What God Has Given, Man Must Receive

[467 words]

Joshua 6 is where Israel “fights” the battle of Jericho. In reality, even though Israel took the city, there would be no taking if God had not first given. Hebrews 11 tells us that the faith that took the city of Jericho was the faith that caused the walls to fall down (Heb. 11:30). Notice some principles of God giving and man receiving that carry over today:

God speaks about Jericho’s defeat as a foregone conclusion (Jos. 6:2). The Commander of the Lord’s army speaks for God and as God and says, “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and its mighty men of valor.” Wait! They were still looking at the city at this point. The walls were still standing. The king still secure. The mighty men of valor still alive. Yet, our God is the God who looks at things in terms of His power. He is the God who “calls the things that are not, as though they were” (Rom. 4:17).

God shows Israel what they MUST do to receive the city (Josh. 6:3-5). Notice and underline the command words (i.e. “you shall”). They occur eight times in three verses. God is not unclear with His instructions. Joshua might have been scratching his head about the means by which God would grant victory (yet, see point #1, but the instructions to receive victory were crystal clear).

God expected Israel to be completely obedient (Josh. 6:6-16). God did not give Joshua a voice to be able to provide input into His plan to take the city. Joshua’s responsibility as God’s leader was to be submissive and obedient and to faithfully carry that message to the people so they receive the city that God gave them.

God gave them the city by grace and man received it by faith (Josh. 6:16; Heb. 11:30). The recipe for faith: “God speaks in His power + man believes and obeys in his faith = man receives the promise of God.” This stands true no matter what the interaction with God. Man cannot please God if he does not have the faith to obey (Heb. 11:6).

As a single application, realize we can talk till we are blue in the face with people about the importance of baptism. God has purposed removal of sins, sanctification, justification and salvation through baptism (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-28; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; 1 Pet. 3:21). It is what MUST be done in obedience (Acts 9:6; 22:16). God gives salvation by grace, but man will never receive it until he follows the command by faith (Rom. 6:17). God grant us people who are ready by faith to take Him at His word.

Andy Baker
Graeber Road church of Christ
Rosenberg, TX

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