Pastor Joseph Bianco
We read about the Fall of Jericho in Children’s Bibles. It’s always depicted as somewhat comical, the Israelites marching around the city, the trumpets blast and all of the sudden the city falls down like children falling down when playing ring around the rosy. It’s anything but comical. Joshua 6:21, says that, “They devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword.” Take a moment to let that sink in. It’s not funny, or light, or even just a story. It’s God’s message to the reader of the serious consequences of sin. We see this theme of the consequences of sin played out towards Israel in chapter 7 when certain men covet some of the items that were supposed to be devoted to destruction. We see the consequences of sin in chapter 8:25 at the fall of Ai and again, the destruction of “men and women”… “12,000, all the people of Ai.” Anyone reading this text has one question, “How can God allow these atrocities to happen?” Moses gives us God’s answer in Deuteronomy 9:5, “Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the Lord swore to your father, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” God has two purposes, to deal with sin and to keep his covenant. It is not surprising then, that at the end of chapter 8 we see a covenant renewal. Let’s be clear, these commands to destroy these cities were commands from God for a particular people in a particular time. They are not the same for God’s people today. But, what is the same for God’s people today is this: Were it not by God’s grace, we too would be destroyed. Were it not for God’s covenant keeping, we could not be forgiven. Were it not for Jesus who was crushed in our place, we would lie beneath the weight of those stones.
Reflect: One of the hardest parts of these narratives is reconciling how Israel was used by God to bring judgment on the cities of Canaan because of their sin. Is this a difficult truth to accept, and if so, in what ways are you putting God in the judgment seat? In what ways do you minimize sin in your life? Take a moment to pray over this and thank the Lord that through Jesus we do not experience the crushing weight of sin.
Connect: Romans 3:23-26 succinctly explains what Jesus did for us:
Romans 3:23-26 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
This blog is part of the ministry of City Reformed Presbyterian Church. Unless otherwise noted, the entries are written by Matt Koerber. This is part of a project that our church is doing as we read through the narrative sections of Scripture between early January and Easter 2020. New entries will be scheduled to drop automatically at 5:00 am on the scheduled day.