Everyone seems to know the story of the battle of Jericho. Songs have been written about it and many movies have featured it. CD’s, DVD’s, coloring books, and Sunday School materials galore have featured it. Archeologists still study the site in Israel today. And it is an important city and event for what happened there as Joshua led the Israelite nation across the Jordan and into the destruction of the city. And you know the events and the story of Rahab and the two spies which resulted in Rahab’s entire family being saved from certain death. The book of Hebrews explained how Rahab escaped, “By faith Rahab the harlot perished not with them that were disobedient, having received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31 ASV).
There were six days of one trip around the city by religious leaders and the soldiers and finally the seventh day marked with seven trips around the city, a lot of shouting, the collapse of the walls and the total destruction on the city except for the silver, gold, and iron and brass vessels. “So the people shouted, and the priests blew the trumpets; and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, that the people shouted with a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, both young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.” (Joshua 6:20-21 ASV) It was not an easy victory and I am sure it was not a pretty sight for anyone. But God’s ongoing fight against evil has never been easy or pretty for mankind.
Why did God demand that Jericho’s inhabitants and all the inhabitants of the land that Israel was to possess be killed? When you read the Old Testament you learn that the Canaanites and the other tribes in the land practiced child sacrifice, incest, bestiality, homosexuality and other disgusting things that most individuals and countries in world history and even today would regard as degrading and immoral. The Israelites were warned by God that when they entered the Promised Land they were not to engage in these behaviors or tolerate anyone who did. In fact God indicated in His Word that the Israelites would be used as God’s force to bring His judgment on these people. You should read Genesis 15:16; Leviticus 18:21-30; 20:2-5; Deuteronomy 7:1-5;12:24-31; 20;10-19 to see what God says about this. God has not changed. God still hates sin and God does not want to see His people involved in sin or anyone for that matter. Though God is a God of love He still is a God who judges sin. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17 NIV). The world lives under God’s condemnation because of sin but God provides redemption through His Son Jesus.