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go ahead, grab your Bibles open up to Joshua chapter six. I’m going to talk through a story this morning that you probably all know even if this is your first time in church, you probably have at least a little bit of familiarity with it. But as you’re turning there, on February 24 of this year, Russian forces invaded Ukraine. And the world was appalled. Norrell was appalled in particular, as the days went by. And the weeks went by with the indiscriminate shelling of cities, so that non combatants were killed as well as soldiers. And that even seemed to be intentional at several points where hospitals were being hit, or shelter areas where it said quite clearly there are kids in this building, and they’re like, super, we’re going to aim at that one. So it was not just soldiers, but women and children who are being slaughtered. And of course, as the months have gone by, we’ve known they’re being tortured and raped as well. And so the world has been almost uniform in our condemnation of Russia’s invasion. This church is not a political entity. We do not take a political stance on almost anything. And yet we’ve got Ukraine’s colors out front on one of our trees. We didn’t put them there somebody else did. I don’t know who but even still, you’re kind of like, no, that’s cool. I think we’re pretty much on Ukraine side here. That’s That’s how uniform our condemnation was. Because what did you have you have an invading army, attacking an innocent nation and slaughtering innocent people for the purpose of conquest. And we’re appalled. Now read Joshua, and tell me what’s different.
And you can see why people got questions. As they look at the story of Jasmine. In fact, I had somebody asked me this question, a mature Christian, back in February happened to be in Joshua for her URI Bible reading and said, like I’m reading the news, and I’m reading Joshua, and how are we okay with us? That’s a great question. So this isn’t an added complication to the series. We look at people God killed beggar cheating this week, of course, because God didn’t kill them. We’ve got you know, Israel’s the one attacking here. So we’ve been looking at the question, why is it okay for God to kill people like Rosa and the Diab and Abby who or Saddam? And honestly, I’m not saying it’s easy to swallow. But the easy the answer itself is easy. God owes us nothing. Every breath we breathe is a gift from him. He could decide at any moment. Your time is up and he has that privilege. He’s the God of the universe, but that’s God, who is transcendently other who’s not just holy, but holy, holy, holy. The harder question is what makes it okay for Israel? Which is a ragtag bunch of sinners to do it. Right? That’s the harder question. It is the Holy War question and a lot of us are uncomfortable with holy war because how many times have armies used the name of whatever God To justify their barbaric acts is that what’s happening here we have an invading army attacking an innocent nation for the purpose of conquest. And we should condemn it. But as we’ll see, almost every word in that sentence is wrong. And that’s what we’re going to try and unpack as we dig in and crack some characters about Holy War as we go. So just a little different approach. I’m gonna read the whole passage for us up front. And since the story is pretty well known, I’m not going to go through verse by verse instead, we’re going to look at the main players involved here, and especially a lot of background information, both historically and biblically to begin to answer some of these questions. So let me read all of Joshua chapter six for us. Now, the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites, no one went out and no one came in. And the Lord said to Joshua, see, I have delivered Jericho into your hands along with its king and it’s fighting men marched around the city once with all the armed men do this for six days have seven pre scary trumpets of rams horns in front of the ark, on the seventh day, March around the city seven times when the priest with the priests blowing the trumpets, when you hear them sounded long blast on the trumpets have the whole army give a loud shout, and the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up. Everyone’s straight in. So Joshua son of non called the priests instead of them take up the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord and have seven pre scary trumpets in front of it. And he ordered the army advance march around the city with an armed guard going ahead of the ark of the Lord. When Joshua had spoken to people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the Lord went forward, blowing their trumpets in the ark of the Lord’s covenant followed them. The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets in the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding But Joshua had commanded the army do not give a war cry, Do not raise your voices do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout, then shout. So at the ark of the Lord carrying around a city circling at once, and the army returned to camp and spent the night there. Joshua got up