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FAITH: Learning from Joshua’s mistake

Karen Stevens

I’ve been listing to the book of Joshua and God takes him thru huge perils only for Joshua to go against the land of Ai to find out God is not with him?  Joshua falls on his face for an entire day before he every speaks to God.

Finally, he cries to God “Oh, Sovereign LORD, why did you bring us across the Jordan River if you are going to let the Amorites kill us?”

God had just performed a huge miracle by parting the Jordan River for all the Israelites to cross over on dry land, just as He had done with the Red Sea and Moses.  Joshua was baffled why God let him win victory after victory, raise him to the status of Moses, only to be defeated at a time that Joshua knew all the other Kings were watching him.

Up to this point everyone was scared of the Israelites because everyone knew that God was on their side.

So why does God let them get defeated at the hands of the Amorites?  In verse 9 Joshua tells God “The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth.”

Verse 10 – “The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up!  What are you doing down on your face?”  Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep.”

Lets first look at the verse that God says “Stand up!  What are you doing down on your face?”  This verse amazes me because God acts surprised that Joshua is down on his face.  It’s almost like God is saying “Why aren’t you taking care of business instead of wallowing in the mud”.  How often do we do this?  I can raise my hand.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried and wailed instead of doing what I know God wants me to do.

Then God tells Joshua that Israel has sinned.  You notice God blamed all of Israel for the sin – not just Achan, the one who kept the items God told him not to.  And then when it was time to be punished, Achan was not the only one who got stoned and burned.  It was his entire family, and not only his family but Achan’s donkeys, cattle, sheep and Achan’s tent got burned.  That is some serious punishment!

Yes, we have Jesus to cover our sins today.  Thanks to God almighty for sending His son to die on the cross for us!

But we must remember – God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Disobedience, thief, etc. will still make God angry even if we can be forgiven of that act.  Don’t let Satan tempt you on such things.  You will anger, and hurt God.

Verse 11 and 12 – “They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.”

There are all sorts of reasons why God might not be with you or I, today.  It might be that God is so proud of you, He is allowing Satan to tempt you to show you will stand against the enemy like Job did.  But it might be because you are angering God in some way.  Ask God to search your heart and reveal what needs to be brought in the light, so you can please God.

If He doesn’t show you anything, then just stand against that old, mean Satan.  If He does reveal something, get on your knee’s and confess, ask for forgiveness, and then get off your face and do God’s will!

Karen Y. Stevens is Executive Director at Meals on Wheels