May Your Kingdom Come
I preached this sermon as part of series through Joshua. One of the aims of the series was to think about reading the Old Testament as Christian scripture and so some time on each sermon was given specifically to explaining some of the working and rationale behind the approach taken. However by the time we'd come to Joshua 5-6 I was trying to avoid talking through the rationale of biblical theology each time and so preach passages without showing all the working. As a result it functions more as a stand-alone sermon.
1. Passage context
The whole book of Joshua is obviously focussed on the possessing of the Promised Land. The opening chapters show us Joshua as the leader through whom God will give the land to his people - he is the one that God is with and to whom he will grant success (1:2-6). Entry into the land is then by God's hand and is explicitly linked with the exodus as part of God's gracious redemption.
Once in the land the act of circumcision and celebration of the Passover function as clear identity markers: the Israelites are to live in the land as God's people, faithful to his covenant and remembering his redemption (5:2-12).
Jericho is then the first act of ‘possessing' the land. There has been previous talk of the battles to come and no one being able to stand against God's people (e.g. 1:5-6), but this is to be the first example of it. In this way Jericho is paradigmatic of possessing the land - what happens here is then repeated in later chapters to other cities. If Jericho falls then the land is theirs.
There is a broader context specifically related to the battle for Jericho and that is the commands for battles given in Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy 20 distinguishes between the instructions for battles which are against cities ‘that are at a distance from you' (verses1-15); and the battles against the cities in the land that God had promised them (verses 16-20). This introduces the theological important concept of the things ‘dedicated' or ‘devoted' to the Lord. The significance of this concept will be detailed later in this paper.
2. False routes - what this passage is not about
I hesitate to be too pejorative in this section because many approaches to this passage teach us something true that is indeed from this specific passage. For example, that it shows us God's power, or that he is the one who brings victory while we simply trust his word of promise are both good and true lessons from the passage in question, and not simply illustrations of these truths. However, my concern is that they don't deal with the passage as a whole in its context in Joshua, nor make the appropriate biblical theological links.
The New Testament comment on the fall of Jericho clearly gives justification for seeing it teach the example of faith in God's promise. We read in Hebrews 11:30 that it was by faith that the walls of Jericho fell. And hence we should see the obedience to God's rather bizarre battle strategy (marching round a city isn't a common way to gain access) as a wonderful example of faith in action.
However we should beware of seeing this New Testament comment as the guiding control in interpreting the whole passage. After all, the examples of faith given in the preceding verses in Hebrews 11 are those of the Passover and Exodus. These do of course exemplify faith but were we teaching on the Passover/Exodus passages we would want to teach them in their biblical theological context as being about much more than faith. Given its paradigmatic position in the entry into the Promised Land the same principle stands with the fall of Jericho.
Having said then that there are a variety of perfectly valid approaches it must also be said that there are some poor uses of this passage. The most common takes the ‘example of faith' line and then asks, ‘Which battles do you face?' or ‘Which walls do you need to see fall?' If one were taking the exemplary approach then the route to run would surely be that set out by Hebrews 11 itself both in faith being specifically in God's promises and the forward looking nature of faith.
3. What this passage is about (1): the details of the passage
The story itself is well known and in many ways straightforward. However its very familiarity can obscure some of the important details.
The commander of the Lord's army
As Joshua approaches Jericho he meets the figure of the ‘commander of the Lord's armies'. There are a number of salient details to note:
- The drawn sword is indicative of impending judgement (c.f. Numbers 22:13; 1Chron 21:16).
- The arrival at this stage and the grammatically emphatic announcement that ‘I have now come', indicates the importance of the ensuing battle and that it is ultimately to be fought by God.
- The identity of this commander as having the authority of God himself is clear; it is a figure very akin to the angel of the Lord. As the passage continues the distinction between this commander and the Lord himself evaporates.
- This divine identity is shown by Joshua's worship and the requirement to remove his sandals because it is holy ground (clearly alluding to Exodus 3:5).
The issue facing Israel
Chapter 6 verse 1 introduces the problem of Jericho's fortifications - with the idiomatic double use of the verb to shut (once active and once passive). English translations have to render it ‘securely barred' or similar. Hence the question raised is how they will gain entry to conquer the city. This is the focus of the Lord's instructions in verses 2-5 with its centrepiece of the well-known climax of the walls falling.
The explanation given by Joshua
The following narrative is a mixture of Joshua's instructions and their enactment mixed together. So for example he gives commands in verses 6-7 with their enactment in verses 8-9 but further instructions come in verse 10.
