Summary: God never planned for defeat to be the rule of the Christian life. God planned for the Holy Spirit to be the ruling principle of our life. Victory is to be the rule defeat the exception. When sin is ruling in our life God called for us to deal with it.
Intro: What does God want from the people that make up this local body of believers called Immanuel? Does he want new buildings, more children for VBS, more bible study classes, what does He want? First he wants us to get our perspective right about we exist for the purpose of God living in us and among us. If we can ever get this part right then the other challenges we have will begin to be Christ shaped! That doesn’t mean we will not face challenges, that doesn’t mean we will never need to change.
The fiery darts the enemy shoots at us are aimed at uprooting and diverting us from the promise that God will be with us. God has made it clear to us that we are to be a church body that focuses on people, on rescuing lives from the kingdom of darkness and the pit of hell. He has made it clear to us that our main task as a body is to make disciples. His Holy Spirit is gifted to us to save us, seal us and send us. There is a place for you to serve we will not beg you to do so. We will not bribe you to do so if the Holy Spirit of God cannot move you to serve and be faithful then there is nothing I can do. Know if you want to be part of this body your feelings might get hurt. Your fingers might get smashed but if we can see that the ultimate goal is to glorify God and grab people out of the hand so Satan I am willing to give a little more and go a little further.
This body of believers is to minister to those within the body and be on mission to those outside it. What can happen with us is the same thing that happened to Israel in Joshua 7. They had a few victories and became over confident. Chapter 7 gives encouragement that mistakes and failure are not the end for God’s people. Chapter 7 also warns that sin is destructive and God cannot allow it to continue unchecked.
The fact that we as Christians experience defeat seems to be far too common. Constantly discouraged and defeated by sin and the assaults of Satan. If we learn anything from chapter 7 we know that it can happen but it should not be the rule it should be the exception in the life of a Christ follower. Everything comes back to perspective.
I. The Detour of sin
A) Disobedience to God’s clear command –
How did Achan know he had done wrong? He hid what he was doing. Why did God say Israel had sinned? Joshua 7.1,11 Because there were one people that God dwelt among. 1 Cor 12:12 makes it clear we are all linked together by the Spirit of God. What I do affects you and what you do affects me. If there is sin in the camp and it is one it affects us all.
How did Achan loose his perspective? James 1.13-15 “I saw, I coveted, I took.”
In C.S. Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters, we read the story of an older demon counseling a younger demon. At one point in the book, we read these words.
You will say that these are very small sins, and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy [God]. It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to keep the man away from the Light.… Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
One man’s sin brought defeat to the entire nation and cost 36 lives. The things he took could never buy back those lives. Are we seeing defeat in our families, marriages, relationships etc?
Then we need to bow on our faces before God and ask where our perspective is off from His.
B) Overconfidence of God’s people
There was no prayer on the part of Joshua or the spies. It was we can take them. We don’t even need all the army.
It is so easy to have God make a way for you and then think you had something to do with it.
Ai literally means ruins or heap of stones. That is what happens when we forget that God provides the resources we have and the direction we take. Just because something is a good idea doesn’t mean it’s a God idea! Ai represents fight in our own power and with our resources not resting in God’s ability to give victory.