Focal passage: Joshua 6:12-25
Amazingly, Jericho still exists. It boasts a population of more than 20,000 and is geographically the lowest permanently inhabited site on earth. But there is something missing, and that is the old Jericho that tumbled down during Joshua’s conquest.
According to archaeologists, the retaining wall was about 15 feet high. On top of that was a mud brick wall six feet thick and about 25 feet tall. Then outside the retaining wall was another mud brick wall about 45 feet tall. Certainly the Jericho leaders felt confident their double-walled city was impenetrable.
The biblical story of Joshua and Jericho is a story of great conquest, and a story of great faith. There is the Rahab faith story. When the spies stealthily entered the city, God ordained they befriend Rahab and her family. Rahab housed the spies and protected them from the king, ensuring them a safe exit. For her assistance, Rahab and her family’s lives would be spared. They would also become a part of the fledgling Hebrew nation.
Second, there is the ark story. The “ark of the covenant” was central to their battle plan. In verse 12 we hear of the ark and priests before we hear of the trumpets and swords and soldiers.
Third, there is the obedience story. Everyone was required to do his or her part according to the plan. It was a seven-day plan, with precise instructions to follow each day. The walls came down because of the blowing of the trumpet and the shouting (v. 20), but even that was part of the master plan.
Fourth, there is the clean-up plan. No resident of Jericho, no animal of Jericho and no treasure of Jericho was allowed to live or be kept. The conquest was a complete annihilation.
We need conquests, and the Jericho conquest gives us a hopeful model. Rahab, with her checkered past, found that faith can conquer public opinion and sin. Joshua and the people experienced the joy of conquest because they put God first and trusted in each other.