Summary: One of the things that many of us look for in life as a shortcut-a way to get something done faster without changing the end result. And most of these so-called shortcuts share one thing in common-they don’t work. For instance...

Getting back on Track”

Joshua 8: 1-29

One of the things that many of us look for in life as a shortcut-a way to get something done faster without changing the end result. And most of these so-called shortcuts share one thing in common-they don’t work. For instance...

• We want to get rich and of course we want to get there quickly. So we do things like play the lottery which is usually a complete waste of time and money. Or we invest in some get rich scheme and we lose our investment. We throw all we have in one basket. Or

• we want to get fit... Now-we want six minute abs we want to lose 30 pounds in 30 days in their ads everywhere, machined you can buy, certain foods you can eat that will supposedly do all the work for you.

And again all of these shortcuts share one thing in common-they don’t work.

All of us have perhaps been riding in the car with someone a long trip, maybe even a family member when they say these words-hey I know a shortcut that will get us there quicker. And several hours later you are lost. You take the shortcut and suddenly you are so far off the beaten path that you wonder if you will ever get back on track.

The Israelites had gotten off track. It happens to all of us and it is always due to human error... In other words is not God’s mistake-is ours. Because we want something badly but not enough to pay the price for it.

The Israelites were on a quest for the Promised Land. God had done everything possible to help them get there. The journey was designed to be about 10 days but instead they spent 30 years stuck in one spot causing them to wait 40 years before they could now go when. God had split the waters of the Jordan for them to cross. They blew the trumpets in the walls of Jericho fell down but then they were going into the city of Ai; they didn’t send as many soldiers in his they should have in because they took the shortcut-36 of their men were killed in the Scripture says “the hearts of the people melted and became like water.” Achan took what he thought was a shortcut to wealth; stole 200 shekels of silver, two wedges of gold and a fancy robe but all of this ended up in Achan’s death and put the Israelites off-track again in their journey into the promised land. Causing Joshua to say Lord, why did you ever help us across the Jordan River only to be destroyed? I wish we just stayed where we were in Egypt! But we have made a mistake-especially a serious one we have a choice. We can just choose to live in the defeat at or learn from it and move on.

{1} To get back on track we must first of all remember that no matter how much we fail in life God will never forsake us. He will never leave us alone. Joshua was leading a group of people here who had slipped and gotten off track. But when we sin; we mess up big time, there is that whisper in our year that says-hey you’ve messed up before but this time you’ve really blown it. God will never use you again. Listen the same God who started them on this journey was there at mid-point to keep them moving and now He is still there. He never leaves them throughout this over 40 year journey. Listen to what God days to him….”do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. I am delivering the people into your hands.” Vvs. 1-2. This is the point where God reminds Joshua He is still there and always will be. And He is reminding him AFTER his defeat and the Battle of Ai. Morale in the camp was likely at an all-time low when Joshua was perhaps feeling insecure about himself as a leader. This is where God says to him, don’t be afraid; don’t be discouraged. Instead, move forward.

{2} It is always God’s desire for us to get back on track spiritually. To do this God gives them a plan. Vvs. 2-8. This is the plan.

(a) Set up an ambush behind the city.

(b) Stay alert.

(c) One group will charge on the city.

(d) When they come out of the city they will run away

(e) While they chase us you go in and take the city, then

(f) We will turn around and charge again. They will look back and see the city in smoke and with nowhere to go we will destroy them.

And it worked. They destroyed all of them and captured their king. God was doing everything possible to move them along so that they can possess the land that God promised them. But they had been going in the wrong direction…. they sinned, Achan stole the treasury and like a runaway train they had jumped the tracks. We used to say that a person was backslidden. It meant we were going back to our old way of life before we knew Christ. So God, in order to help them get back on track gave them a plan. You need a daily plan for your spiritual life because it will not just happen by accident. You should have a daily plan for prayer and Bible reading. Daily. Or you will not grow spiritually. You have a daily plan to grow physically right? You have a plan to eat? You perhaps have a plan to workout at the gym or some plan to get daily exercise. It is the only way we can stay in shape. You need one to grow spiritually as well. I remember when I was in seminary that one semester I was really overloaded. I was working 35 hours a week at one job and was a youth pastor as well and was also a full time student. I was in the library to supposedly study but was tired of staring at my NT Greek book so I laid my head down on it and fell asleep. One of my favorite professors came over to me and said you know David you’re not going to get that by osmosis.  And you won’t either. It takes an action plan.

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