This pattern is repeated at the climatic moment: the moment of trumpet blast and the walls falling is separated by Joshua's final instructions in verses 16-19. This both creates suspense in the narrative but also heightens the focus of attention on the instructions Joshua is giving.
Joshua's words include the reassurance that God has given them the city just as he had promised (verse 2) and hence the need for faith. However the focus of these verses is the specific battle instructions of Deuteronomy 20 in ‘devoting the city to the Lord'. The comment about sparing Rahab and her family must be understood in this regard as it comes sandwiched between the repeated instructions regarding the ‘devoting' of the whole city. The sparing of Rahab then, is the sparing of her from the requirement to devote the whole city - her actions have made her exempt from this requirement. The meaning of this act of ‘devotion' is explored further below.
The conquering of the city
The dramatic moment of the walls collapsing is only reported as having happened - it is nothing more than the detail that allows them to get on with the business of devoting the city to the Lord which is how their action is described in verse 21. Most translations struggle with this verse (see below for further comment) usually rendering the verb for ‘devote' as ‘devoted to the Lord and destroyed...'. This makes it sound like two actions whereas in reality it is the one action of devoting which is done ‘by the mouth of the sword', i.e. by destroying.
The rest of the narrative makes clear what this means: every living thing in the city is killed, everything flammable is burnt, and all the inflammable metals articles are put in the treasury of the Lord's house.
This is perhaps where our familiarity with the story has been most misleading. We have made this a popular Sunday school story because of the fun of marching round in circles and the drama of walls falling down. In doing so we have missed the real business of the passage; that is, the utter destruction of the city. This is a point of course that has been picked up in certain circles to some embarrassment with the associated imagery of genocide. I think the correct approach to understanding this total destruction comes from both an understanding of the concept of ‘devotion to the Lord', which is clearly key in the passage, and in seeing this passage in its biblical theological context.
4. What this passage is about (2): the concept of ‘devoted to the Lord'
The analysis so far should have demonstrated that the background of Deuteronomy 20 in giving battle instructions for entering the land and the specific instructions of Joshua in taking the city of Jericho as the first of those cities are central in understanding this passage. And the key lies in the concept of ‘devotion to the Lord'.
This term can be used simply of total destruction (e.g. Daniel 11:44), but the theological weight of this term comes when something is dedicated to the Lord. The background is in Leviticus 27:28-29. The verb is used here of the act of devoting and noun to refer to things that have been so devoted. The key point is that anything so devoted cannot be redeemed. With regard to physical objects this means they cannot be sold or bought back, with regard to people this means they must be put to death. This indicates a strong element of God's sovereign claim over people and things.
The verb is used Joshua 2:10 as a description of what Israel did to the Amorite kings east of the Jordan. It is then the key description of what is done to Jericho and Jericho then becomes paradigmatic for other cities. So for example in Joshua 10:1we read that Joshua had ‘dedicated' the city of Ai to the Lord and so did to it what he had done to Jericho. We read the same in 10:28-43 of a number of further cities.
The rationale given in Deuteronomy 20 for this total destruction of the cities in the Promised Land is so that the people that previously lived there would not teach them to follow other gods. There is therefore a strong element of purification of the land associated with this term.
However, there is also an element of judgement on people for their false worship and hence rejection of the true God. This is seen in the use of the verb in Exodus 22:19. This passage contains a list of sins, many of which are punished by death, but the only one that is punished by ‘devotion' to the Lord is that of sacrificing to another god.
A key text in this regard is Deuteronomy 13:12-18 which gives the example of people in the land turning away to worship other gods. They are to be dedicated to the Lord by being destroyed completely, and the city is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt. This clearly has strong echoes in the Jericho narrative.
We must of course beware of ‘illegitimate totality transfer' in our understanding of this or any other Biblical word group. However it seems reasonable to see this term referring to God's sovereign claim over someone or something, particularly where his purifying judgement is exercised on it for worship of other gods.
5. What this passage is about (3): the difference biblical theology makes
Biblical theology allows us to see the act of entry into the land in its position in salvation history. The land is a picture of the resting place and inheritance of God's people where they will live at peace in relationship with God. Israel's living in the land is therefore well known as a picture of God's kingdom.
This means that the entry into the land and the act of possessing the land are pictures for us of God's kingdom coming. Entry into the land shows us God's gracious act of bringing his people into his kingdom. The battles involved in possessing the land show us what has to happen within a rebellious world for that place to become the kingdom of God.
