November 18, 2012
After reading Joshua 7-8 today, I realized, for the first time, who Joshua was … A Wise and Mighty Warrior! I don’t know about you, but I always viewed Joshua as Moses’ sidekick. I always saw him as a “goody-two-shoes,” “teacher’s pet” type kinda guy.
Ya know what I mean?
Yes, I saw his uniqueness and strength, in that he followed/ chased after God will all his heart, while everyone else was content with being “spoon fed” by Moses. Yeah, I saw all that, and I believed he should have been commended for it. But, I never really saw him as a FIERCE warrior.
Here is a guy, that God instructed to wipe out an ENTIRE city (thousands of inhabitants…all, except Rahab and her family were killed…since they helped the Israelites) without blinking an eye, AND was expected to keep NO ransom or plunder for himself or his men- And he did it at Jericho!
However, one of his men, Achan, took some of the forbidden treasure, which was considered as a tithe unto the Lord (since it was the first city they were conquering in the Promised land), and as such was Sacred, Holy, and Blessed by God. Achan took some of it anyway, and hid it among his things.
The treasure turned rancid in the wrong hands…it went from blessed to CURSED. Because of this, the following battle in the city of Ai was a complete failure. The Israelites went into battle alone, and lost miserably. Joshua had no idea why they lost the battle, especially when everything was supposed to be in his favor. After this loss, he questions God..crying out to him in wonder:
Joshua 7: 7-9 CEV :
7Then Joshua said:Our LORD, did you bring us across the Jordan River just so the Amorites could destroy us? This wouldn’t have happened if we had agreed to stay on the other side of the Jordan. 8 I don’t even know what to say, since Israel’s army has turned and run from the enemy. 9 Everyone will think you weren’t strong enough to protect your people. Now the Canaanites and everyone else who lives in the land will surround us and wipe us out.
He was probably wondering (paraphrase), “Didn’t You say You would go before us in every battle? And, that we would be victorious over ALL our enemies if we obeyed You? Yet, here we are… defeated. Now what?!”
In Joshua’s case, the whole reason the Israelites were following him, was because of the belief that Joshua was in cahoots with the Creator Man, so to speak.
So, in this moment of defeat, we can see that Joshua is in a very vulnerable position. His authority has been compromised in a sense, and he probably felt a little betrayed. Not to mention, that he is also mourning the death of all the men he sent out that died.
Ai was meant to be a quick win – In fact, Joshua was told in chapter 7, verse 3: “You don’t need to send the whole army to attack Ai—2,000 or 3,000 troops will be enough. Why bother the whole army for a town that small?”
And had not the sin and selfishness of one man curse the whole lot of them- perhaps this would have been true, but they WERE cursed without even knowing it, and all because Achan thought, “Nobody will ever know.” He was right, to an extent…that “extent” being God Himself… pretty Big extent, if you ask me!
Isn’t it funny how we are always trying to defend / protect God’s image and His reputation to others – as if He needed us to do this- aren’t we really more concerned about our OWN reputation, thinking: — “How will it look, when I’m following God headlong and what I said He told me or He said would happen…doesn’t happen… or it doesn’t happen the way I thought it would, or when I thought it would?? I will lose all credibility…”
Then, we get all upset with God because – FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, GOD! – Isn’t this what YOU told me to do in the FIRST place? I listened, but look where it got me… surely nobody will listen to me now… and what about You, God? Ya think they’re gonna believe You are who You say You are after all that…etc, etc.
But, sometimes we miss a few things…
*end side note* 🙂
Joshua missed a few things too…
Like, one major thing Joshua did NOT know, was that Achan had kept treasure for himself and in effect caused the enemy to prevail.
But, I LOVE how God answers Joshua in the middle of his pity party…totally unphased:
…Like a BOSS…
Joshua 7: 10-12 (Amplified Version…cause we need some Amplification here…hehe):
10The Lord said to Joshua, Get up! Why do you lie thus upon your face? 11Israel has sinned; they have transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. They have taken some of the things devoted [for destruction]; they have stolen, and lied, and put them among their own baggage. 12That is why the Israelites could not stand before their enemies, but fled before them; they are accursed and have become devoted [for destruction]. I will cease to be with you unless you destroy the accursed [devoted] things among you…
And it goes on…you should really check it out!!
I mean God’s like, “Boy, Get Yo Butt Up, and Shut up!” I can almost hear God say, “Son…You betta reconize!!”
