Moses had gathered 12 of his finest, most loyal men to spy out the land. God had brought them out of Egypt by his mighty hand. He had parted the Red Sea, led them by a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire by night. God fed them manna from the dew and quail from the sky. He even gave them water out of rocks. God told Moses the land He was leading the people to was their land. They would receive what they had never worked for—God would provide them a home, a land for themselves.
So, as they gathered themselves on the edge of this promised land, God told Moses to send these 12 spies to check it out. In stealth mode, they go through the land spying it out—they check out the land, the people of the land and the numbers of people throughout the land. They return from their 40-day scouting expedition with their report for Moses. He and the people are gathered to hear the news…10 say nay and 2 say yay!
In summary, the 10 nays win the day and convince the people not to take the land—a land already promised to them. The result of the people’s disobedience is they must wonder in the desert for 40 years, to see the land from a distance yet not be able to enter it.
Forty years has passed by the time we come to Joshua 6. A new leader is on the scene because Moses has died. Joshua is the new commander and was part of the original 12 who had spied out the land over 40 years prior. Joshua is one of the original 2 who said Israel can take the land.
God has prepared Joshua for this role of leadership and after his Moses-like parting of the Jordan River experience (Joshua 3), he faces his first obstacle in the Promised Land—the impenetrable stone-walled city of Jericho. But here is what we find in the book of Joshua that is a theme woven throughout the Bible. God often does the unimaginable, so that He gets the glory and not ourselves.
You know the story (Joshua 6). God tells Joshua to gather his military, seven priests, and the ark. They are to march around the city one time for six days and go back to camp not saying a word. The priests will blow seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark each time. Then on day seven, they will march around the city seven times, blow the trumpets, and all the people will shout and the walls will come tumblin’ down! Sounds pretty crazy! But that’s just it. God loves to do the unimaginable, so that He gets the glory and not ourselves.
The book of Joshua is about conquest. By the time we get to the New Testament, the theme of conquest continues to reverberate through the pages of Scripture. However, the conquest at this point is not with military might, trumpets, or an ark. Rather, the greater reality of conquest in the Bible is accomplished through the life, death, and resurrection of One who is greater than Moses and Joshua as well as even the kings and prophets. Jesus came not to tear down stone walls, but to crush stone hearts. Interestingly, He does this stone-crushing by using ordinary soldiers to take the good news of His life, death, and resurrection to their neighbors and the nations.
How could this be possible? The world is so large and the opposition to the gospel of Jesus is so hardening. But that’s just it. God loves to do the unimaginable, so that He gets the glory and not ourselves. Will you spend your life for this unimaginable, but God glorifying cause and watch the walls come tumblin’ down?