The background for the battles in Deut 20 and the theologically rich concept of ‘devotion to the Lord' guide us in this. The kingdom coming in the land involves purification of the land such that evil is rooted out and destroyed. However it also shows us God exercising his sovereign claim and judgement over those rebelling against his rule; particularly those expressing this in their worship of other gods.
Hence the fall of Jericho gives us a picture of God's sovereign claim being exercised and his judgement falling so as to establish his kingdom. We should therefore expect to see some parallels with the way in which his kingdom is established now; but more particularly we should see parallels with what will happen when the Lord Jesus returns to establish his kingdom fully and finally. At that moment the geographically limited events of Jericho will be played on a cosmic scale.
The impact of Rahab within this narrative has been previously mentioned above - she is one who escapes being ‘devoted to the Lord'. She therefore stands as an example to us of how one can escape the judgement of God as he brings his kingdom.
This is not in any way to run against the New Testament references to Rahab as an example of faith, but rather simply to put that example of faith in its biblical theological context. Her faith means salvation from the final judgement of God and inclusion in his people. Others in Jericho and across the land had heard the same message as she had (note the important comments of 2:9-11 and 5:1) but had not responded as she had; that is, they had not responded in submission and faith.
6. Sermon structure and content
I wanted to begin by striking people with the real focus of this passage and challenging some of the usual assumptions that the common Sunday school approach to the passage tends to breed. I therefore began with an explicit reference to the Sunday school approach and then made explicit how shocking the passage really is.
This passage has a mixed history: it's often used in Sunday school isn't it, because you can act it out as an exciting story, with marching round and then pushing over boxes so that the walls fall down. It's popularly chosen for children's storybooks and children's songs.
But you may know that it has also been called a deeply regrettable part of the Bible; a section that would have been best not written. That's rather strange isn't it; a deeply regrettable part of the Bible, also being a favourite for kids.
The reason of course is that in Sunday school you usually stop before verse 21, because at verse 21 the fun marching stuff and wall falling down stuff stops and the so-called deeply regrettable stuff starts. Read verse 21...
No offers of surrender made; no mercy shown. Men, women and children are all killed; nothing was left breathing in Jericho that day. And so not surprisingly accusations of genocide are made, and some people say we need to ignore this bit of the Bible. All this blood and gore doesn't fit with Jesus the man of peace; all this ‘God of wrath' stuff in the OT doesn't fit with the ‘God of love' of the NT.
I thought I'd get us to feel both the contemporary and ancient challenge of this so I included the following:
I'm very sorry to say that even someone like Steve Chalke says that sort of stuff in his book The Lost message of Jesus. He says this is rather primitive and that God didn't want it to happen.
That approach has a long history to it, back in 2nd century a guy called Marcion decided the whole OT had to go because of passages just like this. He created a new Bible - with no Old Testament because he wanted to avoid stuff like this.
Then I wanted us to both see that we cannot adopt such an attitude and introduce some of the basic biblical theological framework that would help us in approaching the text properly.
The problem of course is that Jesus thought otherwise; you may remember some of Jesus' comments about the OT. He said not only that it was true, but that it was the book which was all about him. So you can't read this and say it's got nothing to do with Jesus; this is supposed to be all about Jesus.
To put it differently Jesus says the Old Testament gives us a picture of God's plans. Gives us a kind of blueprint of what God's up to. And so it's not a separate story to what God then does in Jesus, it's a picture of the same story. And so this passage is to teach us about what God does and will do in Jesus.
As there are a number of issues involved in understanding this passage correctly there was great potential for confusion. I therefore decided to go for a straightforward announcement of my theme and the use of an extended illustration to explain what was happening in the conquest of the land.
I want to suggest that what we have here is a picture of God establishing his kingdom.
Imagine some pioneer discovering a new land, the sort of thing you see in the films, the ship comes up on beach, he wades ashore and plants a flag on the beach and says, ‘I claim this land for the king of wherever.'
At that moment that king doesn't actually rule over that land does he? His rule isn't a reality there. The land then has to be taken, the rule has to be established over that land and whoever lives there.
That's the situation we have here in Joshua. This land of Canaan is to be God's kingdom: that is the place where he rules, where he is king with his people. That's the big picture of what's going on in the Old Testament. God rescues a people who'll have a relationship with him and takes them to live with him in his kingdom.
