Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. – Josh. 7:12 KJV
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As directed by the Lord, Joshua had taken over leadership of the Children of Israel from Moses as they proceeded in their journey to take over possession of the land flowing with milk and honey as promised by the Lord – Josh. 1:1-9. In the short space of time that he took over, they had of note
1. Crossed the Jordan with the accompanying miracle of the flow of the Jordan stopped by piling into a heap – Josh. 3:1- 4:24.
2. All the males had been circumcised at Gilgal since most of them had been born during the 40 years sojourn in the desert and were not circumcised – Josh. 4:1-9.
3. Jericho had just been miraculously defeated despite its acclaimed military prowess – Josh. 5:13 – 6:27.
And so the people were beginning to grow in confidence that they could defeat any army that came their way. The next in line to be taken over was Ai and as it has become the usual for Joshua, he sent men to spy the land and the men came back and confidently reported back that there will be no need to deploy as many men as was required to conquer Jericho – Josh. 7:3.
They eventually went for the war but were defeated and disgraced by the army of Ai (Josh. 7:4-5) and this not only deflated the confidence of the people but also discouraged Joshua and the elders of Israel. They ran back to the Lord in prayer wanting to know why he allowed them to be so humiliated after recording a great victory in Jericho – Josh. 7:6-9. They were lucky because after being persistent in prayer for a whole day, the Lord informed them of the presence of an unclean object in their midst, something that was unknown to Joshua and the elders before they went for the battle. They will have to find and not only remove it but also mete out prescribed judgement for the culprit – Josh. 7:10-15.
Similar events does happen to us Christians today. Mostly after recording a level of unexpected success, we become more confident and begin to lose some level of caution. One would have thought that just as Joshua carried out spy missions on Jericho (Josh. 2:1-24) and Ai to determine military strategy to be deployed, he would also have re-confirmed God’s continued willingness to go with them before finally taking the decision to step out. Obviously, this last step was not done else he would have known that God was not with them and most likely would have saved himself and his people the embarrassment they experienced.
As Christians we tend to take God for granted when setting out on our missions aimed at achieving success. We sometimes believe in what He told us before we started the preparation but did not find it necessary to do that critical last minute check. Life is indeed very dynamic and activities around us are constantly in a state of flux. It is wrong for us to assume that things remain the way we last saw them as any thing could have happened since then. Last minute checks need to be carried out at all times to prevent sudden and unexpected events that may rubbish all previous arrangements and checking with the Lord is not exempted. Joshua and the Israelites took God’s support for granted, after all He it was that promised them victory in the battles ahead but that was before one of them decided to flout his condition for having His support as given to Moses and which remained valid with Joshua.
God’s reason for withdrawing support came after a whole day of crying, protesting and weeping before the Lord by Joshua and the elders of Israel. They were lucky to have God reveal to them that one of them had an unclean object with him that will make it impossible for him to continue with them in battle after all, if He had kept quiet, there was nothing anyone will be able to do about it. In verses 10 to 15 of chapter 7 of the Book of Joshua which also includes the text of today’s devotion, God revealed to Joshua the cause of their failure and the solution. They were to get rid of the accursed object and the person possessing it before he would continue to fulfil his side of the promise.
For you reading this, yes it is true that God it was that promised you success in that endeavour. Yes you did start out very well in confirmation of His promises to you such that everyone was beginning to see the glory of God in your life. But now things are not going the way it used to be again. Those successes are disappearing gradually and continuously and it is obvious it runs contrary to his promise for your life. Before looking for all those enemies to blame, you are better off looking inward for possible violation of the rules of your relationship with God. The Almighty God is bigger than any enemy and whatever he promises to do, no enemy can stop it. It is either he is yet to commence its implementation or He is no longer involved but the option of an enemy stopping Him should never be considered. With Him all things are possible.
Do a proper and honest self check. Yes there could be an external Achan but you may actually be your own Achan. Could it be that misapplication of God’s Grace or act of ingratitude for the last success that you recorded? Removing this obstacle may just be the solution to this unending problem in your life. Joshua was busy praying when what was required was acting. Do not continue to inflict pain on your self with all those fasting and sleepless nights in the name of vigils. Just as God admonished Joshua, I am telling you to get up and do the needful. Sanctify yourself and your environment by removing unclean thoughts, objects or individuals completely from your environment and you will begin to enjoy those successes again. May God grant us the confidence to do the needful to our advantage in Jesus name. Amen.