Friday, October 14, 2016
Reading the 7th Chapter of the book of Joshua recently, I saw things in that account that perhaps all of us can relate to. When he succeeded Moses, among the things the Lord promised Joshua was this one: “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (vs. 5) I suppose that he and the rest of his military leaders assumed this meant that they would automatically defeat every enemy they would encounter as they took possession of the land the Lord had given them. That would not be the case, even though their first battle in Jericho was won in a glorious, actually miraculous, fashion. Their next stop would be a place by the name of Ai where only a few people lived. At the advice from his advance spies, Joshua sent no more than three thousand soldiers for that encounter. The result? Not only did the men of Ai rout Joshua’s army, killing 67 of them, they made the rest of the army flee in disgrace.
Upon hearing of this embarrassing defeat, Joshua, as well as the elders of Israel fell facedown on the ground as they whined before the Lord. Joshua himself poured out one complaint after another before Him. You know what the Lord did in response to that demonstration? He told Joshua: “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?” (vs. 10) What Joshua didn’t know then was that there was sin in the camp, that one of his soldiers had taken expensive articles from the spoil in the Jericho victory, one thing the Lord had forbidden before they entered Jericho. It appears the Lord did not mention another glaring mistake as they planned their encounter with Ai. They failed to consult with God and felt they could win this battle on their own. If Joshua had sought the Lord’s direction before that battle, he would have known there were things that had to be cleared up before their fight in Ai, that there was a reason for that defeat.
This is how that biblical account can relate to you and me: Before we find one thing or two to complain to God about; before we go through a stretch where we whine and feel sorry for ourselves, let’s make a thorough review of our situation. Did we consult with God about the matter beforehand. Could it be that we caused our own grief, that we are responsible for the mess we’re in? I know that if we cover all our bases, we will absolutely conclude that we had no reason whatsoever to blame God or even whine about it. If that is you; if you have been carrying a “poor me” attitude for any reason, snap out of it! If you trust the Lord, you will walk confidently and with your head held up high. Live in victory!
God’s promise for today: (Romans 8:37 - Good News Version) “Nevertheless, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”