I've finished Joshua!! What an amazing book. There are so many great truths and practical application to learn and apply to my own life right now. I just want to share what I learned from Joshua and the Israelites and how God used what I learned in my own life.
One of the first truths that I read over and over again was "be strong and courageous". Over and over again God reminded His people to be brave. You know you don't tell someone to be brave unless you know that the future is going to be scary. God had promised the Israelites Canaan, the promised land. There was only one small catch....it was already occupied. The people had to go in and fight for the land God promised. They had to fight. That thought keeps coming to my mind even days after I've read it. They had to fight. Do you see the similarity? We, God's children, have been promised eternal life with him. God in Jesus Christ has given us victory over sin and death and promised us a home in heaven with him. BUT, in the meantime, we still have to fight the enemy of this world.
God told the Israelites that if they obeyed Him and keep His commandments that He would go before them and that He would be with them and that they would CONQUER their enemies. God will do the same for us IF we obey Him and do what is right and pleasing to Him. Some battles are going to be harder than others. Some battles are going to leave us feeling every bit of the battle. We're going to know that it was a battle and we'll have the scars to show for it. Last week was such a battle for me. It was a hard battle and an even harder lesson to learn. I knew that during and even after that I had been whipped. I didn't obey and I fell. Humility is a very hard lesson to learn. I asked God for forgiveness, and to give me the strength and wisdom not to make the same mistake twice. I learned that I need to TRUST him and rely on His power to overcome the temptation to do things my way.
Another lesson I learned from Joshua had to do with an Israelite named Achan. When the Israelites conquered Jericho God said that ALL the spoils belong to ME. These were to be the firstfruits given to God for the victory. Achan decided that didn't include him. He took a robe along with some silver and gold and hid them under his tent.
So, in the meantime, Joshua goes into battle with the city of Ai and is chased back and looses 36 men in the process. WHAT? Defeated? Why? First, Joshua didn't ask God what to do. He sent a convoy to spy out the land. They reported to Joshua that he didn't need to send all of his troops just a few thousand would do. Joshua listened to the spies. He didn't ask God what to do. They were chased back. Joshua started to wail against God and said why did you bring us here? Why didn't you just leave us on the other side of the Jordon? God told Joshua, "Israel has sinned, they have violated my covenant which I commanded them to keep." They (Achan) had kept the things devoted for God.
ONE man's sin ruined a whole nation. It was so easy for me to jump right in and say, "YES!" That's the problem with our family. That's why we've had so much bad stuff happen lately. This is all so and so's fault. BUT, before I could even get up from the table God knocked me upside the head and said, "NO, it's not someone else's fault, it's your own heart you need to be looking".
You know I do believe that God is capable of taking care of sin. Why do I continually want to help him out? I had to look at my own heart and yes God showed me the unconfessed sin in my own heart. I needed to repent and ask forgiveness and be restored.
Another lesson learned from Achan was what Warren Weirsbe said in his commentary. "If Achan had just WAITED a few more days he could have had ALL the spoils of war he wanted. You see after Achan was called out by God he was stoned and burned to death. The people and Joshua attached Ai again and defeated them and took the spoils of war for themselves.
In our day and time waiting is not often a choice. Decisions need to be made yesterday and everything is due NOW!! Last week while I was discussing a decision that needed to be made with Bruce those words came immediately to my mind, "If Achan had just waited...." So, I decided to wait and not act immediately. Praying that God will honor my decision to wait and bless it. "God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him" Warren Weirsbe.
One other lesson that really stood out involved Joshua. Joshua, a faithful, steadfast believer in the One True God. Joshua made a mistake and he didn't ask God about attacking Ai. He was defeated. But, I think Joshua learned a valuable lesson that day. God went on give him the victory over Ai. He actually used his mistake to His advantage. It ALWAYS so encouraging to me that God showed us not only the great strengths of men like Joshua but He also showed us his weaknesses and how he STILL used Joshua to accomplish great things for Him.
The key here is OBEDIENCE and keeping God's commands to LOVE Him with ALL our heart and soul and strength and mind. God wants to bless us and all He wants us to do is to LOVE Him so much that we're willing to pay the cost.
I shared with my son how God used His Word to help me in making a decision. My son is not real clear about how God speaks to us through His word. I showed him that while I was making that decision those words came to mind immediately and it helped make my decision. We NEED desperately to be teaching our children how God works in our lives. We need to share with them these precious moments of revelation. We'll find as we go on to the book of Judges that the next generation of Israelites has forgotten God. They will learn that a life without the Lord on your side is a life of bondage and despair.
"God delights "to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect (wholly devoted) toward Him" 2 Chronicles 16:9
May the grace and peace of God be with you today.