Today’s Tasting: Joshua 5–8: In today’s reading, we are still with Joshua and the Israelites as they prepare to move into the Promised Land. God instructs Joshua to circumcise all the males. The Commander of the Lord’s Army appears to Joshua with instructions on how the Israelites are going to win at the battle of Jericho. Israel’s army is to march around the city walls on each of six days, blowing their trumpets. On the seventh day they are to march around the city seven times, blowing their trumpets, and after the seventh time the people are to shout in victory. When the people did as Joshua commanded, the walls of Jericho fell and the Israelites captured the city.
After Jericho had fallen, the Israelites moved against Ai. However, because one of them, Achan, had not done as God commanded they were defeated. Joshua went before God and asked what had gone wrong. Then God told him how to deal with Achan’s sin. Then the Israelites were able to conquer Ai. So Joshua renewed the covenant between God and the Israelites.
Today’s Nourishment: Here’s a gospel song about Joshua and the walls of Jericho that you might enjoy:
One of the things that caught my attention in today’s reading was the circumcision of all the males. I hadn’t realized before that all those who had left Egypt were now passed away and the only people remaining were the new generation that had been born during the past forty years as the Israelites made their way to the Promised Land. The practice of circumcision goes all the way back to Genesis 17:10 and the covenant God made with Abraham so it was important that this new generation of Israelites honor this as they began their new lives.
The second thing that caught my attention was the appearance of the Commander of the Lord’s Army (5:13–15). At first, I interpreted this as an angel who had come to give Joshua guidance. However, after re-reading these verses and doing some checking, I discovered that the Commander of the Lord’s Army is believed to be the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, who is also referred to throughout the Old Testament as the Angel of the Lord. I discovered that the Old Testament is full of instances where the Angel of the Lord, or the Commander of the Lord’s Army, interacts with humanity (Judges 6:11; 6:21; 13:20, Zechariah 12:8, Genesis 22:15; Exodus 3:2; Numbers 22:22–35) so the Old Testament is not only full of prophecy about the coming of Jesus, it is also full of examples of His interactions with us even before these prophecies were fulfilled. It never ceases to amaze me how everything in the Bible fits together so perfectly! I learn something new with every study session.
The message I took away from Today’s Tasting is that we are never alone. We have not been alone since the beginning of time, and as long as we love God with all of our “heart, soul and mind” (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27), we will never have to face a time when we are truly alone. Jesus lives in us through the Holy Spirit and guides us today just as he guided those who came before us—all we have to do is open our hearts and allow him in.
My encouragement for you today is that you will allow yourself to be guided by the Holy Spirit in all you do—not only when times are tough but also when times are good.
Tomorrow’s Delight: Joshua 9–11