Object: Have victory.
I. Vs 1, Received Reverence.
From a military perspective, the Children of Israel were in a very exposed position. Having just crossed the River Jordan, they are on the plains of Jericho and facing that fortified city. Yet because the fame of the Lord and His mighty works among His people was already beating back the enemies of the newcomers to the Promised Land. This reminds us of Romans 8:31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
From God's perspective, the Children of Israel were right where they were supposed to be and having a great opportunity to obey God and receive victory God.
II. 2-9, Reproach Rolled.
God commanding Joshua to make flint knives and circumcise all the men was not only a radical act of obedience, it was a radical setting apart of God’s people and a radical step of faith as well. Romans 6:23 says sin leads to death and a whole generation of Hebrews had not obeyed God leading to their spiritual and physical death in the years leading up to coming into the Promised Land. Now it was time for the new generation to radically obey, be set apart from the people around them and practice their faith.
Joshua, Caleb and the whole generation were surely familiar with the Dinah incident recorded in Genesis 34. In that passage Simeon and Levi cruelly deceive the men of Shechem to be circumcised and while they are healing, they brutally come in and slaughter them. This was not only history for the Children of Israel, but when about to go to war in the enemy’s home territory, it is an incurable act of faith that God would protect.
“Then the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Clearly God is pleased with the obedience in faith of the Children of Israel and lifts the shame of having been in bondage, which is a type of slavery to the world.
III. Vs 10-12, Remembering Redemption.
This is the first remembrance of the Passover by the Children of Israel recorded, and the first in their Promised Land. Passover is the remembrance of God’s deliverance of His people from the bondage and shame of sin. As they took of the Passover lamb in remembrance of coming our of Egypt, we take of the communion bread and cup in remembrance of Jesus, the Passover Lamb without blemish, suffering and dying so we can be delivered from sin (1 Cor 5:7, Rev 5:12).
IV. 13-15, Redeemer Revealing.
It is seldom asked why Joshua was by Jericho (Vs 13), but he is probably spying out and seeking God as to the best strategies to take the walled city. While there he confronts a Man by boldly asking if Him, “Are You for us, or for out adversaries.”
Without doubt this is the pre incarnate Jesus who responds not with an answer, but really with a challenge to Joshua. It was obviously Joshua that was now in the role of worshipper to show it was he that was on the Lord’s side. Then similar to his mentor Moses, Joshua removes his sandals because the presence of the Lord is holy.
Conclusion: It was not the radical acts of obedience that gained the Children of Israel their access to the Promised Land, but God delivering them into it. The Promised Land was not going to come without war, and that war was not going to be only a few battles. Here at Gilgal the Children of Israel receive victory from God as they radically obey Him. It will be played out in the physical world as they will shortly have victory in their first, and strangest, battle for the Land in chapter six.
For us, as we radically obey God in faith we can expect great spiritual victories.