This conquering of Jericho is part of that process. We're at the point in the story where his people have just arrived in the land that is to be his kingdom; they've just landed on the beach. But God's rule hasn't been established. And so much of the rest of Joshua is about God's kingdom being established. And Jericho is the first battle, and it stands as the great example of how that happened, how God's kingdom comes. How the kingdom arrives.
This has hopefully set up the passage for the right approach and done so fairly quickly. I was then into my main teaching points as to what this passage tells us about how God's kingdom comes. More of the biblical theological working and particularly the background of the term for ‘devotion to the Lord' has yet to be covered and so is included within the teaching points below.
My first point focuses on God's action in bringing the kingdom - this looked particularly at the commander of the armies of the Lord and then at the events of the walls falling by faith.
The first thing to see about how the kingdom comes is that God does it himself. See 5:13, Joshua sees a man with a drawn sword and asks him, ‘Whose side are you on? For us or our enemies?' He replies...
This figure is very similar to the angel of the Lord who appears many times in the OT; in fact he may well be him under a different name. He's sort of God's right hand man. Some have suggested this is actually Jesus which is quite likely I think, but doesn't really matter. The important point is when this guy says something, it's God saying it; when he does something, it's God doing it.
And so he appears, and says, ‘As commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.' The battle is about to begin, and so I'm here as commander-in-chief. And so you don't ask me which side I'm on, that would be like a private asking a colonel ‘Are you with me or against me?' ‘No', the colonel would reply, ‘I'll think you'll find you are with me, I'm the one in charge here.'
So Joshua is given this reminder, this isn't the people of Israel going to war; this is God going to war.
And then God states to Joshua that he has won the battle for them. Verse 2...
I have delivered them. I've done it for you. And that is the point of the famous way the city is conquered. The walls fall with a shout. That is so that everyone knows it's down to God. They know this isn't the army fighting well; this is God miraculously working. This isn't the Israelites defeating Jericho; this is God defeating Jericho.
In establishing his kingdom, God does it himself. Of course he works through his people; it's not that they stay at base camp while God fights the battle, but despite their part in it, at the end of that day, what would they have said to themselves? ‘Didn't we do well?' No - God has established his rule.
Having made this point from the text it was time to do some more biblical theological thinking about how the kingdom coming in this passage relates to us.
Now we have to ask the question - how is God's kingdom being established today? It's different in a variety of ways - it's not bound up with one nation in one country. That was a picture. But it is being established today, remember Jesus' first words - that the kingdom of God is near.
I think for us God's kingdom comes in two ways. Firstly God's kingdom comes as people bow to Jesus as king. Jesus said as people came to believe in him and have him as their king, they entered his kingdom.
And secondly he said that one day he would come again as king; and on that day God's kingdom would come in all its fullness. That's when God's kingdom will be finally established, and the plan will be complete - because on that day God's rule will be established, not just in one country, and not just over individuals, as they submit to him, but his rule will be established over the whole creation.
Having established my two points of biblical theological contact with us I tried to apply my first point to us.
So for us the kingdom is coming now, God's reign is extending over people, and it will come fully at the end. And the first point is that in both of those God does it himself.
Of course we're involved, at least in the growth of the kingdom now, we take part in spreading the message that Jesus is king, and people should submit to him. But he's the one who establishes his kingdom; he brings people into it. And how much more so on that final day when his kingdom is fully established and his enemies are conquered.
So Jesus said we should pray, ‘May your kingdom come', may your kingdom come now, may your rule over this earth grow now, and may it come in the future, and the whole reason we pray is because he's the one who does it.
Can I ask you - do you pray that prayer, do you look to God to extend his kingdom? Can I encourage you to do that and to have confidence in this, because God will do it.
Then into my second main teaching point. This picks up on the background of devotion to the Lord and so quickly tries to survey the appropriate background.
Secondly, when God establishes his kingdom he judges evil & establishes his rule.
Look at two key verses with me:
We need to understand that this isn't like other battles in the Old Testament. In normal battles we're told Israel should go up to a city and make its people an offer of peace; if they accept you don't kill anyone. And even if they don't, and you fight them, you don't exterminate them, and burn it down.
But God had said that in the cities I'm giving you as part of my kingdom like Jericho, do not leave alive anything that breathes; completely destroy them. Or devote them to the Lord. That's the word used in our passage.
See verse 21 says they devoted the city to the Lord. It's that same word devoted. It's actually a hard word to translate, if you have an NIV, see footnote...
