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Conquering the Promised Land

The journey to the Promised Land, Canaan, continued even after the death of Moses. God made a covenant with Moses that he would liberate Israelites from captivity in Egypt and lead them through the wilderness, across river Jordan, and into the Promised Land. Following the death of Moses, God called Joshua and instructed him to accomplish this mission. This paper explores the role of Joshua in leading Israel’s conquest of Canaan. Specifically, the paper discusses the capturing of Jericho, a secure city in Canaan, how the Lord used Joshua in its defeat and some lessons from this conquest.

Historical Background of Defeat and Capture of Jericho

God called Joshua after the death of Moses and gave him leadership mandate, instructing him: “Lead the Israelites across River Jordan to the Promised Land” (Bryan 168). During this encounter, God assured Joshua that he would be with him as he had been with Moses. God implored Joshua to be courageous, promising him that no man would stand against him in this mission on condition that he abides by the decrees of the Lord. God said to Joshua, “Ensure you remember and abide by all the statutes and decrees that you received from Moses and do not defy them” (Joshua 1: 7-NIV). Joshua then instructed officers in the camp to prepare and cross the Jordan into the Promised Land in three days.

The first city God led Israelites to besiege was Jericho. This was just after the circumcision at Gilgal. Jericho was under tight guard and security against Israel’s conquest. In fact, nobody could enter or leave the city. The Lord told Joshua that he had delivered the city into his hands. God instructed Joshua to march around the city for up to the sixth day with priests carrying trumpets of rams’ horns walking before the ark. Joshua adhered to the commands that the Lord issued to him.

The priests blew trumpets as people gave loud shouts on the seventh day. The shouts and trumpet sounds made the city walls collapse, allowing the Israelites to charge right inside, destroying everything in the city. Joshua instructed Israelites to do what the Lord had commanded them. He instructed them to destroy everything apart from Rahab and her household; she was the one who had initially hidden the spies that checked the land.

 Joshua commanded his people to stay away from devoted items. Joshua instructed the Israelites saying “Articles such as gold, silver, bronze and iron are consecrated for the Lord” (Bryan 172). The rest of items were supposed to be destroyed. Thus, Jericho was conquered by Israelites, not by the sword but by divine marching, blowing of trumpets and heavy shouts. Joshua pronounced that no one would rebuild the city after its siege for the Lord had conquered it and handed it over to the Israelites.

Theological Relevance of the Capture of Jericho

The defeat and capture of the city of Jericho reveals the mysterious and omniscient nature of God. He has his own ways of fighting for his own people. Such ways are often far much above human understanding. God is covenantal and remains faithful to his covenant with his people. He had promised to give Canaan to Israelites as their land. Yahweh made a covenant with Joshua that he would not forsake him. He would accompany him as was the case with Moses (Joshua 1:5-NIV). So, the Lord miraculously delivered the city of Jericho with all its mighty security, high and strong walls, and its residents into hands of Joshua.

The fact that God instructed Israelites to go around the city seven times on the seventh day reveals that seven is the perfect number of God. This is also the day that God rested after six days involvement in the work of creation. The priests and the Ark of the Covenant played a significant role in the fall of Jericho since they are symbolic of God’s presence. It is this presence of God that enabled Joshua and the Israelites to defeat and capture Jericho. God is omnipotent, and nothing is impossible to him. Although the city had high, heavily built walls, detailed security, it still fell and got conquered by the Israelites.

Relevance of the Event to Me

The capture of Jericho through marching, blowing of trumpets and shouting teaches me that God can use any method to deliver victory to his people. One might have imagined the Israelites struggling with the high and secure walls and gates of Jericho in a bid to conquer it. But God does not work according to our thinking. I have also learnt that it is necessary to obey God’s command if one is to be victorious and successful. Joshua carefully followed the commands of God and the instructions. He prevailed on the Israelites to follow these ordinances since God had instructed him so (Joshua 6:18-19-NIV).

This event also teaches me that endurance and patience in response to God’s voice leads to success. The Israelites and Joshua did not wear out on marching around the wall until the seventh day. Suppose they gave up after going round four days without any miracle happening, they would not have conquered the city. Besides, it is necessary to depend on God and not lean on one’s own understanding. When one depends and trusts in God, he/she does not struggle to access that which God has vowed to give. The Lord told Joshua, “I have delivered Jericho into your hands along with its fighting men and king” (Joshua 6: 2-NIV).

In conclusion, the city of Jericho was the first city to be conquered by the Israelites. This was the initial miracle that God used to prove to Joshua that no city and men would challenge him in the conquest of the Promised Land.

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