the book of Joshua – listen

This is Day 9 of a series of posts for the month of October. I’m joining Kate Motaung over at Five Minute Friday for the annual Write 31 Days challenge.  I will write about themes found in the book of Joshua each day, with a different word prompt.

Today’s word prompt is  LISTEN.

A lot of commands fly about in the book of Joshua. Things that seems normal “go and spy and find out what we’re up against”. Things that seem crazy, “March for seven days and you’ll win. I promise.”

There was much to be done. They were taking over the Promised Land. Kings had to be defeated. Cities overtaken. God’s people were obeying (most of the time), listening to what he said and following through to be successful the physically take over the land.

But what about spiritually?

In chapter 5, they set aside time to circumcise the new generation. This can be a “huh?” moment in a book mostly about war. Was it wise to delay a whole section of men fighting for a period? This wasn’t something they could do in a day and be ready to fight the next.

In Old Testament time, circumcision for the Jewish people was a sign of their covenant relationship with God. Circumcision rarely occurred for people outside the Jewish faith. (The only recorded exceptions were the slaves of Jewish people.) This act of obedience was the sign of a new start – leaving the old ways from their time in slavery behind them.

And the commander of the Lord‘s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. – Joshua 5:15

Nothing is recorded about God’s people training for war in a physical sense. There is no talk of sword fighting drills, running laps and push-ups (the jr. high girl inside me just started hyperventilating at the thought of doing wall sits for volleyball). Nothing at all to suggest Joshua put his people through rigorous training to prepare them for the fight ahead. But they did prepare God’s way.

We often forget that preparing for anything that God has called us to do is just as much about listening and it is about doing. In this moment, when the command of the Lord’s army appeared before him, Joshua knew. He knew that preparing for battle wouldn’t be about the proper way to plunder a city. It would be about listening o God’s direction and knowing he was with them.

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