How hard is it for you to keep your mouth shut? We are going to see how a simple question by God to help His chosen leader, Joshua.
God’s question to Joshua was this: Joshua 1:9 “Have not I commanded thee?”
This is a rhetorical question, which means it has only one answer, or it does not require an answer, or it was put into the conversation for emphasis to draw the attention of the listener to pay closer attention to the information relevant to the question.
What does this have to do with keeping your mouth shut? Let’s take a look.
Joshua was being groomed for leadership all along. And Moses was dead. Josh was mourning his loss and it was as if God was waking him up from his grieving to call him into the role of the leader of Israel. It would not be a surprise to Joshua, he was appointed as Moses’ successor in Numbers 27:15-23 in front of all Israel. He had been with Moses every step of the way. He was one of the spies sent to check out the Promised Land.
God asked this question to Joshua, not for an answer but to get his undivided attention. Remember Joshua was grieving the loss of Moses, his leader, his mentor, his friend, basically his whole purpose in life. Moses was the one who heard directly from God on everything! Now God was talking directly to Joshua.
What message was God trying to convey to him?
· I am about to fulfill my promise to enter into the Promised Land. 1:2 · You are my chosen servant. 1:3-5 · You must be strong and very courageous to observe all the law and not be swayed to the right or the left. 1:6-7 · You must know the law and meditate therein day and night, so you will live it. That way your path will be prosperous, and you will be successful! 1:8 · Do I have your attention, Joshua? Have not I commanded thee? 1:9 · I am about to say the most important thing for you to be able do this: I am with you wherever you go. 1:9
How would you feel if God gave you these commands and then blessed you with: I am with you wherever you go?
You would be super-charged with the command. The fact that God, Who brought Israel through the Red Sea, brought them out of captivity over 400 years and led them through the wilderness to this position of realizing the Promised Land on the other side of the Jordan, was the very One talking to you.
Joshua wasted no time: Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people… Joshua 1:10
God knew He was going to ask Joshua to take some momentous leaps of faith soon. We will find out why Being Quiet was so important to God.
God was about to do some crazy things in the eyes of the Israelites. He had to have their attention and obedience. According to scripture the next events were:
· Verse 11 … command the people saying, “Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over the Jordan, to go in to possess the land…”
· Joshua 2:1 And Joshua… sent out … two men to spy secretly… the land.
· Verse 23 So the two men returned, … and told him all things that befell them
· Joshua 3:1 … came to the Jordan, … and lodged there before they passed over.
· Verse 3:3 … When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.
(There was an encouraging speech by Joshua in here. Because in verse 15: · Verse 15 … (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest) (This would be intimidating for anyone! These people heard about crossing the Red Sea but never experienced it. And now they had the same opportunity as their fathers did.) (Scientists and researchers have tried to explain the Red Sea crossing was at the shallowest point, blah, blah, blah. But God, He does not shrink back and try to do His miracles when and where it is easiest to perform them. Nope, not our God! He waits until its flood season to clear a river for a crossing On dry ground! They passed clean over this Jordan. And then God released the waters. Verse 4:18 … that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before. Then they are directed to set up stones of remembrance for His people to recall this event to their children. Joshua 4:1-9) · Joshua 5:2 At that time the Lord said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time. (The people of God knew their fathers were circumcised, and some grandfathers but now they had to face this request and embrace it. Joshua was the bearer of bad news here. They knew why they had to be circumcised (verse 9 And the Lord said unto Joshua, this day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you…) It might have been an intimidating and daunting procedure to perform on so many men that were in service to him; we are not told.) · They kept the Passover, verse 10, and at that same time the manna ceased. See verses 11 and 12 (this was huge for these people never celebrated the Passover nor ate anything but manna all their life. There might have been a few with them that had eaten or cooked other things, but it had been years!) · The next encounter was with the captain of the Lord’s host! Gulp! Joshua had to face him alone. · The next chapter is the conquering of Jericho. This would have been an immense feat that required Joshua to have courage and strength, but he was to go through all previous things to get here.
This part of the story of Jericho is the most fascinating and required the strict obedience of the children of Israel. It is not the waiting for six days, but the commandment given during that waiting that was going to require Joshua to have courage and be strong. All the events leading up to this were tests to try the obedience and patience of the people. And Joshua needed to be a leader that was revered, respected and loved to be rewarded with this kind of obedience. What command am I referring to? This one hidden in Chapter 6:10 And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout: then shall ye shout. (emphasis mine)
Think of this for a moment. This command was to a people group known for their murmuring and complaining!
God gave them a hard task indeed! And Joshua had the honors of telling them do not speak until six days are finished and we do this thing… walk around our objective for six days and on the seventh day you may not only speak but shout!
What a most difficult task. To keep all of Israel quiet for SIX DAYS! Just think of babies, toddlers, and all the people in the crowd. We know they did it because it is recorded in history. Jericho fell the seventh day.
Joshua had to believe God every step of the way in his journey. He had to trust God’s Word, The Law and what God said personally to him. He had to live it or who would follow him?
“Have not I commanded thee?” Joshua must have heard this question over and over in his mind during this arduous journey into the land of promise. Joshua had so many more adventures to go through with His Lord. He was the respected leader of this stiff-necked and disobedient people. Maybe he had such courage because God asked this question of him.
They captured Jericho! They achieved this victory! Not by force, but by obedience.
Remember Joshua was commanded:
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Joshua 1: 8 God got Joshua’s attention with His question: Have not I commanded thee? It worked! The question worked for Joshua. Because it worked for Joshua, the Israelites obeyed the command to be silent then shout on the seventh day.
That was a miracle that silence won this battle!