Monday, December 3, 2007

Of Victory and Defeat Part 4

It always strikes me as interesting, when I write something meant for the collective, yet every individual perceives a certain line in an article, or a certain observation is speaking directly to them. I find it interesting, because not all are drawn to the same passage, or the same sentence, each one gleaning what is necessary for their spiritual growth. Although I write for the collective, for the body of Christ, God speaks to the individual, and I am humbled when i get e-mails and comments, which state that a certain passage spoke to them individually.
I realize this has been a somewhat longer study, in hindsight I probably should have posted it on the Hand of Help website, but since you can't 'unring' a bell, I will post the final installment of this teaching today.
If we analyze the Word in regards to this scripture, we come to realize that Joshua had merely repeated what he had done in regards to Jericho, sending in spies to survey the land, and to get an idea of the strength of the enemy. While his first scouts were sent by the will of God, this same act has now become a purely human action, a reaction of the flesh.
Why would I say such a thing? Because when the first spies returned from Jericho, they said to Joshua, 'Truly the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands, for indeed all the inhabitants of the country are fainthearted because of us.'
If the Lord had already delivered all the land into their hands, why send scouts out again, why send spies to Ai, for it was part of the same nation as Jericho?
In some measure, whether great or small we cannot know, it seems Joshua had forgotten dependence on God, and began to trust in the strength of his army and his mighty men. Joshua found an excuse to trust in the flesh rather than God.
Since the old adage, 'as the head goes so does the body' held true even then, Joshua's warriors began to trust in themselves and in their own strength as well. Surely if such a famed city as Jericho had been so easy to overtake, the few men of Ai would be no problem at all. Why bring all the people, when a fraction of us will suffice? Two or three thousand men, they thought to themselves, and it will be quick work, another city conquered, vanquished and overtaken.
There was one other thing working against the people of Israel, not merely their self reliance, or self dependence. In a nondescript tent, a man by the name of Achan was busy burying a Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold, some of those accursed things, which God had warned they should not touch, believing that no one would know, no one would see, and no one would be the wiser. The garment had been so beautiful, the silver so tempting, the gold so shiny, surely it won't harm anyone, and surely God is reasonable, and loving, and understanding. 'Yes, yes, I remember something about slow to anger too, no worries, but just in case, I'll bury them for a season, just to make sure', Achan thought.
God had cursed the city of Jericho, and by association everything within its walls. All but Achan were afraid to touch the forbidden things, the accursed things, for fear of bringing the wrath of God upon Israel, but Achan saw, and he desired, he coveted the possessions of the accursed city, though he knew in his hear the was not supposed to. The temptation was too great, perhaps if it was just the garment, or just the silver, but all three, in one place, Achan couldn't resist, he saw, he coveted, and he couldn't turn away, giving in to his desires. He did not consider the ramifications of his disobedience, all he saw before him were the garments that he would wear so haughtily, the silver and the gold that would fulfill his desire, the man he would become once all these were his, not realizing he was nothing more than a slave of his flesh.
The sin of one man has now influenced the outcome of an entire nation, as well as the attack on the city of Ai. The disobedience of one, compounded by the pride of the many, has now caused the mighty warriors of Israel to flee in fear from the handful of men protecting Ai.
Sometimes it takes a crushing defeat to remind us of humility, of righteousness, of sanctification, and of Christ. Sometimes it takes a seemingly inconsequential event, which snowballs into an ever-growing monster, to bring us to our knees, to cause us to seek the face of God.
Joshua had finally seen, even though it had taken a defeat at Ai, he had finally seen the error of his way, and tearing his clothes, fell to the earth on his face, before the ark of the Lord until evening, both he and the elders of Israel, putting dust on their heads.
Where was the ark of the Lord during their battle with the citizens of Ai, this ark before which the cities of Jericho had fallen? Too often we live with the expectation of victory, even though we left God behind, somewhere along the way. If God does not go before us, our defeat is guaranteed, even if the obstacle before us seems more like a nuisance than a real obstacle.
Joshua finally acknowledges the ark's worth, but even so, his reaction at Israel's defeat is questionable and shows weakness.
Joshua 7:7, "And Joshua said, 'Alas Lord God, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all - to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan!"
This blessed place, this promised land, is the only place that Joshua desired to flee from, lamenting that Israel should have been content and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan. What preoccupies Joshua now, is not the will of God, or why Israel was allowed to be defeated, but rather the name of Israel, what he would do when Israel turns its back before its enemies, the Canaanites, and at long last God's great name.
Too often we are preoccupied with our own image, too often we are preoccupied with what people will think of us, or how we will be viewed by others, rather than search our hearts and discover what it is that God desires us to burn, or what area in our lives does not bring glory to His name.
God's command today, is the same as it was for the people of Israel during Joshua's time, to sanctify ourselves before Him, to burn every wicked thing, to turn our back on the world and the things of the world, that we might have fellowship with Him.
The sin was discovered in the camp, Achan had taken that which was accursed, and only after those tings were burned, and Achan was stoned along with his family, did God relent form His righteous anger against His people.
The message of the hour, is to be merciless with the sin we discover in the camp, as well as in our own lives, to live in a continual desire of sanctification, and an ongoing process of purification toward God.
There is so much more that can be gleaned from the book of Joshua, wisdom and knowledge, direction for every soul, but for now I leave you with the grace and peace o four loving Father.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.