early the next morning and preach to the ark of the Lord and seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward marching for the ark of the Lord and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the Lord while the trumpets kept sounding. So on the second day, they marched around the city once returned to the camp. They did this for six days. On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day, they circle the city seven times the seventh time around when the pre sound of the trumpet blasts, Joshua commanded the army shout, for the Lord has given you the city, the city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord, only Rahab, the prostitute and all who are with her and her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent, but keep away from the devoted things so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury. When the trumpet sounded, the army shouted and at the sound of the trumpet when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed. So everyone charged straighten and they took the city. They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it, men and women, young and old cattle, sheep and donkeys. Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land go into the prostitutes house and bring her out and all who belonged to her and according to their oath to her, so the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab her father and mother, her brothers and sisters, and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel. And they burned the whole city and everything in it. They put the silver golden the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house, but Josh was spared Rahab, the prostitute with her family and all who belonged her because she hid them in Joshua had sent his spies to Jericho, she lives among the Israelites to this day. At that time, Joshua pronounced the solemn oath, curse before the Lord is the one who undertakes to rebuild the city Jericho, the cost of his firstborn son, he will lay its foundations at the cost of his youngest he will set up at the gates, the Lord is with Joshua and his fame spread throughout the land.
Alright, let’s take a look at these players. Let’s start with the invaders themselves. So who exactly are these invaders, the nation of Israel? Is Israel simply using God or His name to justify the conquest of innocent peoples, the way many have done throughout history, even in the United States, you know, marching under the banner of manifest destiny or something like that to slaughter the indigenous? Do they have Hitler’s justification? In essence, why did Hitler begin invading Czechoslovakia and elsewhere was the idea of Lebensraum living space? We just need more elbow rooms we’re gonna have to take over some more land. Well look at Israel, they’re this great nation, couple million people, but they’re wandering around is this just Czechoslovakia and they’re marching into it at this point, because history doesn’t look kindly on invading armies. We got issues with conquest and colonization and the slaughtered indigenous. So we got questions. Except that’s not what’s happening. That’s not what’s happening in the slightest. Israel is a puny nation of former slaves. In fact, they have themselves been oppressed for more than 400 years at this point, having escaped Egypt by the strong hand of their God, they don’t head to boot camp. They’re not going to Navy SEAL training at this point. They’re wandering around in the desert, where the first generation is actually dying off in its entirety, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb. They didn’t have any weapons on them. Because as they were leaving Egypt, Egypt did not hand them their arms, weirdest thing. They did not find a stockpile of weapons in the desert. God was providing food for them. Yes, absolutely, probably could have provided weapons. Miraculously. He’s an omnipotent God after all, but we do not read that the quail came in with swords, so that they had meat and swords there. This is a group of people living on prison, fair bread and water miraculously provided Yes, but bread and water for 40 years, going up against an advanced military, with chariots, with fortresses, who are experienced in battle, and who are themselves conquerors, as we will see. I like the way Joshua Ryan Butler, I’ve mentioned the book skeletons and God’s closet already drawing quite a bit from it today as well, but he says this and there he says, you know, Canaan has fortified military outposts. Israel has a wooden box they built in the desert that houses the presence of their Lord, by the way, not gonna want to touch that box. As we learned in week two. Kanan has practiced military strategy on the surrounding nations again, their conquerors, Israel has been learning how to ward off snakes, and particularly unsuccessfully at a few points as well. Canaan has polished you army armor, whereas Israel has the rags they’ve been wearing in the desert for a few decades. You see the problem with our character. And this is not the strong, taking on the weak. It’s exactly the opposite. This is the weak taking on the strong this is the oppressed taking on the oppressor.
