Tim Keller | September 22, 1996
Many of you have probably heard of the battle of Jericho. But you probably didn’t know about what happens in these first three verses. These verses make all the difference.
Jericho was a huge city, a fortified city, and humanly speaking, an impossible city for the Israelites to handle. It’s important to remember that this is not the first time Joshua has been to Jericho. In this passage, Joshua goes out all by himself and looks at it. He’s remembering something that happened 40 years before. When he gets out there, he has this amazing encounter with God.
There are three lessons we draw from this passage: 1) this is Jesus, 2) Jesus is absolutely holy, and 3) Jesus had a drawn sword.
Joshua’s meeting with the leader of God’s army gives us important lessons about the battle of Jericho. The story teaches us about bravery, respect for God, and not letting fear take over. It also shows us that the fight wasn’t about winning land, but about Joshua’s leadership even when the Israelites were scared and not strong fighters.
1. This is Jesus
The Angel of the Lord in the Bible is not an angel, but Jesus Himself before He was born as a human. This figure speaks with the authority of God and is worshipped, showing that He is special and has a unique role in connecting us with God. Jesus, being both God and sent by God, is the link between us and the Lord, playing His part as the Angel of the covenant and our heavenly helper.
2. Jesus is absolutely holy
When Jacob, Job, and Joshua met God, it was not a comforting experience. This shows how incredibly holy and great God is. Understanding that Jesus is holy and great, as well as loving, is important for real change in our lives. This change needs total surrender to Jesus without any conditions, accepting that He has full control over our lives.
3. Jesus had a drawn sword
Joshua was scared when he saw the Lord, but he also remembered the promise God made to Abraham. This promise was a preview of the Passover and how the lamb’s blood would protect people. Courage comes from remembering God’s kindness and the sacrifices Jesus made. When we grasp how much God loves us, we can stand before Him without fear, ready to be brave and follow His orders.
February Book Offer
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
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