Joshua's Fame

Jericho falls, Joshua rises. Careful now.

Joshua 6 (6)

Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying, “Cursed be the man before the LORD who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.” So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout all the country. Joshua 6.26, 27

1.  How was it evident that the Lord was with Joshua? 

2.  Joshua’s fame “spread throughout all the country.” What do you suppose was being said about him?

Think about it.
Joshua’s cursing any future rebuilding of the city of Jericho put a kind of finality to Israel’s victory. We might wonder why Jericho wasn’t one of the cities the Israelites were to defeat then take over for themselves. The utter destruction of Jericho, as the first of many victories to come, may have been symbolic of the conquest of Canaan as a whole. God’s intention was to remove all the Canaanites and all aspects of their religious culture from the land, although – unlike Jericho – to leave cities and farms intact.

Jericho would only be rebuilt at the cost of (Hebrew: with) a man’s first-born and youngest sons. He who laysthe foundation would also lay down his first born, and he who raises the gates would do so at the expense of his youngest child. Joshua’s curse stood firm and befell Hiel when he undertook to rebuild Jericho during the time of Ahab (1 Kgs. 16.33, 34).

That the LORD was with Joshua would have been obvious to all in a variety of ways: his understanding of God’s will, ability to lead the people, courage, purity, and, not least of all, his success. Jesus promises to be with us always (Matt. 28.20). Given the impact of God’s presence with Joshua, the promise of Jesus being with us always ought to give us reason to reflect and rejoice.

Joshua’s fame spread. I’m sure he knew this was the case. How would he handle his new-found fame? Not always well, as it turns out.

Meditate and discuss.
1.  How should people be able to tell that Jesus is with us always?

2.  Like Joshua, Jesus’ fame went throughout the country (Matt. 4.24). Is Jesus’ fame still resonating throughout the country and the world? How?  

3.  There are hidden dangers in being someone of note. Such as?

“Because Hiel is translated as ‘living for God’ and Bethel as ‘house of God,’ Hiel of Bethel restores Jericho’s walls (which Joshua had destroyed and cursed) whenever any who have taken up the religious life in the church resume doing the evil deeds for which the Lord Jesus forgave them on the day of [their] baptism and whenever they who have renounced the devil’s pomp return to it by wanton living or prefer false doctrines or Gentile fables to the church’s truth in which they were instructed.” The Venerable Bede (672-735 AD)

Let me not seek to rebuild the wickedness and sin You have broken down in my life, O Lord; instead, let me…

Pray Psalm 44.1-8.

As you pray, reflect on Joshua’s victory and God’s presence with Him. Call on the Lord to be with you in all your labors this day. Trust in Him alone to give you victory over every foe.

Psalm 44.1-8, 23-26 (Faithfulness: Great is Thy Faithfulness)
O God our ears have heard, ancients have taught us, 
All that You did for them long years ago, 
How by Your hand You defeated the nations, 
And to the promised land let Israel go.
Refrain vv. 23-26 
Rise up, awake, O Lord! Hide not Your face from us, 
See our affliction, our suffering and pain!
See how our soul is sunk down with oppression; 
Rise up and help and redeem us we pray!

Not by their sword did they drive out the nations; 
Not by their arm did they settle the land.
Your saving mercy and light triumphed for them:
Victories for us, our King, please now command.

Through You shall we all our enemies vanquish; 
Them will we trample in Your mighty Name.
We will not trust in our strength or our wisdom; 
Jesus will save us; we’ll boast of His fame!

T. M. Moore

Where does the book of Joshua fit in the ongoing story of God’s covenant? Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you discover the place in God’s work of redemption not only of Joshua but of all the books of the Bible. God’s Covenant is a valuable resource to guide you in all your studies in God’s Word. To order your copy, click here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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