The idea is that God has a total, sovereign claim on something or someone. In the case of people, it's people that have rebelled against him as God and when God exercises his sovereign claim on that person it usually means killing them as a punishment.
In the case of flammable objects, it means burning them, as in done verse 24, in the case of inflammable objects like silver or gold it means putting them into the treasury of the Lord's house as in verse 24.
Do you see how everything is given over to God? Those who have rebelled against him are punished for it, all that stuff that has been associated with them, is either destroyed as well, or brought to be used in the worship of the true God. This is God asserting himself as God over a rebellious city. It involves judging evil; bringing his rule.
Having established the basic meaning of what is happening in the passage I felt I needed to back up and help people think it through. This meant a brief section on God's justice in punishment and so the rightness of it, and also his reluctance in punishment.
Now we of course want to ask - what have they done to deserve this? Well we're not given the specifics here but what is made clear is that this is judgement on these cities for their sinfulness. Way back in Genesis 16 we're told Abraham's descendants would have to wait until they could occupy the land because the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.
In other words, God was waiting to give them the land until this judgement was due. And then in Deuteronomy we're told God gave them this land on account of the wickedness of these nations; it is because of how evil they are. This was an evil, rebellious land, and this is God judging that evil and bringing his rule; there is no injustice here.
And God does not enjoy such punishment. The prophet Ezekiel later records God's words where he says, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways.' God takes no pleasure in the judging the wicked, but he also says if they will not turn they will be judged; I take no pleasure in it, but I will do it.
And here in Jericho, is an example of God doing just that. Because his kingdom is being established in this place, and in God's kingdom, God will be seen as king.
Then I tried to apply this principle to us, this time focussing only on the second of the two of biblical theological contact established earlier - that is the kingdom coming when Jesus returns. The reasoning here was that while the principles of judgement and rule do relate to the kingdom coming now (people's sin judged in the cross and people bowing to God's rule), I felt I didn't have time to work that through and they apply more clearly to the final coming of the kingdom.
At the same time I wanted to start to interact with the objections raised to the events of Jericho that were mentioned in the introduction and so broadened out with a couple of other NT references.
And the same things will happen when God's kingdom is finally established; when Jesus comes again as king. Because right now God doesn't judge all evil does he? He allows it to go on, he doesn't assert his rule, he allows people to ignore him, rebel against him.
But one day he'll act to establish his kingdom completely; and it won't be localised to one country like Canaan, it will fill the earth. The sound of a trumpet will be heard this time across the universe; God will come to judge the nations and bring his rule. Jericho is simply a picture of that day.
You see for those who have a problem with people being killed here, the real problem is, they don't want to allow for a God who will judge evil and who will assert his rule. That's the issue. And so it's not the God of the OT they have a problem with, it's the God of the Bible.
They can't take refuge in Jesus the man of peace, Jesus spoke about this event many times. Here are some of his words from Matthew 13:37-43...
You see how evil will be judged and God's rule will come.
Or a passage from Revelation 19:11-16 describes Jesus arriving as king...
[Use of this passage will clearly depend on your interpretation of Revelation as a whole. Many post-millennialists would see this as a picture of the progress of the gospel and so it could be related then to the coming of the kingdom now. amillennialists see it as final judgement which is how I am interpreting it.]
That is the day when Jesus leads his army against all those who rebel against him - a day when he will judge evil, a day when all will see him as King and Lord - and he will bring his rule.
I don't want to minimise our shock over the events of Jericho and the total annihilation that takes place. But what I want us to see that anyone who has a problem with Joshua over this actually has more of a problem with Jesus. Remember Marcion who had such trouble with the destruction of Jericho, and threw away the OT, he also had to edit the NT, he cut out anything about judgement.
He ended up with a very short Bible, because from beginning to end the Bible says God will not allow a rebellious world to rebel forever. He will not allow evil to go unpunished. And the day his kingdom is finally established is the day justice will come, and he will be seen to be God. Steve Chalke hasn't edited his Bible, but reference to and discussion of final judgment is conspicuous by its absence in his book.
We need to keep clear this central truth: God is king, and he will bring his kingdom. That is a good and right thing, but that means God bringing his rule over rebels. He longs that people turn, he has worked through Jesus to offer salvation so people can turn and escape. Again we must say there is no delight for God in this. But this is what he will do one day.
Then I wanted to apply this. Given that the feel of the sermon so far would have been focussed on right understanding I wanted to throw out several areas of application and so broad-brush stroke approach.
