May 25 | Waking with The Word | Joshua 8: 1-2
Joshua 8:1 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land: :2 And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it.
I'd first of all like to contrast chapter 8 with chapter 7. Chapter 7 was a chapter of defeat and chapter 8 was a chapter of victory. This observation is tied to how the chapters start. Look at Joshua 7:1 " But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: ......."
Now look at Joshua 8:1 "And the LORD said unto Joshua,...."
The difference between victory and defeat was tied to when Joshua's conversation with God took place. He spoke to God in Chapter 7 but only after a embarrassing defeat. Chapter 8 opens with Joshua's conversation with God and ends with a worship service. Be sure to have your priorities in order. Prayer can come before victory, like chapter 8 or it can come after defeat, like in chapter 7. Now consider also why God allowed them to suffer defeat. At Jericho God showed up before they could even make a mistake and gave them clear instruction. Then at Ai ,the first time around, He allowed them to press on in their sin and suffer a defeat. I believe that this served as opportunity to teach them, as well as us, a lesson. They learned that God was serious about sin. They also learned that God was willing to forgive and give them victory once again. Not only does He promise them victory but He assures them in verse 2 that the spoils would be theirs for the keeping. You would think after their sin in chapter 7 that you could expect a harsh answer from God in chapter 8 but the opposite is true. Listen to words of encouragement he gave: "Fear not, neither be thou dismayed." and also the promise of a blessing"only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves:"
See, that sin in chapter 7 had been dealt with and God wasn't going to bring it up again. God's forgiveness is so perfect that he not only forgives but acts as if it never happened, willing not only to forgive but to give them a blessing on top of their forgiveness. I've experienced this forgiveness my self. Times when I had missed the mark or been directly disobedient, I took my sin to God, He was faithful and just to forgive me of all my sins and He treats me as if it never happened. Does your forgiveness imitate the forgiveness God has extended to you or do you forgive with the intent to not forget? God's forgiveness forgives and forgets to the point that when we deserve punishment He gives us blessings instead.
Now consider the fact that this isn't the first time Israel has fought against Ai. They are having to go back to same battle once again. This time they've reevaluated and instead of trying to press on in sin they are pressing on in forgiveness and assurance that God is with them. Have you every as a christian soldier had to go back to same battle more than once? I know I have. Sometimes it seems we are going back to the same battle over and over. I was so encouraged to see that I wasn't the only one who has failed and had to go back to the same battle more than once. There has been times I pressed on in sin and faced defeat because of it but I'm glad to report to you that just like Israel got another chance at victory over Ai, I've had chance after chance in my battle with sin. Israel in chapter 8 got a new beginning, a fresh start to be more than conquerors. If chapter 8 teaches us anything it should be that failure doesn't have to be final. Their sins were covered in chapter 7 beneath a pile of stones and God is willing to give them the victory now that sin has been dealt with. Cast out the sin in your life that keeps bringing you defeat, bring it before God and you can move to the next chapter of your life. Eight is often times associated in the Bible with a new beginning and so is the case here. On the other side of your repentance God has a new beginning for you. Are you lost? Repent of your sins and trust Christ as Savior and there is forgiveness and victory on the other side of your repentance. Are you a christian living in rebellion? Repent and God has for you a new beginning and a life of victory on the other side of your repentance. This victory chapter came after a failure and repentance chapter for Israel. Often is the case for the christian. Don't live all your life in chapter 7. Deal with your sin and God will give instruction again for victory in the next chapter.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Onward Christian Soldier!!