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A Different Kind of Battle – But The Same Strategy

Scripture: Joshua 6:2-5; 7:1, 4-5; 8:1-8

A. Miraculous Intervention:

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”

B. Obedience Is Important:

But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things[ Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri,[c] the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.

So about three thousand went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, 5 who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land. 2 You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.”

C. Human Ingenuity:

So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night 4 with these orders: “Listen carefully. You are to set an ambush behind the city. Don’t go very far from it. All of you be on the alert. 5 I and all those with me will advance on the city, and when the men come out against us, as they did before, we will flee from them. 6 They will pursue us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will say, ‘They are running away from us as they did before.’ So when we flee from them, 7 you are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The Lord your God will give it into your hand. 8 When you have taken the city, set it on fire. Do what the Lord has commanded. See to it; you have my orders.”

Reflection

The book of Joshua describes only two battles in detail, the first two: miraculous Jericho and human-strategy Ai. Sandwiched between is the account of disobedient Achan, whose sin had to be expunged before God could further bless the conquest. (These first three stories serve as a model not only for the rest of the book of Joshua but also for the rest of the history of God’s people in the Land.)

OK, so the conquest of Canaan is NOT the same as dealing with a pandemic. But might the strategies be similar?

·First of all, trust in the miraculous power of our loving God. (The Israelites did nothing but march around Jericho to achieve victory.)

·Next, beware of selfish disobedience. (Achan saw something that he wanted so he took it.)

·Finally, in the context of trusting in God and staying obedient to Him, use our God-given human intellect and ingenuity to defeat our enemy. (Joshua employs a clever military strategy that leads to victory.)

So, the pattern is not trust OR obedience (How does one love one’s neighbor in a pandemic?) OR scientific application, it is trust AND loving your neighbor AND the application of science.

 

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