And so we are to live with our eyes on that day. That means several things. It means looking forward with gladness that this sin torn world will end; that there will no more violence or sickness or death or tragedy.
It means looking forward to true justice coming. Don't know if you saw this picture in the newspapers. The family of Robert McCartney who was killed in Northern Ireland. A situation where no one will come forward to testify for fear of reprisals. A situation where the family are crying out for justice; but there is no justice for them. The day God's kingdom comes is a day of justice; on that day all wrongs will be righted.
This means looking forward with soberness and sadness, because we know that true justice means everyone who will not turn to God, will be judged. We know that God judges justly, we know there will be no undeserved punishment on that day, but also know that that means many people, people we know and love, will be punished.
That day will see wonderful beauty of a new heaven and a new earth; new life in God's perfect kingdom; but it will also see the terror of a lake of fire where God judges evil and destroys it. And there will not be the one without the other. That's what happens when God establishes his kingdom.
This means living now knowing that reality is to come. Let me illustrate like this. In the film Titantic, Thomas Andrews the builder finds out how many compartments of the ship have been flooded. And he knows the ship is going down.
And he then walks around, people are still dressed up, band is playing. And he stares at it. He looks at it all differently now. Because of what he knows the future holds.
It's to be the same with us. We know all this world will end, we know God's kingdom is coming. Live with eyes on that, and you look at life now differently. And you live life differently to those who think this is all there is.
I'd yet to cover Rahab and placed her at the end so as to end on the note of salvation as the passage does. This was applied both in a call to be saved and a call to spread the message of the gospel.
So when God's kingdom comes, he does it himself, he judges evil and brings his rule, and there's one last element...He saves those who trust him Verse 17...
And they brought Rahab out and she was saved from judgment. Earlier I mentioned words from Ezekiel, ‘Turn! Turn' says God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of a sinner.' Well Rahab turned. She was as much mixed up in the evil of this city as anyone; she was a prostitute there, she deserved punishment just like everyone else.
But we're told back in chapter 2 that when she heard something of the God of Israel, and she decided to turn. She decided to trust what she knew of him; and that led her to hide the spies. And so she is saved because of her trust in God. And that's exactly what Joshua repeats about her here, and so as the judgment falls on Jericho it does not fall on her; she is spared, saved.
That is the good news of the gospel message. When God establishes his kingdom, he's not worried about how evil people have been, he's not worried about the depths of depravity they may have sunk to, what they have or haven't done.
He's worried about whether they'll turn back to him; whether they'll trust him and bow before him. He's worried about whether they want to have him as their king or whether they're still rebelling against him.
And the gospel is the good news of God providing a way of escaping judgement. And he calls to people to escape, he longs for people to enter his kingdom willingly now before its too late; he offers people the chance to receive forgiveness for their evil before he judges it, he offers the chance to acknowledge his rule themselves, before he comes to assert it.
And so I have to ask you, have you turned to God as your king? I hope you have. I hope you live now grateful to him for providing a way of escaping. But if you haven't I have to warn you this morning, one day it will be too late, one day God will judge your sin, and assert his sovereignty, he won't let you rebel forever, so turn to him and bow before him now.
Secondly, do you tell others to turn to him? Do you take part in the building of the kingdom now by spreading the message. The message of warning that God's kingdom is coming; the message of good news that it can be entered now in Jesus. Do you tell others to turn?
Butler, T. C. Joshua, Word Biblical Commentary (1983).
Some helpful critical comments but relatively little theological reflection. The focus is on the blessings promised by God to those who are obedient. No particular biblical theological connections are drawn.
Hess R. Joshua, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (1996)
Extremely good detail on the text and explanation of the concept of ‘devotion to the Lord' (including a section in the introduction on the theology of Joshua). The biblical theological connections are drawn from the concept of ‘devotion to the Lord' to God's fight against sin Christ and our own fight against sin.
Goslinga C. J. Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Bible Students Commentary.
Helpful observations on the text. Little theological reflection is given but some very quick and insightful comparisons are drawn between the fall of Jericho and the second coming, the sounding of the trumpets and the preaching of the gospel, and the confidence we must have in God's promise.
An example of a standard approach to the fall of Jericho asking how the walls we face can fall before us. However makes good connections with the promises we have to fight the battle of the Christian life and the need to trust God's promises despite what circumstances might teach us.
Naude J. ‘mrh' in New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis.
Useful article on the term ‘devote' to the Lord. No biblical theological work but an overview
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