Joshua 6:1-51NIV New International Version Translations
1 Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. 2 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.”
Joshua is best known as Moses’ second in command who takes over and leads the Israelites into the Promised Land after Moses’ death. Joshua is considered one of the Bible’s greatest military leaders for leading the seven-year conquest of the Promised Land, and is often held up as a model for leadership and a source of practical application on how to be an effective leader. Joshua is a figure in the Torah, being one of the spies for Israel (Num 13–14) and identified in several passages as Moses’ assistant. He is the central character in the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Joshua. According to the books Exodus, Numbers and Joshua, he became the leader of the Israelite tribes after the death of Moses.
As a military leader, Joshua would be considered one of the greatest generals in human history. The Lord had promised sure victory and delivered it in convincing fashion. The only exception is in the battle of Ai (Joshua 7). There are several things to note about this incident. Israel broke faith with God in regards to the “devoted things” (Joshua 7:1). God had commanded the Israelites to devote everything to destruction (Joshua 6:17), and Achan had kept some of the loot from the battle of Jericho for himself. Because of this, God judged them by not giving them the victory at Ai. Another thing to note is that there is no explicit command by God to go against Ai. The purpose of putting these two battle stories side by side is show that when God sets the program and agenda, victory follows, but when man sets the program and agenda, failure ensues. Jericho was the Lord’s battle; Ai was not. God redeemed the situation and eventually gave them the victory, but not until after the object lesson was given.
Further evidence of Joshua’s leadership qualities can be seen in his rock-solid faith in God. When the Israelites were on the edge of the Promised Land in Numbers 13, God commanded Moses to send out twelve people to spy out the land, one from each of the tribes of Israel. Upon their return, ten reported that the land, while bounteous as the Lord had promised, was occupied by strong and fierce warriors dwelling in large, fortified cities. Furthermore, the Nephilim (giants from the Israelites’ perspective) were in the land. However, Joshua and Caleb were the only two who urged the people to take the land (Numbers 14:7-10). Here we see one thing that sets Joshua (and Caleb) apart from the rest of the Israelites—they believed in the promises of God. They were not intimidated by the size of the warriors or the strength of the cities. Rather, they knew their God and remembered how He had dealt with Egypt, the most powerful nation on the earth at that time. If God could take care of the mighty Egyptian army, He could certainly take care of the various Canaanite tribes. God rewarded Joshua’s and Caleb’s faith by exempting them from the entire generation of Israelites that would perish in the wilderness.
The residents of Jericho resolved that Israel would not be its master. It shut itself up, in other words, strongly fortified both by stone and nature. But they were foolish, and their hearts hardened to their own destruction; the miserable case of all that strengthen themselves against the Almighty. God resolved that Israel would be its master, and it would happen quickly. No warlike preparations were to be made. By the uncommon method of besieging the city, the Lord honored the Ark of the Covenant, as the symbol of His presence, and showed that all the victories were from Him. The faith and patience of the people were proved and increased.
Items for Discussion
- Why would someone believe that they could defend themselves from God?
- Are there cases in history that people have been able to hide from God’s reach?
- What are the elements of this story that strengthen your belief and faith in God?
- Walls were basically stacked stones. There is no mention of any force besides the shouts of men and the walls came down. How do you think the enemy felt? How do you think the Israelites felt?
15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” 16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ 21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ 22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ 23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”.
Luke, the author of the third Gospel and the book of Acts, should be of special interest to us for several reasons. He was the only Gentile who wrote any of the books of the Bible. He is one of us. Furthermore, he was the only scientist among the writers. We do not know much about Luke’s background or his medical training. He was called “the beloved physician” by Paul (Colossians 4:14), and undoubtedly one reason for his ongoing association with Paul was the latter’s need for frequent medical care.
It is his medical background that places close to science. As far as Luke’s two Bible books are concerned, there is little in either book that utilizes scientific or medical facts or principles. He does refer to the infant Jesus being circumcised on the eighth day (Luke 2:21), and he is the only one of the four Gospel writers who does.
He is also recognized as a great historian, with his excellent accounts of the key events of the most important era in the history of the world. He also was undoubtedly a devoted Christian, a truth especially demonstrated by his unselfish service and companionship to the apostle Paul. Finally, he was probably the first Christian apologist, zealously concerned to defend and establish the absolute truth of the gospel of Christ.
Jesus had spoken of the future when God will raise people from death. The Jews were familiar with the idea of a grand dinner in God’s kingdom. They believed that the good people of the past would rise from death. And these good people would be guests at that dinner. Also as Jews, they expected to be guests with them at the dinner. Jesus would explain to him that many people are too busy to accept God’s invitation. Jesus told them a story about a man who invited many people to a great supper. None of the people whom he had invited had refused the invitation. The host expected them all to come. It took a long time to prepare for the great supper. When the supper was ready, the host sent his servant to fetch the guests. But they would not come to the supper.
It was the custom in some places to expect a second invitation. It may be that the servant took the second invitation to the guests. And they refused the second invitation. To refuse in this way was an insult to the host. The guests made excuses. The first one had bought a field.
- The excuse: He needed to look at it before he bought it. The field, of course, would still be there after the meal. Therefore, it was not necessary to view it at that time. It could wait until after the supper. It is plain that, really, this man did not want to come to the supper.
- The excuse: Another man had bought some oxen. He should have been satisfied with them before he bought them. Now they were his oxen and he could test them at any time. It could wait until after the supper. But he too did not want to go to the supper.
- The excuse: Another man had just married a wife. A marriage is not a sudden affair. He should have known about it before he received the invitation to the supper. The invitation to these suppers would be to men only. He would have to leave his new wife at home while he went to the supper. The wives of the other guests would have to stay at home. As an excuse, he said that he could not go to the supper. If he had wanted to, he could have gone.
All three of these men knew about the supper before the servant came. All three made weak excuses as their reasons not to go to the supper.
The servant told his master what had happened. His master was angry. The guests that he had invited had insulted him. But he would not allow those excuses to spoil his supper. If the original guests would not come, he would invite other guests. He sent his servant to the poorer parts of the town. He told him to bring in poor people from there. He included those people who were sick or blind. And he included those people who could not walk.
The servant did what his master told him. But he did not bring in enough guests to satisfy his master. So, the master sent the servant to search wider and to urge people to come in. The servant went to the roads and paths outside the town. There he would find people who had no homes. Even these people, the servant must urge to come to the supper. Even if the first guests came, the master would not allow them to come in. There would be no further chance for them. They had missed their opportunity.
Jesus told this story to show God’s desire to have a right relationship with people. The supper means a place in God’s kingdom. He sent the prophets to invite his people to come in. But very many of them would not accept that invitation. Now in Jesus, there is the invitation for all to come in. He sends Christians to bring in people from all nations. They must bring all types of people. No person is beyond the reach of God. The good news of Jesus is for all people. God will receive all who come to him. But when people refuse God’s invitation, that invitation may not remain open to them.
Items for Discussion
- What is an invitation?
- In today’s world, who are the invited?
- Who would be those who would fit the description of the uninvited?
- What is the banquet?
- Why do humans make so many excuses?
- How does today’s church help people understand the value of the invitation they have been given?
- 1NIV New International Version Translations