—SEPT. 1.—JOSH. 6:8-20.—
Golden Text—"By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were compassed about seven days."—Heb. 11:30.
LONG before the Canaanites had been accursed! Long before their land had been promised to the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! The Lord's time had now come to give possession; and the place of entrance was close to Jericho. Jericho was accursed or condemned: its time of judgment had come as that of Sodom four centuries before in the same rich, fertile valley. But God would vary the method for a purpose. As he had made of the Sodomites an illustration of those who would suffer everlasting destruction or second death (Jude 7), so he would now illustrate another thing in the Jerichoites: he would show in their slaughter, how the "old man" of our fallen nature is to be utterly destroyed by us as "new creatures" under the lead and instruction of the real Joshua—Jesus.
Nothing could be done,—none could fight against Jericho until they had been circumcised; which typified the circumcision of the heart, the putting away, the cutting off, of the love of sin from the hearts of the true Israelites. The next lesson to be typified was that our power over our natural desires (represented by the Jerichoites) must come from God. The natural desires and appetites are protected by strong walls, the will of the flesh, which first must be broken down before we as "new creatures" can conquer our natural selves, our depraved appetites or desires.
This power of God in the type was shown in the fall of Jericho's wall; but before it fell the faith of the circumcised ones was made active as shown in the seven days marching around the city and seven times on the seventh day representing completeness. The slaughter of the Jerichoites, then, represented the victory of true Israelites over self-will, self-love, self-indulgence and over every enemy of the new nature—for the two are contrary one to the other and one or the other must die.—Compare Gal. 5:16,17.
Everything in Jericho was accursed, condemned or devoted; and so everything in and of our carnal nature is condemned or devoted—every living creature must be put to death. This represents that every active influence and principle of the fallen nature must be destroyed, "Mortify [kill] therefore, your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence [desire], and covetousness [greed], which is idolatry."—See Col. 3:5-10.
Yet the deliverance of Rahab (who afterward married into the tribe of Judah and became an Israelite, and has the honor of being one of the ancestors of our Lord Jesus), shows in type that some of our members once enemies of the new nature may be so transformed that instead of being the servants of sin they may become servants of righteousness, through full consecration. For instance, talents for speaking, writing, teaching, singing, etc., once used in the service of Satan and sin may be reckoned dead and quickened to newness of life and activity in God's service. But as such a transfer could only be through a reckoned death and quickening through faith in the great sacrifice for sin, this too must be illustrated in the type. And it was illustrated in the act of faith which displayed the scarlet cord.
The inanimate valuables, the gold, silver, brass and iron vessels, etc., were all consecrated, too, but not to destruction; they were to be devoted to the Lord's service. So with the truly circumcised Israelites indeed: not only are all their carnal powers to be destroyed as servants of sin but all that they possess is to be consecrated to the Lord's service, their treasures of gold and silver and their ordinary possessions represented in the vessels of brass and iron. All must now be considered as belonging to the Lord: and any appropriation of these to their own selfish uses brings a curse as was illustrated by the sin of Achan, who appropriated of the spoils of Jericho, some gold and silver and a fine Babylonish garment. The result of his covetousness was his own destruction and for a time he troubled all Israel.
So, amongst the spiritual Israelites covetousness of gold, silver and the fine Babylonish garments, is a most fruitful source of spiritual weakness and in many leads to destruction. "For the love of money is a root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. They that will [to] be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."—1 Tim. 6:9-11.
The blowing of the trumpets by the priests may well be understood to typify the proclamation of God's Word against sin and his assurance to his people that he is able and willing to give the circumcised new creatures victory over their carnal propensities. Not until we understand the assurance of the Word of the Lord and have faith therein are we able to blend the shout of victory with the sound of the trumpets and see the obstacles to self-mortification fall before us.