled away!
Moses had spoken to them such a short time before and said these his last words to them: (The Hebrew for rebellion here means bitter, disobedient.)
“For I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. If today while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the Lord, then how much more after my death?” Deuteronomy 31 v 27
They were a difficult people who were prone to backslide into those very ways they had seen in their parents. They needed to be encouraged to remain faithful and not fall back into their predecessors habits. They had come to the blood to be forgiven by the sprinkling so that they could be cleansed for what lay ahead. Little did they realise that they were heading into spiritual warfare big time, but God wanted them to be in the right place with Him, their Lord of Hosts, Jehovah Tsebaoth.
4) Fourthly they had to face the walled city of Jericho.
The city was, by human standards, impregnable. The walls were so thick that it is believed that chariot races could have been held on them. Remember that Rahab’s house was built in the wall, and it was a home big enough to house her and all her family, and of course if she lived there, then so did many others. It was these formidable walled cities that caused ten of the twelve Israelite spies to return totally disheartened and afraid to go into the land. All except Joshua and Caleb, and from his previous experience Joshua knew what they would find across the River Jordan. As a result of their fear God made that generation wander in the wilderness for forty years until all had died excepting Joshua and Caleb, the only two to believe what God had said.
How did Joshua feel about this city they had to conquer? Did he spend hours trying to work out strategies, how to deploy his forces, such as they were?
“Hmm! Let’s see! Dig under the foundations to weaken the walls? Try to scale the walls? Burn down the gates? No! Nothing like that would work. Ok God, it has to be up to You. There is nothing we can do.
“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, ‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?’ 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 worshipped and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?’ 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
Suddenly a man appeared before Joshua. The Commander of the army of the Lord! The Captain of the Lord’s hosts! Jesus Himself!
And we know it was Jesus because Joshua fell down and worshipped Him. No mere angel would allow himself to be worshipped, only God.
Joshua asked if He was for them or against them. Jesus answered in a strange way, ‘No!’, and proceeded to introduce Himself to Joshua, who fell at His feet in worship. Jesus told Joshua to take off his shoes as he was standing on holy ground. Jesus was saying that He was on no ones side and that Joshua’s question was misguided. There was no side for the Lord of Hosts to be on, because the war was between God and Satan, not between Joshua and Jericho.
Jesus said, ‘I Am Jehovah Tsebaoth, the Captain of the Lord’s heavenly army, this is not your battle but Mine.’ What a relief that must have been for Joshua, God was in control all the time.
You see the people who inhabited Jericho were pagan worshippers ruled by Satan and sadly God could not allow them to survive. Satan all through history would try to destroy the people from whom came the promised Messiah. His plan had to be thwarted. It was to be Jesus and His army who would fulfil that need, notJoshua and his people. All they had to do was to follow instructions which on the face of it seemed ridiculous.
“Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See! I have given Jericho I to your hand, it’s king and the mighty men of valour. 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. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of ram’s horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times. An done priests shall blow the trumpets. 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.'” Joshua 6:1-5
Israel prepared to follow the Lord of Host’s orders and while they did that Jesus was organising His forces to destroy the walls of Jericho and bring them crashing down at the appointed time.
I wonder what the people thought about this plan. They knew that what they had to do couldn’t possibly bring down those huge, strong walls, but whatever they thought, they carried out the commands in obedience to God’s will.
“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 ram’s horns before the ark of the Lord.’ 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.’ So it was, when Joshua had spoken to the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of ram’s horns before the Lord advanced and blew the trumpets, and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them. 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. 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.’
So he had the ark of the Lord circle the city, going around it once. Then they came into the camp and lodged in the camp. And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. Then seven priests bearing seven trumpets of ram’s horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually and blew with the trumpets. And the armed men went before them. But the rear guard came after the ark of the Lord, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets. And the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. So they did for six days. But it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early, about the dawning of the day, and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only they marched around the city seven times. And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: ‘Shout, for the Lord has given you the city! Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the Lord; they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.’
So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, of and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword. But Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the country, ‘Go into the harlot’s house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her.’ And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel. But they burned the city and all that was in it with fire. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. Then Joshua charged them at that time saying, ‘cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho, he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates. So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout all the country.” Joshua 6 v 6 – 27
Not once during that week did they see any evidence of anything happening. Then on the seventh day (seven being the number of completion), down came the walls. I cannot begin to imagine how awesome that must have been.
It wasn’t the Israelites’ shouting that brought down the walls, it was Jehovah’s heavenly host pushing them down with supernatural strength. Amazing!
Those people plodding around the walls every day behind the priests blowing their shofar so, having to remain quiet, must have wondered what on earth was going on. They couldn’t see the angelic hosts fighting on their behalf.
On the last day, as they shouted out in victory, they saw their obedience rewarded by Jehovah Tsebaoth, the Lord of Hosts.
In His Name,
Next time Jehovah Shalom, the Lord our Peace.