In fact, this is so odd. This is why they had to wander in the desert for 40 years, because they show up there the first time and some spies go through the land. 12 of them and they come back and they go, nope. We’re like grasshoppers before them. And you know what happens? The grasshoppers boots, that’s what happens to Grasshopper is not good thing. So we’re not going to do this. Only Joshua and Caleb say, Sure we can. We’ve got God on our side, no one else wants to do it. So they’re saying we would be insane to invade this country, we will lose. And so that’s important for us because like you expect a high school or a grade school bully to pick on the little kids on the playground. That’s what they do. You do not expect a grade school bully to take on the high school football team. That’s dumb. You don’t do it. In the same way. We expect genocidal dictators to wipe out dissidents and protesters are watching it happen in Iran right now. Those genocidal dictators rarely get in a tank by themselves and drive towards DC. Not a good option. Okay, so that’s what Israel’s doing here so you can see them something else must be at work is real is the little girl that’s been getting bullied, whose lunch money keeps getting stolen, finally taking on the bully. She is the group of protesters dissidents standing up against the dictator. In other words, these are not the invaders but if we’re going to fill in our blank here, these are the weak, the weak, they’re in tattered clothing, outmanned, and outgunned, absolutely hopeless, unless someone with a capital S helps. And so why are they doing this? Not because of the righteousness of the nation. Not because they think this is their right or something. But it’s the righteousness of the cause itself. It’s exactly the point God makes like this is not a group of people saying, we deserve this. God goes out of his way to make sure they know it’s the opposite of these are sinners saved by grace. Here’s what he says Deuteronomy nine verse four, says, Moses speaking people after the Lord your God has driven them out before you do not say to yourself, the Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness. No, it is not a count of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. So this is a nation that is weak physically and spiritually as well. We got to keep this verse in mind as we go as we look at the next one, because what’s the other major player here? So we’ve looked at Israel, the invaders were actually the weak ones. Look at those who are being invaded the innocents except that we’ve already seen that innocent isn’t the right word. We can fill in the blank immediately here because of Deuteronomy nine four, it is because of the wickedness of these nations, so it is on account of their wicked So God drives them out. Even as God calls Abraham to the Promised Land, like way back in Genesis 15, he lets Abraham know that it’s going to be a while. It’s going to be more than four centuries. And during that time, Israel is going to be enslaved and mistreated. Why, let’s look at Genesis 15 is verses 14 and 16. Know for certain that for 400 years, your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, but they will be enslaved and mistreated there. In the fourth generation, your descendants will come back here for the sin of the Emirates has not yet reached its full measure. So important, but look 400 years, when we talk about history, we sometimes lose sight of big numbers like 400 years is a long time what was happening 400 years ago, like the Plymouth Rock colony was maybe going to make it there, we’re starting to feel good about the fact that they could possibly survive. Like we’re talking Mayflower time anything changed in the world since then, like, you know, running water, electricity, little things. But so make sure you caught that Israel is going to be suffering injustice, oppression, mistreatment, slavery for a long time, a long time. So the complaint we make against God when we read of Jericho is not the complaint that Israel would have been making. We’re saying, God, how could you intervene like this? How could you judge this innocent nation? Israel’s going What took you so long? What took you so long that we had to suffer? How long Lord do we have to endure? And keep in mind this is Abraham’s family. I mean, you think of how he responded in Genesis 15 Like we get zealous for our family don’t
we? I think I’ve shared this before but you know, like the first time you hold a baby girl in your arms as a dad, I can speak from a lot of experience here. You just think so beautiful. I could kill someone no luck. That’s what’s changed in my life is now I’m capable of murder. Because if you mess with this girl, I’m gonna go Liam Neeson on you, just without the particular skill set is all and Abraham’s hearing this and going, that’s my family that you’re talking about. Why would you let them suffer for four centuries? Because God won’t judge too soon. That’s why God is so unimaginably patient. We keep worrying, is he flying off the handle when he kills? You have no idea how patient God is. He says their sins have to reach their full measure. I don’t want anyone to think I came in early