I am attempting to keep this short or at least shorter than yesterdays, so let’s go!
A classic example of the quote I used on Monday from Tozer can be found in Joshua 7 and 8.
After Joshua led the army of Israel in a supernatural and stunning defeat of Jericho, they were primed for the next battle against Ai.
However they were soundly defeated.
Let’s look at the circumstances.
Joshua sends spies to check it out, just like they had done with Jericho. They report that this one is a piece of cake and not many men will be needed.
However, what they didn’t know was that one of the Israelites named Achan had disobeyed God’s commandment to take nothing from the fall of this city except Rahab and her family.
The disobedience of this man Achan causes the Israelites to incur heavy losses and drives Joshua to his knees in robe-tearing grief.
I truly do love this portion of Scripture and find new things every time I read it.
This time I am struck afresh with how God speaks to Joshua.
“Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?” Joshua 7:10
Then He tells Joshua how someone broke the covenant and until that one is exposed, they will continue to lose battles.
So Joshua seeks counsel from God to determine the guilty party and then the one who sinned and brought this on all the people is dealt with.
I am being delicate here.
The truth is Achan and the stolen items, his animals, all of his possessions and his family are taken to the Valley of Achor where everything is stoned and then burned.
This is hard, isn’t it?
Grown Up VBS is not all fun and games but it is truth.
Achan himself admitted upon being found out that he coveted the items he took. He knew they were forbidden but he wanted them so badly that his greed was bigger than his devotion to God.
So he took them and he couldn’t even enjoy them. He had buried them under his tent and then allowed his kindred to go to battle as if God would not notice that he had brought sin onto the warriors.
People were killed in that battle because God was not with them. Families lost loved ones.
And so we can say what happened to Achan was unfair, but we would be missing the bigger picture of what Achan brought on others through his disobedience and covetousness.
After Joshua obeyed the instructions of the Lord, God spoke these words to Him:
“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the King of Ai, his people, his city and his land. You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry of their plunder and livestock for yourselves.”
Interesting is it not?
When they did it their way, they were going to take just a few men.
God sends the whole army.
And this time, they CAN take the plunder.
God gives them the exact battle strategy with specific instructions and Joshua follows them.
It was a huge victory.
For me the takeaway today is to be very careful before I go into battles of whatever nature or size.
I want to be diligent in obedience in following God’s words to me.
And I want to make a thorough check of myself to see if I have tucked away anything that I was not supposed to bring with me from the enemy camp into my new life in Christ.
There are so many passages in the New Testament that are clear about what I am to leave behind…here is just one to end our time together.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:31
Heavenly Father, like Achan there are times I have coveted something that is not mine to have. Whether it is a habit or a thought pattern or an actual physical thing that I know you have told me is not mine to possess, I have continued to tuck it away. Buried deep under where I live out my daily life. And then I enter into battles and get knocked down. I cycle through my days, defeated in the same spiral of ineffective living and I wonder why. Help me today to drag the things that are stolen goods out into the open and renounce them once and for all that I might live open hearted in Your presence. Free me from the ties to things that are not mine to hold that I might live victoriously in the freedom You have given me through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen <3
In light of the seriousness of this passage, perhaps we should skip snack today and instead we could just feast on reading Joshua 7 and 8 and spend some time listening to what God would like to say to our hearts.
Blessings on each of you.
Today’s was a tough one. I hope you will come back tomorrow <3