Global Conquest…Then

seaThroughout the pages of the Bible, God is the God of conquest. The purpose of His conquering is the spread of His fame. God often does the unimaginable in order that He receives all of the glory and not man. For example, He delivers Israel from Egyptian slavery by conquering their enemy through a series of plagues, which culminate with the Passover and the parting of the Red Sea (Exod 7-15). In order to bring decisive victory over Pharaoh and the Egyptian army, God causes them to pursue the recently emancipated Israelites while on their way to the Red Sea. With their backs against the wall of the sea, God parts the waters so His people may cross on dry land. In hot pursuit, the Egyptian army charges after the Israelites through the newly formed walled-up sea. God causes the wall of the sea to crash down upon the army, destroying the Egyptians.

Not until under Joshua’s leadership, Moses’ successor, will the Israelites finally take the land that God promised them through Abram (Gen 12). Yet, the land promised to them by God was inhabited by other (pagan) nations who were not too keen on giving up their cities. As Joshua and the new generation of Israelites approach the land of promise, an obstacle stood, or flowed, in their way. In order to reach and conquer the first city in this new land, the Jordan River was in the way. Like Moses before him, through Joshua’s leadership God parted the Jordan so the people could cross on dry land. But why did God choose to conquer in this manner?

“So that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, so that you may fear the Lord your God forever” (Joshua 4:24). God often does the unimaginable in order that He receives all of the glory and not man.

stone wallsFirst on the list of conquest is the city of Jericho (Joshua 6). This city boasted of its impenetrable stone walls. How would the inexperienced Israelite army score their first victory with such a defense in place? The strategy that God gave Joshua will never be considered among the most elite military strategies known to man. But that’s just it. God often does the unimaginable in order that He receives all of the glory and not man. The strategy? Walk around the city one time for six days with the army, the ark, and the musicians. In fact, take the trumpet players and let them blow their trumpets (rams’ horns). Say nothing; do nothing. Just walk around the city once and blow the trumpets. Repeat this process for six days.

I don’t imagine that Joshua’s army was too thrilled with this strategy at first. After all, these soldiers were kids when their parents blew it in the wilderness a generation prior. They have been waiting for this day for some forty years. So you can imagine their initial reaction to “encircle the city once, say nothing, blow the trumpets, and go back to camp.” As if that alone was not enough to cause the soldiers to doubt Joshua’s leadership, he then tells them a whopper for day seven.

pile of stones“Alright,” says Joshua, “on day seven we are going to encircle the city seven times.” Perhaps at this point some soldiers are thinking, “Finally, we are about to do something!” Or maybe they are at a loss thinking, “This guy has lost his mind.” Joshua goes on to instruct the soldiers to say nothing, but on the seventh pass he will cue the band to blow the trumpets and the people will…SHOUT! Joshua then adds, “The walls will fall down flat.”

Are you kidding me?! That’s it? The big military strategy of the ages? You want us to what? But that’s just it. God often does the unimaginable in order that He receives all of the glory and not man. The Israelites obey and God does what He says He will do. The army encircles the city, the musicians blow their trumpets, the people shout, and the walls come tumbling down. God conquers this first city so that He receives all of the glory, not Israel.

God stills conquers nations. How He conquered then is different (in some regards) as to how He conquers today. What remains the same is that God often does the unimaginable in order that He receives all of the glory and not man. Next month we will explore how God continues to conquer peoples from every tongue, tribe, and nation.

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