here. We need to wait until their hearts have become irrevocably hardened that their culture is irremediably evil. Now what sin precisely are we talking about though? It’s a weird one, right? Because God takes Israel out of Egypt and then punishes Canaan. That’s another question I got. Why not punish mean Egypt Canaan’s, just they’re minding their own business and somehow they get thrown under the bus not at all. They are guilty of injustice and conquest and enslavement. Egypt gets punished to of course, by the way, so we’re gonna do like a quick study of the Bible as a whole give me like, five minutes, we’ll cover it. Alright. So scripture Presents Most of the battle between good and evil as a battle between two cities. Those two cities are almost always named Babylon and Jerusalem. Once Jerusalem is established, even in Revelation. It’s so interesting, Babylon has been wiped out. So completely wiped out that archaeologists actually didn’t think there was a Babylon until they tripped over it in the desert a few decades ago. So Babylon, so completely wiped out and yet in Revelation, we’re reading about Babylon waging war on the saints. Now, we’re talking about Rome, of course, because it’s got seven hills, which is actually true of Rome and not Babylon. But the point there is a Babylon is stands for something more. It’s not that one city in modern day Iraq. It is the city of man in rebellion against God, is what it looks like when the world stands against God’s rule. And so what is Babel? Where is it founded after the flood, it is the place where culture, not an individual, but culture first D, God’s God, the Tower of Babel, is the place where they say, What if we didn’t need God anymore? What if we made a name for ourselves, we could just like take care of ourselves. So that’s the place of rebellion against God. Here’s how Augustine describes these two cities, two loves built to cities, the earthly, which is built by the love of self, even to the contempt of God, and the heavenly which is built by the love of God, even to the contempt of self Babylon is that first city. That’s Biblical shorthand for that first city. Let’s watch this progression here as it happens to so Adam and Eve sin, and they get driven out of the garden. And God puts an angel at the entrance to the garden on what side on the east side of the garden. Flaming sore. Okay, interesting. So they must have gone out the east side, then Cain, you know, murders his brother, all that kind of stuff. And so he moves to not because he’s getting driven farther out. And whereas not it is East of Eden, we’re still moving eastward. And then here’s Genesis 11, verses two and four, right? As they’re about to build the Tower of Babel. As people moved eastward, they found a plane in China and settled there and said, Come, let us build ourselves a city with a tower that reaches the heavens that we may make a name for ourselves. That’s Babylon. Okay, but now some of you still have a question for me. You’re looking at me like that was so interesting. I’ve never seen that Easting before. That’s really cool. We’re talking about Canaan, not Babylon. Brandon. Like, you lost the plot here, guy. Okay, sure.
So we’re talking about Canaan. And God even says in Genesis 15, the sin of the Amorites. Specifically, we’re not really familiar with the Amorites. Today, that’s part of our problem. You know, who is familiar with the Amorites? Abraham, the one that God was talking to here, because they were really the founders of Babylonian culture. All the Babylonian kings and queens have Amorite names, who invaded or Abraham’s hometown, he was familiar with their conquest and their pillaging, and what’s happening. So they’re over in Iraq, and they’re moving steadily, westward. Every sin was being driven out eastward, and now it’s coming back westward. So what is happening here, God is being patient with these violent Kung keystores, who are building this ungodly Empire as they enslave surrounding people. It’s Babylon invading Eden. That’s what’s happening. And so that’s why God is against them, and why eventually they’re driven out of Canaan. And we got one last piece here, because this is all well and good. And you know, you look like you’re tracking me and all that kind of stuff. But the other question we still have is the women and kids like so who is in Jericho, exactly, verse 21, we saw that they’re supposed to devote the whole city to the Lord and put to the sword. Men, women, young, and old, nevermind a whole bunch of animals. So that’s part of our concern is we’re back to the non combatants being killed, it seems indiscriminately. But is that true? I think this is a misconception here. If you look back at verse two, it says, I have delivered Jericho in your hands along with its king. And it’s fighting men. He’s already kind of defined who was actually in that place King would have met more like military commander, then we are talking about a fortress. This is a military outpost Jericho. I know that’s not what we think of because we hear city and we think Kyiv we think a population center, center of culture where all these people are here. But in an agrarian society, you don’t live inside the city, because