4:1-24 – ‘These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel for ever’ (7). When, in the future, the question was asked, ‘What do these stones mean?’(6), Israel would remember what the Lord had done for them (23). Knowing that ‘the hand of the Lord is mighty’, they would be strengthened to face their difficulties with confidence in God. Rejoicing in what the Lord has done – ‘This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes’ – , they would learn to ‘fear the Lord their God for ever’ (24; Psalm 118:23). Israel remembered. We must remember. When you’re going through a hard time, don’t forget – to remember! God has been good to you. He has blessed you. When God seems so far away, remember – and pray that, once again, ‘times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord’ (Acts 3:19).
5:1-15 – As you read about circumcision (2-7) and the Passover (10), think also of Paul’s words in Romans 2:29 and 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 – ‘real circumcision is a matter of the heart’, ‘Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival… with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth’. ‘The Commander of the Lord’s army’ came to Joshua (13-15). Christ comes to us. He calls us to worship. He equips us for battle. ‘Christ, the Royal Master, leads against the foe… At the sign of triumph, Satan’s legions flee… Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise… Like a mighty army moves the Church of God… Gates of hell can never ‘gainst that Church prevail; We have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail… On then, Christian soldiers, on to victory’ (Church Hymnary, 480).
6:1-27 – ‘The walls came tumbling down’ – What a mighty work of God this was! It was ‘the Lord’ who gave Jericho into the hands of His people (16). His victory was received by faith: ‘By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days’ (Hebrews 11:30). Notice that the declaration of victory comes before the obedience of faith (2,16). We start out from victory. We do not achieve the victory by our own faith. The victory is given to us by the Lord. Faith simply receives the blessing already promised to us by the Lord. Faith expresses itself in obedience. Believing God’s promise, they obeyed His command – and the blessing followed. They walked ‘by faith, not by sight’ (2 Corinthians 5:7) – ‘It shall be done’, not ‘It can’t be done’. Let us be ‘devoted to the Lord’ (17-19).