THE USE OF FAILURE
Saturday, 20 July 2019
Joshua 8 : 1-35
Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Don't be afraid; don't give up. Lead all your fighting men to Ai. I will help you defeat the king of Ai. I am giving you his people, his city, and his land.” -Joshua 8:1[NCV]
The victory described in our reading today was won after a defeat for the people of God, recounted in the previous chapter. Failure?! Alas! for God's chosen Israel!—Defeated before the people of Ai! But why?
This was the sentiment in the previous chapter running through the heart of every Israelite who crossed the Jordan into the promised land and started their journey of conquest by defeating the fortified city of Jericho. This victory swallowed up their heart to become overconfident in their minds- which made them wander away from God who gave them victory. They became presumptuous and counseled among themselves instead of seeking God for their next move against Ai. This led to their utter failure against a small kingdom. If they had taken counsel from God, He would have first directed them to the cause of failure hidden within their camps-Achan.
In order to understand today's reading, we need to go back to the previous chapter and see how things changed from victory to failure. Joshua and team were absolutely clueless at the defeat against Ai. Both Joshua and his team did not wait for the counsel of God. They marched forward according to their own initiative. (As Israelites were led through the wilderness, God taught them one important lesson of dependency on God for their every move. He was the one who led them forward. So they had to wait for His move. God's cloud covering them had to move signaling them to move forward. This went on for 40 years. This is a great lesson to be learnt). God will not lead us forward unless until the sin in our territory is dealt with.
God wants His people to be victorious always. But when we walk contrary to His revealed will through His Word or His directives through His servants, sin creeps under the carpet. It will be dormant and hidden until our failure surfaces on the outside. This hidden nature of sin that easily entangles us through our earthly journey should be a constant driving force to go before God on a daily basis and seek His counsel. He will always clear us from the 'Achan-sin' that lies hidden in our lives.
Here, after the failure against Ai, all the people of Israel were shaken and they came before God. As they humbled themselves, God directed them to deal with the sin within before thinking of the enemy outside. Oh! dear believer this is a great lesson for us. Unless we deal with our hidden sins- God cannot lead us to victory. The two important lessons we learn from here are: 1. Wait for God's counsel before every move. 2. Deal with the sin within before going forward.
Every apparent failure in our life needs to bring us to a point of cross examining our own lives before God. This humbling process will be a great revealer of our own sins before God. Deal with sins before we take any other step as Joshua did. They completely destroyed Achan from their midst and cleansed themselves. Then they were given the counsel of God to proceed further as we read in the quoted verse above and ultimately victory was theirs! God's people’s victory is already won by God Himself. Only we need to appropriate it in our lives by humbly seeking Him. He will always guide us victoriously.
Thought for the Day:
“O wretched man that I am!
Who will deliver me from this body of death?
I thank God- through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
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