Summary: The call of worship on our lives requires sacrifice. Like Joshua, we can build an altar. Fifth in series of messages on Joshua
“What it really takes to worship” Joshua Ch. 8
In Joshua Ch. 7 God gave Joshua a mission. The mission was to remove sin and disobedience from within the camp. He brought everyone forward tribe by tribe, family by family, until he discovered the cheat. Achan was found to be the culprit. He was the chief reason for the defeat Israel suffered at a place called Ai. In Chapter 8 things have turned around for Joshua and his army. The plunder in Achan’s tent is removed, the sin is severely dealt with. With a renewed sense of obedience, the army heads out into battle. A rematch with the wicked people of the city Ai. And this is what happened...(Read 8:1 ff)
They won! You just might say, this was Israel’s moment for a comeback. Instead of conceding defeat after the first battle, they forged ahead and went right back into it. They fought a fierce battle and successfully apprehended the enemy. Instead of being defeated a second consecutive time, they regained their footing and won the match. They were successful, because they were following God instructions. They won the war because obedience was restored.
But can I tell you something about success? There are some dangers involved in having it. Success has it rewards, but it also has it‘s challenges. There are some things to beware of when victory is attained. Joshua, Israel’s commanding leader, knew what to look out for. After a huge victory in Jericho, a few things got away from him. He made some mistakes dealing with it. The first mistake he made was letting a group of untrained spies survey the next battle. He sent a group of amateurs to assess the need for combat. Turns out their assessment was woefully inadequate. And as a result, Israel’s first attempt to defeat Ai was unsuccessful. The spies underestimated the power of the enemy, and Joshua fell right into their hands. The second mistake He made was not being fully prepared both spiritually and strategically. When Israel took on Jericho and won. They spent considerable time getting spiritually prepared, and strategically tuned up. They waited for a word from God, & then proceeded into battle. When Israel first took on Ai, there was no record at all of God commanding them or giving them instructions. They just kinda went out ahead of themselves and pursued the enemy on their own. They did it in haste. And as a results were miserable and costly. You know what that tells us? Carelessness and overconfidence took over. They thought a repeat victory of Jericho was just turn around the corner. That’s the danger of success. It can foster a reliance upon self and not God. Joshua and his army found this out the hard way, God let them suffer a temporary defeat in order to get their attention and realign their priorities. And it worked. Things were different the second time around. Joshua learned a lesson the hard way. An altogether different strategy was adopted. Instead of rushing out into battle with an ill-equipped army. Joshua waited. Timing is everything. Joshua patiently waited for the marching orders to come from the Lord. And they came! verse 1 in Ch. 8 says, “The the Lord said to Joshua, do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai.” God said, now is the time that I want you to go out there and conquer. The Lord also instructed Joshua to take the whole army, not just a small part, right out to the front lines. God had a full proof strategy, He wanted Israel to succeed, so He commanded Joshua to pull out all the stops to use every resource and do the job right. And thats what they did, verse 3 says, Joshua took the whole army.. and went out into battle and the rest was history, you know the story they had slam dunk success.
But folks, you know what? The real defining moment of this event came afterwards. Something of huge importance took place after the fact. After all was said and done, Joshua called everybody together. Young and old, men and women, citizen, alien, they rounded em all up and got their attention. When he had everybodies attention, he took action. And you know what he did? Verse 30 tells us what happened, it says... “Joshua built an altar to the Lord God of Israel....” Underline that phrase....Joshua built an altar. You know what it means to build an altar? That’s what I want to spend a few minutes discussing tis morning. Joshua built an altar to acknowledge God. It was a tangible expression of His loyalty to God. So I want talk to you tis morning about what happens at the altar.