you got to make your own food. So you live out in your fields. You only time you ever go into the city is if they’re pillaging the villages kind of thing. And then you’re, you know, you go like Helm’s Deep, and you’re hanging out in the really big fortress kind of thing. But if they’re attacking the fortress, you make sure you get out and you go to your house in the fields and hope that nobody notices that you were there. So scholars have shown pretty conclusively that Jericho was his military outpost that would have housed about 150 soldiers. I know that’s not what you were picturing all these years. But that’s what it was. Actually. We know that it’s tiny to because you remember that on that seventh day, they walk around it seven times in a day. You walking around Chicago seven times in a day? No, not anywhere close to it. Not even if you’re a marathon kind of person. This is a tiny little place. So with a military outpost, of course, you’re gonna have a military outposts. What do you need to have? Well, a tavern would be nice, preferably with a prostitute. So you keep the soldiers happy. So we’ve got Rahab there, this tavern would be the place that people who were coming through would stay and in parts that the military could keep an eye on who was coming which they do if you go back and look at Joshua chapter two, we are not dealing with women and children here not that that would make them innocent by the way. Some of you ladies are Lexi we’re going to know your wicked sinners also Okay, let’s not be sexist here. The kids all the potential is there they just haven’t actualized it yet. Sure. I’m not sure that that innocent either but alright, so verse 21, though still says they put to the sword men, women, young and old. What about that? Let’s just Astok phrase that would mean the sum total, everybody who was there, it’s a little bit like, if you had an announcer or somebody who gets up on stage and says, Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, does that mean they’re all there necessarily? No, it’s just something we say, right? And that’s what we have here as well, even then they don’t necessarily kill everyone who is in there. It does say, they destroyed with a sword, everything that was in it at the end of the battle, but not those who fled. Joshua and the Israelites.
You know, as they defeat the army, we read later that they would it would say things like, they defeated them completely. And the survivors fled. We were like, Well, which one? Is it? Both? Exactly. So what do we have here? It’s not invaders attacking an innocent nation, but oppressed slaves rising up against bloodthirsty conquerors. So if you are somebody who pictures all military engagements in terms of world war two analogies, which is how I work for sure. If you’re picturing Joshua, as Hitler and Israel as Germany and World War Two, you need to drastically revise your analogy. This is much more like the Jews in Dachau and Auschwitz, rising up against the prison guards and the Nazi military. Now, why didn’t they rise up and Dachau and Auschwitz? Because you’re outmanned and outgunned, like you would need to win a miracle. And that takes us to the third point, what is the intent here? Because that then changes our understanding of the intent of the of this invasion. This is not Israel invading for the purpose of conquest. This is God doing something because Israel can’t do anything. the ridiculousness of the story makes this clear. There. There’s no power here. There’s no strategy here that’s going to win this battle. What they’re doing is insanity. Unless God shows up, and then all of that changes, of course, that’s often God’s military strategy. He wants His people to do absolutely insane things. So that they know that the victory was his and not theirs. You got a nine foot tall giant that wants to take on somebody in the army, you know, it’d be best, a pipsqueak who’s so small, no military experience so small, he can’t even wear the armor because he can’t move in it. And if the big giant beats the little guy, we all become slaves. Good strategy. Good strategy. Okay, well, I love this one too with Gideon, right as he’s going to fight the Moabites 32,000 people and God says 32,000 means you guys are gonna think you did that. How about we sent home 31,700 of them. And the 300 of you can take on the Moabite army. That sounds good. Because then there’s no confusion. We know that it was God I have hanging in my office, Exodus 1414, the Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still. The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still by the way, this totally changes another verse, though a lot of us like, so you do your quiet time every morning. And you got your arm chair, right? With your favorite pillow and your nice throw blanket on these chilly fall mornings and stuff. And on one side is hanging is from Hobby Lobby. It’s got the same calligraphy that every other side in the world has right now. And it says this house runs on Jesus plus coffee. And on the other side. It says I know some of you are like he’s making fun of me. I’m making fun of a lot of you right now. Okay. And on the other side, it says Psalm 46, verse 10. Be