Pam said...

"Too often we live with the expectation of victory, even though we left God behind, somewhere along the way. If God does not go before us"

Perhaps this is what I did with the children's book that I wrote..To often we do plunge ahead expecting Him to come along with us
Instead of waiting upon him to say walk upon the water. For if He is there ahead of us and has beckoned us to come, He will surely lift us up if we stumble.
I have also learned that to
"be preoccupied with our own image, too often we are preoccupied with what people will think of us, or how we will be viewed by others"

Is probably one of the surest ways to fail...God in his mercy will give us just enough rein to choke ourselves (only in a good way) till we come to the end of our selves and realize that it is the Good Sheppard who guides his Flock, not we who guide Him. It matters not what anyone else thinks.


Anonymous said...

Your words burn...I just feel like crying out "oh wretched woman that I am" true, so many times I think of what others will think, how will they perceive me, how I will fall from their favor not realizing or failing to remember that the only person I need to be in right standing with is the Lord God. It is interesting that even when we come to the realization of our failings, we still fault God...

By His mercies we live and by His grace we are saved and we (I)should be totally sold out to Him...


Anonymous said...

hey michael,

so do we see this happening today, where one mans sin can cause the destruction of many in an unseemingly unrelated event? and if this is so, how would we even begin to confront and rootout/expose said evil?

to bonnie -i would rather be watching a tropical thunderstorm then counting snowflakes anyday!!

and to jackie -we can't be to far from each other-it is truly a small world-we had 7 inches of snow here in osh.

and nice listening to you on the stream radio last night-good stuff!


Elm Street Chapel said...

Good Michael,

Joshua 4:23 (Joshua speaking after crossing the Jordan, before Jerico)For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: 24That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever. (Who fears Him now Church?)

(After the great victory of Jerico)
Joshua 7:4 So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai.5And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water. 6And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.7And Joshua said, Alas, O LORD God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan! 8O LORD, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies!
9For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name? 10And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? 11Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. 12Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.

Ever noticed a record of Israel losing men in battle (when God was with them)? Ever noticed this scripture and wondered where in the Old Testament it was fulfilled? Hebrews 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again:

Even wonder why 3000 battle hardened troops run in fear when 1.2% die in a battle? If that were D-Day Germany would still control Europe. Israel was not used to losing lives. Even without the fore witness of God.

Forward to this day:
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
And This!
Revelation 13:7 (the beast) And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

Big difference. Sin in the camp?

2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He does the same things, He hates the same things, He loves the same things.

Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.


Anonymous said...

Matt 6:9-10
In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

Rev 11:15
Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”