Summary: How to deal with setbacks in our lives.
Victory side of life # 9
Setbacks in Canaan by Gerald Van Horn
Joshua 7:13 “Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow; for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel; thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.”
How sad that we find Israel in such a state. Chapter 7 begins with the ominous “but.”
Up to now the report is nothing but success for Israel. In our text today Israel is in full retreat - full of dismay. Even the leader, Joshua, is perplexed. It would seem that only success lay ahead for Israel. We must remember that Israel had only established a beachhead in the land.
All of this was also a reproach to God. Joshua was unaware of sin in the camp. He cries out, “O Lord, what wilt thou do with thy great name?” Defeat may occur in Canaan but should never have happened. God has made a way for His children not to sin but He will
not make it possible for them to sin. The finding of God’s will can mean that aggression can happen. It may also mean open field fighting. When you get into the perfect will of God you are in an open field. You can become a target for the enemy.
Let us look at some of the reasons for defeat:
1. Self confidence.
It appears that Israel rested on their past accomplishments. We need to mark this lesson well. The first victory over sin is when we are in danger. We might feel that we are the ones who gave the victory. Apart from the grace of God even the smallest temptation will prove too powerful for us. It is God alone who gives the victory. We are in danger when we boast that our own strength saved us. Pride will creep in. Proverbs 11:2 “When pride cometh, then cometh the shame.” Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” I Corinthians 10:12 “Wherefore let him who thinketh he stand take heed lest he fall.”
The victory you won yesterday is no assurance of victory today.
2. Neglect of prayer.
Joshua failed to wait upon the Lord and enquire about the situation. Had he humbled himself to begin with God would have warned him about what was to take place.
He began to give orders on his own. vs1-4. Failure to pray even about the smallest thing will make us insensitive to sin. If I were to pick a shortcoming in most churches today it would be a failure to pray. If I were to pick a shortcoming in individual Christian’s life I would have to say it is failure to pray.
Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Luke 18:1 “And he spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray and not faint.”
I Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”
It is fitting that we mention here some things that will open up the heavens:
2) Worship. Psalms 24:7.
4) Persistence. I Kings 18: 42-45.
5) Persecution. Act 7:55-58.
6) Tithing. Malachi 3:10.
God said Israel has sinned, they have taken the devoted things. It could be that this was the tithe. Joshua 6:24. Mark this lesson well. One man had sinned and God said all of Israel has sinned. God deals with them as a company or as a body. Oh, how the church often suffers because of the disobedience of one or two. No one or two individuals can sin without effecting the whole body.
Let’s get on the positive side.
* Confession. Some might say I did that when I got saved. There is a difference between confession of sin and confession of dependence upon God. Some would say but I am not guilty of Achan’s sin! How often have you marred the life of a fellow believer and shattered it so that it will never be the same again. Maybe you have spoiled some one else’s life and have tried to cover it up. Achan’s sin was “I saw, I desired, I took, and I held.”
One day the net will be drawn and sin will be exposed. The Holy Spirit says, “Thou art guilty.” Ananias and Sapphira tried to cover their sin. Acts.5. they paid with their lives just as Achan did. Moses tried to cover up his murder of an Egyptian. He didn’t dig the hole deep enough. Exodus 2:12.
God gets no glory out of defeat. He has called His church to be victorious. He has called His people to be victorious. God has not left us to be weak and anemic.