Summary: Last week we looked at Elijah. We saw how he was bold and courageous in taking on the 450 prophets of Baal but then Queen Jezebel threatens his life and he runs away. We can be bold and courageous in one situation and fearful and pessimistic the next. Today we'll look at Joshua and David.
JUST LIKE US (part five)
Last week we looked at Elijah. We saw how he was bold and courageous in taking on the 450 prophets of Baal all by himself. And God comes through and delivers the victorious miracle. But then Queen Jezebel threatens Elijah's life and he responds by running away. The prophet of God who takes on 450 false prophets and comes away victorious is afraid of one woman's threat.
Granted, she's a vicious and powerful woman but Elijah just saw God come through in a mighty way; surely he could be trusted to do so again. But, is that not how we are sometimes? We can be bold and courageous in one situation and fearful and pessimistic the next. It all depends on the factors of the situation we're facing; although it shouldn't because we have God who is all powerful no matter what situation we face.
Joshua was the successor to Moses. He was one of the spies who checked out the land God promised to his people. But no one in the entire nation believed they could conquer Canaan except him and Caleb. So Joshua succeeds Moses and becomes Israel's leader.
When he was leading them into battle against Jericho, God's messenger told him to march around the city once a day for six days and then on the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times and blow the trumpets and the city wall would collapse. It would take a lot of faith to believe God would do this but Joshua obeyed and it happened.
Joshua's faith and confidence in the Lord paid off and the Israelites were enjoying success. Then, in ch. 7, there was a problem and Joshua experiences a setback. Just before they laid siege to Jericho, Joshua told his troops to stay away from the things devoted to God. He warned if someone ignored the order he would bring destruction on themselves and the whole camp.
The silver, gold, bronze and iron were to be sacred for the Lord and were to go into his treasury. Well, Achan didn't listen and took some of those things and hid them. So, when the Israelites went and attacked the city of Ai they were not successful. This struck fear into the hearts of the people. Joshua's reaction was pretty emotional.
Joshua 7:6-11, "Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the LORD, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads. And Joshua said, “Ah, Sovereign 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! O 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? ”
The LORD said to Joshua, “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 lied, they have put them with their own possessions."
Joshua has this monumental victory at Jericho and then on the heels of that suffers defeat from the men of Ai. Joshua's response was dramatic. As soon as there's a setback he makes these extreme statements. He believed the worst-case scenario would happen because of this one defeat. What happened to the godly confidence? What happened to, 'just trust the Lord'?
Before we jump all over Joshua have we not done this? We display godly confidence in one situation and it goes well for us but we may expect it to always go well for us. So when it doesn't, we are confused and we start letting our emotions get the better of us. A lot of times when an athlete is used to winning and then they suffers defeat their reaction to it can be traumatic.
Joshua didn't know what happened to cause this. Sometimes when God doesn't grant us success we're confused because we think we've done everything right. But perhaps there was something that got overlooked. Perhaps there were other factors that we weren't aware of.
Not that this was a minor situation, but Joshua went to extremes on the heels of losing this battle. Sometimes we can go to extremes when we lose battles too. We might lash out at God and say things like, "What, do you want me to fail? Is this your plan?" We conclude the defeat means all hope is lost and we're doomed. But that's typically not the case. When we decide to stand up, brush ourselves off and evaluate what happened and why, we can get back in the game and find success again.