I'm back from my one week sabbatical. I'm sure everyone enjoyed the change of pace with Charlie leading you through Ch. 5 and its discussion on the two kinds of memorials. Jack is going to love the lesson this week, it's all about the battles of Jericho and Ai.
I. Ch. 6 - Jericho, Achan, and Ai (a story within a story)
A. Theme 1 - Military history and strategy
B. Theme 2 - God's Judgment
II. Military history and strategy
A. Schaeffer does good job of explaining topography of land
B. Explains similarity between God's strategy and strategy subsequent strategy employed by others through the ages.
C. Hills lie immediately west of Jordan river valley
D. Jericho strategic stronghold at base of hills
E. Ai was high in the hills and would allow Israelites to control surrounding area
F. Also focused on Israelites core strength - light infantry and negated Canaanite strength in chariots.
E. Three Phases to overall strategy
1. Establish bridge-head west of the Jordan
2. Gain a foothold in the mountains west of the river valley
3. Spread out from the secured base on the central ridge to widen the area of occupation for permanent settlement
III. Taking of Jericho
A. God's plan
1. Walk silently around city once each day for 6 days
2. City was small probably only covered about 7 acres
3. Front of the army would probably meet the back of the army as they completed their circuit (i.e, they would have the city surrounded)
4. On seventh day walk around seven times and shout at the sound of the trumpet at the conclusion of the seventh circuit
5. Walls would then fall down and the city would be violently overthrown
B. "Battles of the Bible Explanation"
1. After seeing Israelites walking around city once each day for 6 consectutive days Canaanites would become complacent
2. By seventh day they would be lulled into believing nothing was going to happen, then the Israelites would attack while the Canaanites' guard was down
IV. Battle for City of Ai
A. Did Israelites get cocky or did they have a flawed plan?
B. Battles of the Bible says it was probably both
1. Israelite scouting reports were overly optimistic - only need 3,000 men
2. Underestimated great strength inherent in ruins prepared as defensive positions
C. We'll find out in second half of the lesson the real reason the Israelites failed in their initial attempt to capture Ai
D. Israelites were routed, chased back down the hills, and lost 36 men
V. The Other Story - God's Judgment
A. The city shall be accursed (Joshua 6:17)
1. Hebrew word used means both "accursed" and "devoted" (i.e., given to God)
2. Joshua told to spare Rahab and her family but burn everything else to the ground
3. Nothing was to be taken, no food, no gold, no silver, nothing. The "first fruits" of their victory over the Canaanites was to go to God (Joshua 6:19)
B. Achan's Sin
1. One man from tribe of Judah, Achan disobeyed decree took gold, silver, and Babylonian garment
2. Easy to understand why Achan was tempted to take gold and silver, but why the Babylonian garment - in a word, prestige. Anything Babylonian stood for success and power, it was chic.
3. Achan's sin had two parts, simple theft and pride
4. However, he didn't just steal from anyone. He stole from God!
VI. The Principle of Judgment
A. Four steps
1. When we sin God knows - can't hide it
2. When we sin the blessing stops or slows
3. Judgment will follow - all sin has consequences
4. Turning from sin (repentence) leads to a resumption in the blessing
B. Principle is seen time and time again throughout Bible and our lives today
C. One individuals sin can impact blessing of entire community
1. Achan sinned - Israelites suffered defeat at Ai
2. Not sure its because God punishes all for sins of one but because sin can have unintended consequences. There can and will be "collateral damage".
VII. Other Tidbits from the Lesson
A. Sin always begins in the mind
1. Interestingly Schaeffer points out that the 10th and last commandment is "Do not covet"
2. However, coveting precedes every other sin. "Before we break any of the other nine, we have coveted internally something either of God's or of another person's."
B. Achan's theft of the Babylonian garment
1. Does it teach us to beware of grasping for affluence, for prestige, of trying to be a VIP?
2. When we serve the Lord what is our motive?
a. Do we do it out of love and generosity, wanting to give back in a small way to our God?
b. Or, do we sometimes do it for the recognition, or to stroke our ego?
(1) Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Frances Schaeffer, InterVarsity Press 1975
(2) Battles of the Bible, Caim Herzog & Mordechan Gichon, Barnes & Noble Publishing 2006