Friday, March 21, 2014

Why Are You in the Dust?

In Joshua chapter 7 we read that Joshua had sent spies to Ai. When they returned they told Joshua that there were only a few people living there and the city would be easy to take so they recommended that only a few thousand men be sent to battle instead of the whole army. Joshua took their advice and sent about three thousand men to what should have been an easy battle, but it didn't turn out that way. The men of Ai routed the Israelites and killed thirty-six of them. 

When the defeated troops returned to the camp, Joshua and all of the tribal leaders tore their clothes and fell face down to the ground before the ark of the Lord. Joshua asked the Lord:  "why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan!  Pardon your servant, Lord. What can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies?  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. What then will you do for your own great name?

 That's some pretty serious lamenting isn't it? Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever wondered why terrible things were happening to you and why nothing seems to be going your way? Joshua did. 

I love how the Lord answered him. In verses 10-12 He says:  “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?  Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have liedthey have put them with their own possessions.  That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies.

God almost sounds exasperated with Joshua. Joshua should have known why things weren't going his way: Israel had sinned. Joshua had forty years of experience in the desert under his belt. He knew that when the Israelites honored God and did things His way, they were blessed and things were good for them and transversely he also knew that when Israel sinned and rebelled against God, God did not bless them but cursed them to cause them to turn back to Him. 

It's not any different today. God is still God. God "changest not" (Malachi 3:6). He still blesses us when we are following what He commands and He still withholds His blessing when we are not. God tells Joshua  "I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction." Examine your life and ask the Lord to search your heart and see if there is anything wicked in it (Psalm 139:23). Ask for His direction and His help. 

You don't have to remain in the dust. You can be victorious and live a blessed life but you can't enjoy God's blessings if you have sin living in you. Confess it today and be victorious! Live a life of blessing. Don't let anything hold you back. God bless.

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