still and know that I am God. You want to know what that has nothing to do with your quiet time. That is a holy war verse. Just like Exodus 1414. You need only to be still what God is saying in that moment is sit down, shut up, and just watch what I’m going to do. We know that. But if you were to read all of Psalm 46, and put the verse in context and stuff, right before it God’s talking about breaking the bow and shattering the spear, he’s going to make wars cease to the ends of the earth. And we just watch him work in his power. Israel is not fighting, you know, in God’s name under God’s banner in order to expand their empire. Not at all. God is fighting for Israel to dismantle this ungodly empire that stands in rebellion against Him. This is exactly what we saw last week. I told you this was part two and I had somebody be like, it’s not part two. I read it. It’s not part two. It is part two, I promise you okay, what is happening here is what we saw last week. God is driving hell out of Earth. And that’s what he’s doing right here. The Promised Land is the first colony of heaven. then being established among this hellish existence that we endure, so God is taking on the powers of darkness at work in this world.
This is not again Hitler, or the keystores, attacking Canaan, but this is God at work for those who are in the concentration camps for the natives who are being slaughtered. Joshua Ryan Butler, he says it like this, I think is a great quote, true Holy War is not when we strap bombs to our chests and say, We will fight for God. But it’s contradiction when God steps in for the vulnerable and defenseless and says, I will fight for you. But this still raises questions for us, like how do we reconcile the violence of this conquest with God’s love? And the answer is that we have to look at his intent, which is very different, Miroslav Volf, who endured the wars of the Balkans, he’s seen all the atrocities that were going on now in the world, and he says it like this. He says, God’s violence is so different from our violence, because God’s violence is a violence against violence. God is taking on violence itself, the injustice, the evil that undergirds it. So when God acts decisively like this, it is His holy love being poured out against the destructive power of sin, to love overwhelming the power of sin. God’s intent, then is not war. God’s intent is peace. The peace we talked about last week, it is shalom, that fullness of peace that is so much more than just the absence of conflict, but the presence of human flourishing the presence of justice and righteousness in order for God, to bring in this peace, establish this peace on the earth, he must destroy evil. And that does correct another misconception for us. The goal is not to destroy the Canaanites, but to drive evil out, then drive hell out of earth. He read this language throughout, here’s Deuteronomy 1123. This is Moses talking about what Joshua is going to do. The Lord will drive out all these nations before you and you will dispossessed nations larger and stronger than you again, they’re the ones being buoyed not the opposite. And then what happens at the end, Joshua 23, verse nine, what happened, the Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations this day, no one has had been able to withstand you. So the goal is not destruction, but driving out it is the language of exile, not execution. effect, the first time that that language is used being driven out is in Genesis chapter three, when Adam and Eve are driven out of Eden, they’re exiled from the place they were supposed to be. This is part of why the conquest begins with this display of unmatched power. The walls just fall down when they shout, why? Because God is hoping the Canaanites will melt with fear and flee, so that they will not be destroyed. Make sense of the very last verse of the chapter, doesn’t it? Verse 27, their fame spread. That’s good, because it means people are gonna go. I don’t want any of that. I should go, I should leave. It actually goes even further than that, though. It’s not just that they have the opportunity to flee. The possibility of redemption is always there for anyone who would take it. It’s interesting in verse one, we read that the gates are shut. Richard Hess, he’s a commentator on Joshua says that that’s almost symbolic. The gates are shut against the people of God, just as surely as their hearts are shut against the word of God. They had heard stories of the God of Israel and what he had done in Egypt, why not rather than turn and be saved? Even seven times around the city and that’s on the seventh day? What do they do in that whole time, like, put the slushies down and just repent? That was a test to see how many you grew up in the 90s in church, okay, if you don’t know why I just mentioned slushies. You are missing out? That’s all I’ll say. They’re marching around the city seven times that the people would go, I quit. I quit. I don’t want to do this. I’m with them. I’m going with them. Instead. We’ve seen it even when we saw the proffered grace. And we saw someone who sees that I’ve skipped her this whole time. But this is Rahab. The gates of the city are shut tight.
