Tuesday, February 8, 2011

TURNING VICTORY INTO DEFEAT

Text:  Joshua 5:13-7:26


Here we read about ourselves, and our tendency to take a victory and turn it into future defeats!  Read this entire section of Scripture and ask the Spirit of God to illumine it.


Joshua and the children of Israel followed the angel of the Lord's command to encircle the city, march around it, and then to shout the walls down.  This bizarre behavior must have had the people in Jericho laughing at Israel, deriding them from the top of the wall each day.


But God delivered the city into the hands of Joshua and the people of God.  The only additional command that God gave was that the entire city was to be destroyed, and no spoils of victory were to be taken.  All was to be burned, except the gold, silver, bronze and iron, which were to be preserved for the Lord.


God called it "devoted".  All the spoils were to be devoted to the Lord and therefore destroyed.  "Devoted to destruction" was the phrase used.


Achan, just one man, fell to temptation, and took some treasure from the city, dug a hole, and hid it under his tent.


As a result, the entire nation of Israel suffered defeat at the hands of an entirely insignificant small town called Ai, and suddenly, after the flush of victory and deliverance over Jericho, Israel was prostrate before the Lord.  Even Joshua was panicked, knowing that if God abandoned them now, they were no match for even the smallest foe.


In our lives, we must not touch even one thing that God asks us to destroy for His sake.  When we do, we open the door to sin, and this sin weakens us from within.  As God takes more and more of the promised land within our hearts and lives, as He leads us to victory over sin by His Spirit, we must not covet even the smallest portion of what we leave behind.


Achan represents our greed and envy and lust for the things of the flesh--our love for the world.  He is us--that part of us that still holds on to our weak and puny desires for security and safety--and that would disobey the very words of God to provide for ourselves.


Today, brothers and sisters, let us destroy, as God did Achan and everything associated with Achan, all in our lives which we have carried with us forward that is not of God.  Those things He's demanded we devote to destruction.  Our love for the world.  And the things in the world.  Our lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life.  These will weigh us down so much that we will be useless to the people of God, and God will not go out with us, even to overcome the smallest foe.


God expects our obedience.  We cannot do less than give our all to Christ.  As I wrote yesterday, it is His power in us that enables us to do the impossible, to give up what we covet from this world.


I pray we'll be able to do this today.  Let us willingly give up our store of paltry treasures we have hidden under the floorboards, instead of waiting for God to have to call us out!


Your Brother,
A. Brother

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