Wow. But after He scolds Joshua, God leads him to the culprit, Achan- who admitted to everything- and he and his family were all stoned to death as a result of his actions, in order to purify the nation of all unrighteousness.
The next time they go to battle Ai, God is indeed with them, and He tells Joshua what to do. He tells Joshua to position part of the army just west of the city, keeping the majority to the North or at the entrance. He then gives Joshua a STRATEGY.
God instructed Joshua to flee the army of Ai a second time with the main army, knowing they would follow them out a good ways away from the city, leaving it vulnerable to attack from the West. The other part of the army was to go and set fire to the city and then come up behind the army to surround them.
And in following this God Given Strategy… Joshua and his men are able to defeat the army of Ai.
Ok, there are some interesting things to consider here…
You gotta see this!
Joshua was a Wise and Mighty Warrior…
… because he actually takes God’s instructions and does them. He could have thought, “how weak will it seem for us to flee a second time from such a small city? Now that Achan is gone, I’m sure we will win! No… he had to eat humble pie … why?
Because of the other MAJOR thing Joshua missed…
If you notice, the reason Joshua didn’t know there was a thief in their midst was because Joshua failed to consult with God, thus he ONLY heard human counsel, which seemed to be wise at the time.
However, like Jericho, God had very specific directions on how He wanted the Israelites to go about defeating Ai. Perhaps, had Joshua spoke to God before sending his men out– they might have lived?
In his defense though, once Joshua did talk with God, he followed through with what he was told, and defeated Ai in the end…
…like a BOSS!
So, it just goes to show that Joshua really WAS all he was cracked up to be. Never afraid to go into battle (remember: he agreed with Caleb that the Israelites could take Jericho 40 yrs prior), he was a BRAVE and Mighty Warrior… BUT, he was ALSO humble!
It makes me wonder what it must have been like to behold such a being…
God wants obedience AND relationship from us. He wants us to obey fully— NOT half-heartedly. But, then He also wants to guide us and give us creative ideas– STRATEGIES that will help us defeat ANY & ALL enemies or obstacles that come to meet us… INCLUDING: the seemingly small battles.
He wants it ALL!
He wants ALL of me … ALL of us … He wants ALL of YOU!
He wants me to know that HE gave me Wisdom and goodness… lest I should boast… in order to do the things He has called me to do!
He wants me to see, that He CARES deeply about me … and that for ALL of my issues and hang-ups… He DOES, in fact, have a STRATEGY to get me out of them: if ONLY I consult with Him and Obey His words!
It BOGGLES my mind that the God of the Universe DESIRES to know me…He desires to know YOU too! And not only that, but He has a plan and a purpose for our lives… and we might do good to sit back and listen to it once in a while.
Are you lacking a God-given STRATEGY today?
Thank you Lord for all that You do to show Yourself to us everyday…thank you for not giving up on me… and Thank you for continuing to search my heart, even when I’m too weary to do it myself! Give me the desire to hear from You everyday, and to hear and do your strategy first, instead of suffering before asking! And, please bless those reading this in the same way! Amen!
*Spanish scripture from TLA
Josué 7:7-12 :
7Y Josué dijo:—Dios nuestro, que gobiernas sobre todos, ¿para qué nos hiciste cruzar el Jordán? ¡No creo que haya sido para entregarnos a los amorreos, ni para destruirnos! ¡Ojalá nos hubiéramos quedado del otro lado del río! 8Dios mío, nuestro ejército se ha acobardado y huye, ¡y no sé qué decir! 9Cuando lo sepan los cananeos y todos los que allí viven, nos rodearán y nos matarán. ¿Qué harás entonces para que no digan que fuiste incapaz de proteger a tu pueblo?10Dios le respondió a Josué:
—¡Ponte de pie! ¿Por qué te quedas tirado boca abajo? 11Lo que pasa es que los israelitas han pecado. Yo les ordené que destruyeran todo lo que había en la ciudad de Jericó. Era un trato que habíamos hecho. Pero se quedaron con algunas de esas cosas. Se las robaron, las escondieron entre sus pertenencias, y luego mintieron acerca de lo que habían hecho. 12Por eso los israelitas no pueden vencer a sus enemigos. ¡Huyen porque ellos mismos merecen ser destruidos! Yo no voy a ayudarlos mientras no destruyan las cosas que les prohibí tocar.