But her window is open. Just like her heart is Rahab is proof of God’s plans and his heart even for those in rebellion against Him. You can be saved. God’s heart is for the nations people from east and west coming together. This is not ethnic cleansing or anything like that. The kingdom of God is open to all who would end Here we read of this Canaanite, who becomes part of Israel, the people of God. In fact that even says in verse 25, she lives among them. Still she is a true Israelite at this point. How completely Is she an Israelite, by the way? Let’s look at Matthew chapter one, we’ll see verses five and six is the genealogy the part you skip in your your Bible reading, don’t skip it. There’s important stuff there. Pick it up in the middle of it, Simone, the father of Boaz, whose mother was Frey hab, the pagan prostitute. And yet she marries an Israelite. And I have this baby boy named Boaz, who’s the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, by the way, book of the Bible, named after her kind of cool story. Oh, and keep in mind, she’s a Moabite, which means that his daughters all that icky stuff from last week. Here’s that story being redeemed. And Ruth and Boaz have a little baby named Obed, who’s the father of Jesse and Jesse, he’s the father of King David. And the genealogy doesn’t end there. The genealogy ends with Jesus, the Savior of the world you look at as an ancestral tree. And there’s Rahab, the prostitute from Canaan. And there’s Ruth, the Moabite. That’s his redemptive purpose. God’s purpose is peace. His plan is peace. He’s declaring war on violence. He’s building a kingdom of peace. But to do that, he’s got to drive out the kingdom of darkness to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. And that takes us to our last point here, we’re moving out of Joshua and into the rest of the Bible. What is the ideal? What is the fulfillment, the culmination of all of this, like Sodom last week, Jericho functions as a symbol of what’s to come? Like Israel in the Promised Land is not the climax of this story. It is pointing towards a greater fulfillment. We know that because Israel brings a whole lot of sin into the promised land. We’re going to read it next week in Joshua chapter seven. Okay, the next story is where we’re going here, okay, so they bring sin into the promised land, they prostitute themselves to Canaanite gods, and they imitate Canaanite practices. Which means the Bible tells us early on, we need a new and better Joshua. Joshua, by the way, and Hebrew was Yeshua. If you were to translate that into Latin, it sounds an awful lot like Jesus. That’s who we need a better Joshua to lead us into a better promised land to lead us into and here’s the fill in the blank, the ideal to lead us into the city of God, the heavenly city, where sin will be no more.
