These chapters in Joshua are teaching God’s people, if we will hear them, how to achieve the victory God has promised us! Now Joshua and all Israel were walking in all the LORD’s commandments. They followed the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night faithfully, to the edge of the Promised Land. So what do they encounter? OBSTACLES!
The first obstacle is the Jordan River, swollen with spring run off. How are 600,000 men, besides women, children, and much livestock, going to overcome that obstacle? Joshua did not know, until the LORD told him how to overcome that obstacle.
Victory! Followed immediately by another obstacle: the walls of Jericho!
“Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in.” Jos 6:1
Jericho was a strongly fortified city of the Canaanites. Archaeology has confirmed there was an inner wall, surrounded by an earthen embankment, and an outer wall made of mud bricks, which acted as a retaining wall for the earthen embankment. Archaeology has also confirmed there were large stores of grain in the city from the recent barley harvest. The city was prepared to endure a long siege behind its strongly fortified walls.
How was Joshua going to overcome this obstacle? He did not know, until the Commander of the LORD’s army told him the battle plan. At the shout of Israel on the 7th day, the outer retaining wall fell down outward, forming a ramp, which allowed the Israelites easy access up and over the earthen embankment and inner wall.
We can be completely following God’s will for our lives in every particular, and still run into obstacles. In fact, God might be leading us to those obstacles on purpose! When He miraculously demolishes that obstacle, His name receives glory, and our faith is strengthened! And just perhaps, it is a sign to the pagans around us that God is with us, so that their heart melts within them, and the things in which they trusted, are revealed as a vain vapor.
It is a good thing to meet obstacles with praise and thanksgiving to our good and generous Father, because we are about to see His mighty hand and awesome power!
So just because something is an obstacle to us, it is not an obstacle to God. He has a perfect plan and strategy for overcoming that thing, if we will, rather than forcing a solution from our own ideas or own strength, instead seek Him, hear Him, and do as He commands (no matter how far- fetched it might seem to human understanding).
The time of this crossing and conquest was the first month (spring). After the crossing, it was the 14th day of the 1st month, when Israel celebrated Passover. That evening, Joshua saw the Man who was the Commander of the LORD’s army, who gave him the battle plan. The next day, the 1st day of Unleavened Bread (a high Sabbath), was the 1st day of Israel encircling the city, and the 7th day of Unleavened Bread (a high Sabbath) was the 7th day of encircling the city, when the walls fell down flat. Incidentally on the 7th day of Unleavened Bread, Jericho was burned as a whole burnt offering to the LORD, and the leaven (of idolatry and every wicked thing) was cleansed from this first city of His land.
It is not a coincidence that Israel’s victory coincided with the seventh day, the Sabbath, and the Feast days!
Finding Messiah: The Commander of the Lord’s army, who appeared to Joshua with a drawn sword, was a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus. He could not have been an angel, because He received Joshua’s worship without telling him “Don’t do that! Worship God only!” as the angels in so many other places in the Bible do. Also, He is described as a Man, but when He spoke to Joshua after Joshua removed his shoes (Moses had to do the same thing at the burning bush), the Scripture says, “And the LORD said to Joshua …” — YHVH said to Joshua. This is one of the places where the Hebrew Scriptures reveal that Yeshua is both Man and God in one person.
For further reading:
Jericho: Does the Evidence Disprove or Prove the Bible?