I wonder why they weren’t circumcising their boys on the 8th day like they were supposed to? Why the wait? The timing is so odd. They’ve just done this menacing thing (crossing a flood stage river on dry land) and proceed to do the least intimidating thing ever. If the Amorites weren’t so afraid, this would have been a great time to attack. After all, the sons of Jacob did invent this cheap move (see Shechem in Genesis 34).
This is a very sensitive and specific task laid before them. The LORD has commissioned them to take out the tribes of Ham’s descendants who were recreating pre-flood evils, along with giants who are the result of angelic beings having sex with women. History has struggled with the conquests of Canaan, and many have taken it as a free pass to genocide pagan people groups. The LORD is very specifically warning against this. He gives extensive instructions. There will be no improvising here!
As the first of many cities to conquer, the LORD sets a major example for them in the how. Jericho will be taken, not because the people of Israel make such a dynamic and powerful army, but because the LORD is taking it. This is clearly displayed in the fact that the impenetrable walls will come down after obedient (maybe even silly) marching and shouting. I also think this exchange is very important to notice.
“Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, ‘Are you for us or for our adversaries?’ He said, ‘No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, ‘What has my lord to say to his servant?’ The captain of the Lord’s host said to Joshua, ‘Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” (5:13-15)
This isn’t about the LORD and His angels picking sides, which is what it looks like to most, it’s about much more.
Following the LORD isn’t about understanding all the whys. Sometimes we can feel entitled to an inside scoop, but the crux of this relationship is trust. We can rest assured, He is trustworthy.
While children are notorious for going through phases of asking “why” about everything, they also have many moments of blind trust. These moments are imperative, from the perspective of a mother addressing her toddler to keep them from danger. Remembering the LORD’s wisdom and goodness far exceeds the cognitive advantages 20+ human years affords may help us to trust even when we don’t understand.
Has the LORD ever asked you to do something that sounded silly at the time? Where is He leading you now? What would surrender and trust look like in this circumstance?