1. THE CAPTAIN OF THE LORD’S HOST
a. When the Israelites were encamped on the eastern side of the Jordan River, Joshua was seeking the help of the Lord in view of the conquest of Jericho. Who did he see as he arose from prayer? Joshua 5:13–15.
“It was Christ, the Exalted One, who stood before the leader of Israel.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 488.
b. What instruction did He give him? Joshua 6:2–5. What previous assurances from Christ gave Joshua courage to carry out his mission? Joshua 1:5, 6, 9.
“In obedience to the divine command Joshua marshaled the armies of Israel. . . . They were simply to make the circuit of the city, bearing the ark of God and blowing upon trumpets. . . . The ark of God, surrounded by a halo of divine glory, was borne by priests clad in the dress denoting their sacred office. The army of Israel followed, each tribe under its standard. Such was the procession that compassed the doomed city.”—Ibid.
c. On what condition do we have the same comforting assurance today? Matthew 28:20; James 1:5.
2. GOD’S MERCY AND JUSTICE
a. What happened on the seventh day? Joshua 6:15, 16, 20, 21.
“All the inhabitants of the city [of Jericho], with every living thing that it contained, ’both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass’ (Joshua 6:21), were put to the sword. . . .The city itself was burned; its palaces and temples, its magnificent dwellings with all their luxurious appointments, the rich draperies and the costly garments, were given to the flames. That which could not be destroyed by fire, ’the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron’ (verse 24), was to be devoted to the service of the tabernacle. The very site of the city was accursed; Jericho was never to be rebuilt as a stronghold; judgments were threatened upon anyone who should presume to restore the walls that divine power had cast down. . . . The utter destruction of the people of Jericho was but a fulfillment of the commands previously given through Moses concerning the inhabitants of Canaan.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 491, 492.
b. As the Lord had already demonstrated in the case of Sodom (Genesis 18:32), how did He show again that He does not destroy the righteous with the wicked? Joshua 6:22, 23.
“Only faithful Rahab, with her household, was spared, in fulfillment of the promise of the spies.”—Ibid., pp. 491.
c. What declaration of Jesus shows that there is hope for all sinners on condition of repentance? Matthew 21:28–31; Luke 13:1–5. What assurance does He give them? John 6:37.
“Whatever the appearance may be, every life centered in self is squandered. Whoever attempts to live apart from God is wasting his substance. He is squandering the precious years, squandering the powers of mind and heart and soul, and working to make himself bankrupt for eternity. The man who separates from God that he may serve himself is the slave of mammon.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 200, 201.
3. GOD’S MERCY AND JUSTICE (CONTINUED)
a. Why was the destruction of Jericho and its inhabitants necessary? Wouldn’t it have been better to try to evangelize them? Genesis 15:13–16; Deuteronomy 9:4; Isaiah 26:10.
“[Deuteronomy 7:2; 20:16 quoted.] To many these commands seem to be contrary to the spirit of love and mercy enjoined in other portions of the Bible, but they were in truth the dictates of infinite wisdom and goodness. . . .
“The inhabitants of Canaan had been granted ample opportunity for repentance. Forty years before, the opening of the Red Sea and the judgments upon Egypt had testified to the supreme power of the God of Israel. . . . All these events were known to the inhabitants of Jericho.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 492.
b. How are evangelists warned about the opponents to the truth who are incurably dishonest? Matthew 7:6. How does the apostle Paul admonish us not to waste much time with such people? Titus 3:10, 11.
“[Matthew 7:6 quoted.] Jesus here refers to a class who have no desire to escape from the slavery of sin. By indulgence in the corrupt and vile their natures have become so degraded that they cling to the evil and will not be separated from it. The servants of Christ should not allow themselves to be hindered by those who would make the gospel only a matter of contention and ridicule.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 129.
c. Why should we be always prepared to give others the benefit of choice? 1 Samuel 16:7 (second part).
“Many choose darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. But there are those who, if the truth could have been presented in a different manner, under different circumstances, giving them a fair chance to weigh the arguments for themselves and to compare scripture with scripture, would have been charmed by its clearness and would have taken hold upon it.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 426, 427.
4. GOD IS STILL WILLING TO DO GREAT THINGS
a. How was the faith of the people of Israel tested in connection with the miracle that the Lord wrought in Jericho? Hebrews 11:30.
“The Captain of the Lord’s host communicated only with Joshua; He did not reveal Himself to all the congregation. . . . They might have reasoned: ‘What unmeaning movements are these, and how ridiculous the performance of marching daily around the walls of the city, blowing trumpets of rams’ horns. This can have no effect upon those towering fortifications.’ But the very plan of continuing this ceremony through so long a time prior to the final overthrow of the walls afforded opportunity for the development of faith among the Israelites. It was to be impressed upon their minds that their strength was not in the wisdom of man, nor in his might, but only in the God of their salvation. They were thus to become accustomed to relying wholly upon their divine Leader.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 493.
b. What lesson does this event teach us? John 14:12; 1 John 5:4.
“As on the occasion of the taking of Jericho, not one of the armies of Israel could boast of exercising their finite strength to overthrow the walls of this city, but the Captain of the Lord’s host planned that battle in the greatest simplicity, that the Lord God alone should receive the glory and mortals should not be exalted. God has promised us all power.”—Christ Triumphant, p. 136.
“God will do great things for those who trust in Him. The reason why His professed people have no greater strength is that they trust so much to their own wisdom, and do not give the Lord an opportunity to reveal His power in their behalf. He will help His believing children in every emergency if they will place their entire confidence in Him and faithfully obey Him.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 493.
“The greatest victories to the church of Christ or to the individual Christian are not those that are gained by talent or education, by wealth or the favor of men. They are those victories that are gained in the audience chamber with God, when earnest, agonizing faith lays hold upon the mighty arm of power.”—Ibid., p. 203.
5. HOW CAN WE OBTAIN VICTORIES
a. What warning and promise of Jesus should we always keep in mind? John 15:5, 7.
“Henceforward Christ’s followers were to look upon Satan as a conquered foe. Upon the cross, Jesus was to gain the victory for them; that victory He desired them to accept as their own. ‘Behold,’ He said, ‘I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you’ (Luke 10:19).
“The omnipotent power of the Holy Spirit is the defense of every contrite soul. Not one that in penitence and faith has claimed His protection will Christ permit to pass under the enemy’s power. The Saviour is by the side of His tempted and tried ones. With Him there can be no such thing as failure, loss, impossibility, or defeat; we can do all things through Him who strengthens us. When temptations and trials come, do not wait to adjust all the difficulties, but look to Jesus, your helper.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 490-493.
“We can do nothing of ourselves. In all our helpless unworthiness we must trust in the merits of the crucified and risen Saviour. None will ever perish while they do this. The long, black catalogue of our delinquencies is before the eye of the Infinite. The register is complete; none of our offenses are forgotten. But He who listened to the cries of His servants of old, will hear the prayer of faith and pardon our transgressions. He has promised, and He will fulfill His word.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 203.
“Those who are unwilling to forsake every sin and to seek earnestly for God’s blessing, will not obtain it. But all who will lay hold of God’s promises . . . will succeed.”—Ibid.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. When Christ revealed Himself to Joshua, what instruction did He give along with His own assurance?
2. How did the Lord demonstrate His mercy in the destruction of Jericho?
3. With what class of sinner are we warned not to waste much time?
4. How can we obtain our greatest victories as individuals and as a church?
5. What is the secret to overcoming sin in our life?