Jesus defeat sin by being defeated by it. And contrast to Jericho, the walls fall on him. he conquers death by descending into the grave. But that’s not the end of the story. He rises on the third day in triumph, and raises all those who trust in Him to new spiritual life, so that we can live as heavenly exiles that outpost of a future kingdom here on earth, and then he will return and final victory, to wage war on the city of man. We read and revelation of a rider on a white horse whose name is faithful and true, who judges in justice. That’s Jesus. Again, what language does revelation use for the city of man? Babylon, a sin of the Amorites, rebellion, injustice, evil and violence, Christ rides to victory destroys every country, Dominion, authority, and power all of Hell’s lackeys on Earth. With the same power that knocks over Jericho is walls he ends once and for all the empires of evil, the structures and cultures of the city of man and he establishes this new city, the heavenly Jerusalem, the fulfillment of Eden, by the way, it is a city Yes. And right in the middle that is a tree. It’s a garden and a city all at once Eden’s purpose is fulfilled, we know that in that city, there will be no sin, no evil, no morning, why no morning because the destructive power of evil has been driven out and all of the effects that break our hearts so interesting, too, we read that the city descends from heaven. It’s totally opposite from everyone was like what we’re talking about last week, right? This is not we ascend to heaven. Heaven comes down to earth, the new heavens and the new earth are reconciled together. The angel shows John and this division how big this city is? It’s 15,000 Miles cubed. That is a big city. Good luck walking around that one seven times. That’s the size of a country isn’t why? Because there’s room for all who would enter city is so big that if a rock like that landed on Earth, it would knock us off our axis and out of our orbit. And it’s cubed. Isn’t that fascinating? Cities are not cubed. That was like a really tall building 15,000 miles, right. Why is it cubed revelation deals and highly symbolic language. Of course, there’s only one other cube significant in Scripture. It’s the most holy place. The temple is, you know, three long and one high in the most holy places, a third of that it’s a perfect cube, you see the point, right, all of heaven will become that most holy place. But for that to happen, God has got to root sin out and that means we are in trouble, said it. Last week, we’re all living in Sodom because Saddam lives in all of us. We’re all living in Jericho and Babylon. Two, we participate in the structures and cultures of the city of man in so many ways. And so that’s kind of bad. First of all, that’s one reason why we gather, right when we come here, this is that future kingdom. This is an embassy of that future kingdom, we come to remember where we’re headed, and hopefully kind of pull up the roots a bit so that we don’t put roots down in Babylon, Jericho, and Saddam. But there’s bad news because that sin is in us. So I want to leave us with an encouragement, and a challenge as we go from here. The encouragement is Rahab story is our story. We Rahab story is the story of the shepherd going after that one lost sheep. You got sin in your life? Yes, so did she. And we can be saved if we trust in God. Every Canaanite can become an Israelite, a part of the people of God by faith in Christ Jesus. But you don’t get to carry your sin into the heavenly city. And that’s the challenge then the encouragement is we’re saved by grace. So it’s okay that you’re a sinner. But the challenge is put that sin to death. As Paul tells us in Romans eight, the Christian life is a life of warfare.
We do not wage war against flesh and blood though. We wage war against the powers of darkness. This is why in Ephesians, six, Paul tells us, we got to make ourselves ready for battle. We got to put on the armor of God the gospel, to declare total war on the sin in our lives. Where does sin remain in your heart even now? Where are their Geragos fortified cities? Where you are protecting and cherishing your sin and unwilling to let the gospel come in? Where are you stoking Hell’s fires within you still? Jesus came to save us Yes, but Jesus came to purify us to to drive the sin out of us to fit us for heaven to live with him there if I can quote the Christmas carol a few months too early, early. Let’s sum up. Israel is not slaughtering the innocence for the purpose of conquest. No, God is fighting for Shalom. The City of God is breaking into the kingdom of man, God fights the wicked on behalf of the week to bring the peace of Heaven into this world. That’s what holy war is. Let me say it again. God fights the wicked on behalf of the week to bring the peace of Heaven into this world and into our hearts. Let’s pray. Lord, we do pray that even now your kingdom would break in in our lives. We can confess that there are Jericho within us whose walls oftentimes we would prefer not to fall down. Put in our heart of hearts in the deepest place. Lord when we behold your beauty we know we want you to conquer that territory to would you God would you help us to put our sin to death by the spirit that we might see the kingdom of heaven established fully in our hearts love with your kingdom come and your will be done beginning in us but in this world to how we pray that you would Dr. evil and wickedness and injustice from this world. It is what we all long for when we cry out for justice. Lord, we pray that that would happen as many many many rehabs repent and choose to become a part of your Are people and to let you drive the sin out of their hearts? And may we be bold and winsome and loving ambassadors of that coming kingdom for their sakes. Lord, we know how this story ends. We know what you are planning to do. And as we see that Lord, we pray even so, Lord Jesus quickly. Amen. Amen.